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Flint's Grand Funk Railroad gets closer to home with Detroit Riverfront show

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016

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Grand Funk Railroad has certainly outlived its strident critics, who hammered the Flint-formed band back in the 70s despite six platinum-or-better albums and a slew of radio hits such as "We're An American Band," "I'm Your Captain/Closer To Home" and definitive covers of "The Locomotion" and "Some Kind of Wonderful."

But drummer Don Brewer says it took awhile for him to recognize how durable the group had become.

"I don't think I ever had that moment," Brewer, 67 -- who doubles as the drummer in Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band -- says by phone from his summer home in North Carolina. When we disbanded originally, back in the mid-70s, and then got back together briefly in the early 80s and then stopped again, I figured we were done. Music had changed. Radio had changed. I kind of accepted the fact that that was it.

"Then we reunited in the 90s and it's just kind of been year after year that it's been going on. It's 17 years since we've been touring with this (version) of the band. I take every year as it comes. I never really looked at it like, 'Wow, this has legs.' I'm amazed every year, to be honest with you."

Brewer and co-founding bassist Mel Schacher continue to lead the current quintet (singer-guitarist Mark Farner left in 1998), with singer-guitarist Max Carl, guitarist Bruce Kulick and keyboardist Tim Cashion. The one thing Grand Funk has not done in this incarnation is record -- the group's last studio album, "What's Funk?," came out in 1983 -- but Brewer says it's not for lack of desire.

"We've still got some stuff that we've had in the can for years, a lot of stuff floating around," he says. "We do have a couple of new things, so when people come to see the show, they might be surprised. There's so many things we've got to play that people want to hear, so there's only so much room for new things.

"But we may put out some compilation sort of thing, like live version of the stuff we've been doing for the last 17 years. I've been saying that for awhile, but I think that'd be a lot of fun to do."

Grand Funk Railroad

8 p.m. Friday, July 29.

Rockin' On the Riverfront at the Riverfront Plaza behind the GM RenCen in downtown Detroit.

Admission is free.

Visit gmrecen.com for more details.

Web Site: www.gmrecen.com

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