Friday, June 24, 2005


It's a shame that the Digital Age has taken away our ability to monkey around with our record collections. Oh, sure, you can get VST filters and such that will let you speed up or slow down a record, but it's nothing like the giggles you'd get from just switching the turntable up to 45 RPM to hear the Monkees sound like the Chipmunks.

I think the best gut-laff I ever got from this now-closed avenue of pleasure was the time Pasq Wilson took a 45 of Grand Funk Railroad's "We're An American Band" and played it at 33. With the volume on his thousand-watt Marantz amp turned up to 11. And the speakers pointed out the window at the Deke House.

The Seventies. Didn't take much to amuse us, back in those days.

I can say this with complete confidence and in the full assurance that I will not be gainsaid:

Grand Funk Railroad sucked longer, louder and with more consistency than any band in the history of Rock and Roll. By a moonshot. By a light-year. By a parasec. Take three REO Speedwagons, four Golden Earrings, eight Nazareths, two Starships, and three Status Quos, mix 'em up in a big-assed blender, toss in some Olson Twins videos for crunch, and you will still have only a small jigger-load of what you'd need to make up a bowlful of brand-clean Grand Funk Suck. When the the Great Scorer comes to mark against their name, he writes not that they won or lost, but how much they just plain Sucked.

Even when I was thirteen years old and very impressed with ELO and Brownsville Station, I could tell how bad they sucked. My eighth-grade classmate Bob Something-or-Another, a major Funk-head, announced to me, with a glint of pride in his eye for his exquisite taste, that Mark Farner had "the longest hair in rock-and-roll."

That was an important criterion back then, I guess. Bob also loudly dug Chicago, which should tell you something.

So this morning I'm driving in to work on Route 7, past the park where they have the annual Ashburn Summer Music Festival, and what to my disbelieving eyes should appear at the very top -- headlining! -- the sign announcing the Festival: Grand Funk Railroad in all their glorious suckaliciousness.

Oh, dude, I am so fuckin' there!

According to their tour schedule, the Funk will be fresh from stinkin' up the house at a two-day stand at the Casino Rama Entertainment Center in Rama, Ontario, and lookin' forward to blowin' some dead bear at the North Branch Lions Field Sesqui-Centennial Celebration in North Branch, Michigan.

Jesus Honking Christ, look at that schedule. And to think, I once wanted to be a musician. Can you imagine the Spinal Tappian backstage scene at the Miccosukee Indian Village Fest in Miami, the groupie action at the Texas Twister Rally in Waco... Last night at the Thunder Valley Biker Rally in Crandon, Wisconsin, put me in a haze... Feelin' good, feelin' right, it's Saturday night at the Moondance Ranch Jam 14 in Walker, Minnesota -- the hotel detective he was outta sight!

(Turn the turntable down to 33!)

Now these fine ladies,
They had a plan
They were out to meet the boys in the band
They said, Come on, dudes!
Let's get it on!
And we proceeded to tear that hotel down!

(Fish in a barrel. I know. Next week: The Grateful Dead. Now there's some Suck!)


corndog said...

How very true. And yet I have a soft spot in my heart (head?) for the first 2/3 of their version of "Some Kind of Wonderful".

Kevin said...

Oh, Jeepus. Oh, my. The comments that will be posted! Get out of the way! Duck!

I was around your age at the time, Neddie, and listened to all this crap too and it's hot-wired into my brain. For those long dark nights of the musical soul I have greatest hits CDs for some of them. It's nostalgia for crap, I know, but also somewhat cleansing. I hear it, I remember, I realize it sucks and I can let it go again. Until the next time...

BTW, my turntable with digital output could easily recreate your 33 1/3 version of "American Band" off my childhood copy of the 45 on "gold" vinyl - actually clear piss yellow vinyl - which, to make this sad comment even sadder, I still own.

bernard purdie said...

God damn Mark FARNER. god damn FARNER. guy's STILL crazy.

Got some CRAZY stories of ghost-cuttin' all THEIR drum tracks.

Yeeeesh. that fuckin' FARNER.

Bobby Lightfoot said...

here's my time-saving response on the Funk:

Employee of the Month said...


Somebody get my another roll of pills!

Being 44 years old, growing up in Michigan - the "home" of Grand Funk Railroad, having older siblings and their friends with no taste in music, all conspired to ensure that I was force-fed a steady stream of GFR, be it said siblings albums or the heavy rotation radio play. Scarred.

I place GFR in a very special reserve band catagory: "I will never be drunk enough to enjoy."

