Skip to main content

Grand Funk Railroad Suing Mark Farner For Using Band Name

by VVN Music

Grand Funk founding members Don Brewer and Mel Schacher are suing the third original member, Mark Farner, for continuing to use the Grand Funk Railroad name.

The three formed the band in 1969 and started out in a more progressive vain scoring FM radio hits with songs like "Heartbreaker", "Closer to Home" and "Mean Mistreater".  Then, in 1973, the broke out in a big way with number 1's "We're An American Band" and "The Loco-Motion" and such top tens as "Some Kind of Wonderful" and "Bad Time".

Grand Funk broke up in 1976 with Farner recording two solo albums and moving into the Christian market. Over the years, he had two additional stints with the band from 1981 to 1983 and 1996 to 1998.

According to a new document, Farner and the two continuing members of Grand Funk, Brewer and Schacher, went to court over the band name with Farner receiving a permanent injunction limiting his use for promotion and on merchandise. Specifically, Farner agreed that his "first and last names appear in capital letters before a reference to Grand Funk or Grand Funk Railroad, with only the first letters of the band capitalized, and first letters of the the words, "former," "formerly" and "member" also capitalized."

A brand new suit alleges that Farner has been violating this injunction. Brewer and Schacher's lawyers wrote "By virtue of its many decades of popularity and sales of concert tickets, records, songs and related goods/services, the (Grand Funk Railroad) Marks THE AMERICAN BAND, GRAND FUNK, AND GRAND FUNK RAILROAD, among others, have become famous, and are strongly associated with Plaintiff.

"Currently, and in open defiance of this Honorable Court's Permanent Injunction, Defendant Farner has undertaken a concert tour series promoting himself using the Plaintiff's Marks, using, without Plaintiff's permission, the Marks GRAND FUNK RAILROAD and THE AMERICAN BAND ... ."
They go on to accuse Farner of trademark infringement, unfair competition, violation of the 2004 injunction and causing the Brewer and Schacher band "irreparable harm".