Survival & Comebacks: Mark Farner


What’s the secret to surviving a life in rock’n’roll?

You have to put all of yourself into it and never quit. If you follow your heart in rock’n’roll, it pays off. It provides a lifestyle. But love is the inspiration to keep going, to keep singing – to keep living.

Having a pacemaker fitted has also helped keep you going.

And for the last year-and-a-half I’ve been on time for every damn thing [laughs].

Have you lost friends to the rock’n’roll lifestyle?

Yeah. That whole drug thing, it’s always been in rock’n’roll. It was fear that kept me away from drugs.

You were twenty-five when Grand Funk’s We’re An American Band hit Number One. Were you equipped to cope with that level of success?

No. It was just overwhelming. But the magnitude of it really doesn’t hit you until later in life.

What was the lowest point of your career?

When I got thrown out of Grand Funk in 1998. But I had to let that go – it was eating me alive. I just had to forgive them.

Would you consider a reunion with the original band?

I would love it if Don [Brewer, drums] and Mel [Schacher, bass] would bury the hatchet.

_And you’re still out there touring with your band NRG. _

I’m blessed – lucky, for sure. To satisfy my soul, there’s just one place that I can get my fix, brother, and that’s on a stage. I’m sixty-five years old, and still able to play rock’n’roll. Pinch me, man, I’m so happy!