Veracious had the honorary chance to speak with the legendary band, Grand Funk Railroad’s Don Brewer (drummer) this past week. The band will also be performing at Stanislaus County Fair in Turlock, California this month on July 21st. Tickets are available here or at the door in person. Stay tuned for live coverage of their set later on this month.
Grand Funk Railroad has been around in the music scene for 49 years now. What are some highlights of your career?
The fact that I am still doing what I love and making people happy going on 50 years. Selling Out Shea Stadium faster than the Beatles. 13 Gold and 12 Platinum albums, two gold singles one of which I sang and wrote, “We’re An American Band.”
From being in a band that has had a successful journey, how do you choose the songs you want to play live? Is it mostly a democracy with your fanbase or the band’s demand?
We make sure the show consists of Grand Funk staples. R&R Soul, Footstompin’ Music, Shinin’ On, Locomotion, Inside Lookin’ Out, Some Kinda Wonderful, We’re An American Band. Any other songs we do live are for show value and enhance the GFR hits.
Nowadays, you can stream any artist on Spotify, AppleMusic, Pandora, and Soundcloud for example. Do you like to have the physical or digital copy of a record, and do you think these streaming devices has made a positive or negative impact on Grand Funk or music industry?
Personally, I am not a fan of streaming because it is designed to cheat the songwriter and the artist out of a fair share of royalties.
At a young age, many musicians envision their career to be successful, and you have had the honor to live that dream.
In retrospect, if you could give yourself advice to your 12-year-old self, what would it be?
Trust No One!
Grand Funk is a self-managed band and you handle all of the schedules. What is the most difficult part of doing these tasks by yourself plus being in a band? I assume you specifically are the one to wake up earlier than everyone else to make sure the band is on track with the daily agenda?
Ever since I started my first band, The Red Devils, I have always been the guy that has rehearsals in the basement of his house, has the trailer for equipment, drives the car or van and stays sober, collects the money, oversees the bookings, calls the rehearsals, finds the managers, agents, lawyers, and yes I am the first one up in the morning. Just who I am.