Original and founding member of Grand Funk Railroad, Mark Farner, is now a solo artist traveling the country on the Happy Together Tour — which lands in Tarrytown, New York tonight at The Tarrytown Music Hall and tomorrow night (June 21) in Westbury, New York at the NYCB Theatre — with Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, and other great acts. Even with nearly fifty years of recording and touring under his belt, Farner still remembers the day Grand Funk Railroad and his career took off.
“The Atlanta Pop Festival, 1969… we didn’t even have a record, nobody knew who we were,” recalls Farner of the festival, which included band and artists like Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. “We came out of our garage in Michigan to go down there and play.”
We rolled the UHAUL trailer on the way; the guy that was driving the van took a right real sharp and rolled that trailer down through the ditch,” Farner continued. “We had to solder wires together, puller the transformers off the chassis… it was crazy.”
Despite all the trouble and inconvenience, it was worth it to Farner and the rest of Grand Funk Railroad, who were blown away by the crowd and the atmosphere at Atlanta International Raceway.
“To see that crowd, just how big it was… there is no end to this wave of people,” Farner remembers fondly. “And we rocked them with the little assembly line rock ‘n’ roll from Flint, Michigan.”