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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!

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2005, Paul Elliott has worked for leading music titles since 1985, including Sounds, Kerrang!, MOJO and Q. He is the author of several books including the first biography of Guns N’ Roses and the autobiography of bodyguard-to-the-stars Danny Francis. He has written liner notes for classic album reissues by artists such as Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy and Kiss, and currently works as content editor for Total Guitar. He lives in Bath - of which David Coverdale recently said: “How very Roman of you!”