Don Brewer Thinks “Fast Internet” Is The Reason Grand Funk Railroad Sold Out Shea Stadium Faster Than The Beatles

Listen to the entire interview with JT & Billy Kidd!

May 14, 2019

Don Brewer, legendary drummer and lead singer of Grand Funk Railroad spoke to our own JT and Billy Kidd ahead of Wildflower! Festival this Saturday. 

The rare singing drummer discusses his long history with Bob Seger, stemming from their early years touring together in Detroit and Greater Michigan. 

"It's a great relationship. They really are my second family. We have exchanged group members between the two bands. We know everybody in the band and yes, we're all good friends and we make it a point to stay in touch," says Don.

The current incarnation of Grand Funk Railroad has been touring together for 19 years and will take the stage Saturday night at Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival.

When asked how it is that Grand Funk Railroad made its name in the Detroit area, Don explain it was quite the process. The band was named after the Grand Trunk & Western railroad that goes through the Michigan area. The term 'funk' coming along in the 60s and 70s.

"At first nobody knew who we were or knew anything about us. We started this huge power trio Grand Funk Railroad and we actually had to leave Michigan to get noticed and we lucked out and we were able to get on the first Atlanta Pop Fest in 1969 and we played for free and from there we established a huge following through the south and from there got a deal with Capital Records before we ever went back to Michigan."

JT prompts him on the fascination of singing drummers and the rareness of that kind of artist.

"Well being a drummer is a dying breed, isn't it, no? Everything is done on drum machines and samples and all that kind of crap in the studios now. And yeah, being a singing drummer has certainly become a thing of the past."

Don said he developed both skills at the same time. "It always came naturally to me... I was always one of the singers in the band."

Don’s humility is astounding, especially when discussing how Grand Funk Railroad sold out Shea Stadium faster than the Beatles.

"Between the time that the Beatles played at Shea Stadium and the time Grand Funk played at Shea Stadium they got their ticket selling process together so they were able to sell faster. Look at how fast places sell out now because of the internet. They sell out instantenously. The second the tickets are on sale it could be sold out." 

Don continues..."it's certainly is a nice thing to hang our hat on that we sold out faster than the Beatles but it could very well be that we were just able to sell tickets faster."

When JT brings up the huge cover hit 'Some King of Wonderful' and not making it on the 1987 movie, Don was unaware of that fact. To our delight, Don breaks into an acapella version of the song unprompted!

Listen to the entire podcast below: