Mark Farner: A New Life, A New Song

By Joe De Cicco

Back in the '70s, most of us can remember rocking to the power trio called Grand Funk Railroad. Mark Farner, the band's long-haired guitarist, led the band into the spotlight and became one of America's great showmen. "Footstompin' Music," "Loco-motion" and "Some Kind of Wonderful" have kept our generation stomping our feet and always screaming for more. The '80s lost sight of Grand Funk as Mark Farner lost his sight on worldly ideals and possessions.

He had everything a man could want _ a family, success and lots of money. Mark Farner also had an emptiness in his heart. His wife Lesia left him with two little boys and it was then that Mark turned to God. He gave up the lifestyle that most every rock musician desires. He gave away his money. With nothing left, Mark asked God to bring his wife back. God answered his prayer; across town Lesia was asking the Lord into her life and they were united in the spirit of the living God. Mark Farner says he is now a refined man.

Today, Mark sings a new song. He is lifting up the name of the Lord and rockin' to change lives. He and his wife started Common Ground Ministry. Recently, Mark was seen at Caddy's Sportsrock Cafe. He packed a secular club with many Grand Funk crazies and rocked for two straight hours. He gave the crowd some Seventies Grand Funk tunes and sprinkled in his "Godrockin'" praise numbers. His new band is beyond compare. The Godrockers consists of funky Lawrence Buckner on bass, powerforce Mike Maple on drums, Arnie Vilches on hot-lick guitar, and the phenomenal Lance Abair on saxophone and keyboards. These guys, after laying down a two-hour rock 'n' roll concert that never let down for a minute, made themselves available to the audience. In the bus, they spent over four hours ministering to those who felt a void in their life.

The concert was filled with high tech emotion and feverish guitar riffs from both Mark and Arnie. Lawrence and Mike gave solid support as the backbone to the Godrock. Lance burned reed after reed with sax solos that left the crowd on its feet and yelling with fervor for "More!" If you want more, Mark and Godrockers newest disc is called Some Kind of Wonderful. The remake of this song speaks for itself: Jesus is some kind of wonderful and rock and roll has never sounded so dramatic. The song pulsates and throbs. It is anointed. The title track is followed with other barn-burners such as "Love From Above," "Not Yet," "Conflict" and "Attitude of Gratitude." Mark does take time out to beautify such personal ballads as "Without You" and "Well Done." An incredible album deserves as much praise as it gives. Even if you are not into "Godrock," this album should be heard. It's pure energy rock and roll with a message. Recently, Mark Farner was seen jamming at the Ichthus pop festival in Wilmore, Kentucky, and he will be in Covington, Kentucky on June 12. Both Mark's music and his heart are "some kind of wonderful."