Members include: GFR, Bob Segar, ZZ Top, Boston, Foreigner, and the grand champeen blue ribbon winner - The Eagles.

Fish-barrell bang.

The Viscount LaCarte said...

What does a Dead-Head say when he runs out of weed?

"Turn this shit off!"

I actually like the Dead, at least the stuff that featured Jerry.

I can't say that GFR sucked worse than EVERYBODY else, but they certainly are a candidate for the title.

Bobby Lightfoot said...

O.K., O.K., I'm mulitposting but I just get really worked up about GFR, man. 'specially Farner.

Here's a good thing about 2005 for you (I never let a good thing about 2005 slip by- it's important to hold on to them, fuck knows):

If Grand Funk were around today, they wouldn't be able to get ARRESTED.

See, people have taste. See?

blue girl said...

Never gave GFR much (deep) thought actually. When friends and I were heavily analyzing music under *certain* influences -- this band would never come up. I could not count the hours we would sit in the floor in front of the stereo analyzing the Beatles, old Genesis -- ooooh -- so many others.

Neddie, you've made me connect to music again. My first true love. Got the turntable out -- got the old albums out. Can still put the needle in the groove, YES! Perfect every time. Even have my son saying -- God, those are cool! CDs are boring!

Re: Bob Seger -- I love "Beautiful Loser" and "Roll Me Away" -- and I could never put the Eagles in the same category as Foreigner -- I love "Take It Easy." Even if, to me, that was the only good song they ever did -- it was way better than "Cold As Ice."

My choice for greatest album side ever. Ever? "Into The Music" by Van Morrison. Side 2. Van the Man. I love him.

Neddie, thanks for continually stirring this pot -- ain't nothing like it. Truly.

de Selby said...


When I was in high school, I was in a play that featured a party scene, with dancing and merriment (I was dancing. I played an old man. I was brilliant. I won an award.).

It was a crucial scene, and we rehearsed it scores of times. The music was We're An American Band, played really loud.

That experience scorched a large black hole in my cerebral cortex, and I spent the next several years in rehab, occupational therapy, prison, and some places I'd rather mention another time.

I had finally overcome all that, and was on the road to recovery when you had to write that post. Now I'm going to go rob a liquor store and hand out booze to elementary school kids.

My lawyer will make you famous by using the 'Neddie Jingo' defense.

Devils Rancher said...

Dude. Not to argue the general suckosity of GFR, (The first person to call "more cowbell!" gets it. Oops.) but although they cruised at suckacious altitudes for longer than most, there are two pinnacles of suckitude they could never hope to achieve:

1. The lyrics to either One-Two-Three Lock Box or I Can't Drive Fifty-Five, both penned by the same person, (whose name shall go unspoken, lest the internet think it should seek him here)

2. The stratospheric, windswept heights of the grand grotesquery that is We Built This City (on Rock and Roll). This song is all alone-- an Everest amongst the lofty peaks of suck.

Lastly, as an afterthought, I would be remiss to slight the suckaliciousness of Three Dog Night, though I don't think they took themselves seriously enough to truly deserve the pillorying of the self-important hacks of the world like Hag... oops, and Marty Balin.

Do go to the show, though. We'll want to know how it was.

Sluggo said...

Back in the stone age that was bestrode by the sucktastic GFR, I was more of a Rare Earth "Celebrate" kind of guy. The longest hair in rock and roll was not a selling point.

and Starship was even tough to dance to.


Anonymous said...

An Upstep or a Downstep said...

Pasq. Alive or dead? Something in between or possibly in addition to another state of existence. Schizophrenia would be a distinct possibility, though not a necessity. In any event, I imagine a shitload of twigs rocking back and forth through the years.

Neddie said...

Yo -- Up or Down -- Feel free to email me at neddiejingo at aol dot com. We have much to talk about and much to reminisce.

Twigs, not least of which. Come on -- don't be a pussy.

George Charlson said...

Info on sadaqa

Buck Dharma said...

'Tis true. GFR prolly sucked even more than Journey, Ratt, and Foreigner. Worse yet, they made these bands possible!

Still, listen to Grand Funk Live Album (1970) sometime: there are moments of genius.

...oh by the way: Listen to ZZ Top's "Slip Inside my Sleepin' Bag" 45 @ 33 rpm -- if you can! Sounds like the Melvins!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rayvee said...

You missed the trendy Grand Funk bashing by about 40 years. Critics hated them but they had a long string of gold and platinum albums. Their popularity waned about 35 years ago, so it's puzzling why you put so much time and effort into this blog post.