Fun:Grand Funk Railroad

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Seriously, what else would you call a band who came up with lyrics like these:

The way of life is tough these days, it's hard to get along
But Jesus came and he talked to me, and that's why I wrote this song
He told me of my brothers in a far and distant land
He said that it's gettin' crowded on Earth, and it's time we made some plans
Time we made some plans

He said overpopulation is the problem of today
There's too many children on the Earth, and more on the way
If you don't start some birth control, then you won't last too much longer
It's best that we let it save our souls, so we can get much stronger
Get much stronger

I'm afraid of overpopulation
I don't want to die of suffocation
The world is full of pollution
And Jesus is the solution

He said we're gettin' near the end, and I'm as close as you are
If you take Jesus as a friend, you're gonna' be a big star
Star that shines in the sky above, a light you cannot sever
You will be with him above, and you will shine forever
Shine forever

He trys to be with me
He's tryin to set me free
He wants to be with you
So you won't have to die

—Grand Funk Railroad, So You Won’t Have to Die

Grand Funk Railroad hailed from Flint, Michigan. Deriving their name from the Grand Trunk Railroad that runs through the city, they were "funk" in name only, playing loud, power trio blues heavy on fuzzy guitar and short on musical virtuosity. Listening to this band today for the first time is like going through a time warp to 1972; to say they Have Not Aged Well is an understatement. Many of their early lyrics recycled bumper sticker slogans from the hippie counterculture and repackaged them for 13 year olds in small towns in the rust belt (typical lyrics: "You said this is the way it's supposed to be/but it just don't seem right to me/and that's outta sight/some folks need an education/don't give up or we'll lose the nation/say we need a revolution/it seems to be the only solution"). Then they swung right.

They also did a song called "Don't Let 'Em Take Your Gun", which is about exactly what you think it is about. It is a mystery why Michael Moore didn't use that song in Bowling for Columbine, given his own Flint, Michigan roots and previous snarky references to Grand Funk in earlier films. Other fun stuff from this band includes the amusingly titled "T.N.U.C.", "El Salvador" ("is your freedom on the floor El Salvador/don't want no communist guerrillas knockin' on my southern door"), and "I Can Feel Him in the Morning" (which opens with an interview with children about what they think God is like: "I guess he's kind of big and...fat? He has to have a thousand eyes, a gazillion eyes, and he can still see us when we're bad...") They also did a pretty awesome little R&B number called "Some Kind Of Wonderful", which is one of their few less-awful songs.

Mark Farner, Grand Funk's guitar wizard and minister of propaganda, became an evangelical Christian and recorded a few Christian Rock albums between 1988-1992 before converting to some sort of mixture of Christianity and Native American shamanic woo, then converting again to right-wing populist politics and hopping on the New World Order conspiracy bandwagon.

For more about Grand Funk Railroad, please consult your local library!

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