As many hardcore fans know, Mark Farner is no longer in Grand Funk Railroad. Although we haven’t heard Don and Mel’s side of the argument, Mark has made his story well known to everyone. Here’s what he says happened, basically:
Prior to the reunion tour in the 90’s, Don Brewer’s lawyer was sending letters to Mark, saying he couldn’t use the Grand Funk name in advertising for his solo shows. This, of course, was false, because Mark was 1/3 owner of the trademark, meaning he could use it however and whenever he wanted. Then, the reunion tour happened. One night after a show, Don went to Mark and told him that they needed to all sign their shares of the trademark into the corporation. Mark said okay, and Don just so happened to have the papers in his hotel room. Mark said he didn’t suspect anything, because he thought Don was his friend. All of a sudden, 2 out of 3 votes could make a decision. Don and Mel voted Mark out of the corporation. Mark Farner is now unable to use the Grand Funk Railroad name in any advertising, to my knowledge, although he wrote all the songs, sang all the songs, and played lead guitar on all the songs.
Don and Mel currently are on the road as Grand Funk Railroad, with a new keyboard player. To replace Mark, they had to hire 2 guys. For vocals, they hired Max Carl, formerly of .38 Special, and for lead guitar, they hired Bruce Kulick, formerly of KISS.
Why can’t these guys just get back together and play as Grand Funk Railroad, before it’s too late? Mark seems open to it. Maybe Don and Mel will let their side of the story be known someday.