Mark Farner Recalls Grand Funk Railroad Upstaging Robert Plant And Led Zeppelin
While having a chat with Classic Album Review’s Barry Robinson, Grand Funk Railroad frontman Mark Farner recalled the time GFR had to leave the stage not to outshine Led Zeppelin and explained that he hasn’t been in contact with manager Peter Grant or frontman Robert Plant ever since.
1969 was a great year for the rock audience as various cult acts had started taking the stage. At the time, Led Zeppelin had just begun receiving international recognition and critical acclaim. The band’s legendary manager Peter Grant was very much keen on preserving the band’s popularity. Yet, when Grand Funk Railroad opened for the British act, the audience’s attention was diverted.
The American act had to leave the stage due to Peter Grant’s worry that they would upstage Led Zeppelin’s performance. GFR ultimately had to conclude their show as their manager, Terry Knight, had no choice but to follow Grant’s wishes. Even though the audience protested and demanded Grand Funk continue, the gig was cut short.
The frontman and lead guitarist Mark Farner recently recalled the performance that was interrupted by Peter Grant. When asked whether Farner had seen or talked with the manager since the incident, the guitarist said he hadn’t. He disclosed that the last time they’d seen the British manager was that infamous night at Olympia, Detroit.
Grand Funk Railroad frontman said the following:
“The last I saw Peter Grant was on stage at Olympia in Detroit where Terry Knight had come out and spoke to the audience, saying, ‘Due to contractual obligation Grand Funk has to leave the stage, now.’ And he turns around to us and points like, ‘get your ass off the stage, boys.'”
The audience wasn’t happy about the decision, and as Grand Funk unwillingly left the stage, the crowd started throwing various glass bottles onto the stage. The fans wanted the Michigan-native band to continue their performance, but Grand Funk had to surrender to Peter Grant’s wishes. Mark Farner expressed that this was the last time they had seen the British manager.
The musician described the crowd’s protests as follows:
“So, we get up, and we reluctantly surrender the stage, but the audience were throwing beer bottles and wine bottles and whiskey bottles and everything hitting the stage like ‘Boo, we wanted [Grand Funk] to stay.’ But that was it, that was the last we saw Peter Grant.”
Peter Grant couldn’t dismiss the possibility that Grand Funk Railroad might overshadow Led Zeppelin‘s performance. Mark Farner revealed that he hasn’t spoken to Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant about the incident. Thus, the British singer’s opinions regarding Peter Grant’s actions have remained unknown.
The musician revealed if he had spoken to Robert Plant:
“No, I haven’t.”
You can watch the interview below.