FUNKY ROCK´N ROLL WITHOUT MARK FARNER
This was CBS newsletter concerning “Flint” release in 1978
CONTRIBUTED BY KIM FUNKMAN HAGEMANN
ALL ABOUT FLINT
New..... the complete story"For nine months after the band broke up," commented Don Brewer on the aftermath of Grand Funk Railroad and the birth of Flint, "we did absolutely nothing, Then one day we picked up our instruments, went back in the studio, and jammed," with that simple beginning, Brewer described the origins of Flint, a blend of seasoned musicians who've been at the top, coupled with three new young talents who've honed their skills in the local bands of the Midwest.
Don Brewer, Mel Schacher and Craig Frost do not belabor the past when they speak of Grand Funk Railroad, the band made its mark with more than a dozen albums which grossed upward of $60 million. With FLINT, the group and their debut album from Columbia of the same title, everyone is ready, willing and able to start over again. But everything must follow an inevitable course
The sessions thatwe recorded with Craig on clavinet, Mel on bass, and myself on drums produced a rough mix of our own material. At that point we decided to form a band and try it all again, We had no firm ideas, no directions - but we had a lot of experience and much talent to draw from. The spring and summer months of 1977 were spent at The Swamp, the rehearsal/recording facility that Brewer had built from scratch three years ago, when GFR disbanded. They continued to record and round out their sound, adding Todd Rundgren (guitar) and Wet Willie's Jimmy Hall (saxophone) for some sessions, Frank Zappa and the Godz, Mark Chatfield on other sessions, "We even experimented with female singers," says Brewer, "but dropped the idea.
When the initial demo tapes were sent out, Columbia Records responded with the best offer in late August, within a month, second drummer Ron Trombly and second keyboarder Chuck Rowe had been added to the newly formed band, "In October," Brewer continues, "we started to search for a guitar player. And we tried everything, the national musicians refferal service, advertisements in the trade magazines auditions. We must have gone through 35 to 40 guitarists," The search wrapped-up in mid-summer of 1978, when Flint found guitarist John Escosa II.
Bassist Mel Schacher, one of the original members of Grand Funk Railroad, says that the years with GFR taught him valuable lessons: "We had gone through all the traumatic things, like being in the public eye. Even the idea of lawsuits doesn't bother me anymore. So this time out, I don't expect many surprises, We'll be able to concentrate on the music and do the work we have to do"
For Schacher, the road to the top started in Flint, the Industrial Michigan town where he and Brewer grew up, Schacher, a shy person who likes his privacy, developed his skills on bass in the many regionally-based bands of the late '60's, "I guess I got tired of being hassled, putting up with people who showed no concern for us as individuals, There were times when I just wouldn't say anything to pecple who came around the band," he says of the GFR years. "I just saw that as the best way to handle myself."
He believes strongly in Flint and its long-range goals,though, "I expect a lot of people to compare us to Grand Funk, but that's alright. The way we play hasn't changed - we still offer a solid show. As for the name Flint, Schacher is sure that once they're established it won't matter what they're called. "We are tested musicians," says Craig Frost, another Flint-area native, who is quick to express his confidence in the fortunes of the new band, "We'll be able to learn trom the mistakes we once made, we're prepared and ready to go," Frost's musical roots are also in the mid-Michigan rock scene of the late '60's. As a long time friend of the members of GFR, he was asked to join the group during its final year and a half together.
'We know we have to do a lot of work in Flint," he says. "We're set to do the touring, and we're aware that everyone in the music business will be watching our progress. In many ways we're better oft than the groups who either have to start from scratch or who have to go through a major comeback". We've got the experience, but we also have the new blood that makes Flint such a good combination" And although the emphasis will be on new material Frost adds, there's no doubt that the shows will also include some late model GFR songs.
Ron Trombly, also a native of Flint, grew up with Brewer, Schacher and Frost, followed their careers through GFR, but pursued his musical interests in jazz. After working 6- 7 years with local jazz groups such as Eddington 5 and Stephanie, he was nearly ready to give it up, Things have changed with Flint: "Working with this band is the biggest challenge I've ever undertaken. There's the stimulation of being more than just 'the other drummer', in fact, it's the first time I've ever been onstage with another drummer, especially in a 6-piece band. There's a chance to exercise chops that are out of the ordinary,
And when it comes to the business end of things and the touring experience, Trombly figures he couldn't be in a better position, "I feel that much more confidence with Flint because of Don, Mel and Craig," Chuck Rowe hails from the Toledo area, where he developed his keyboard talents in three bands over a dozen years, the last four years being spent with a group called Rockestra. "But we never were quite able to get all the things together to break into the big-time. When I got the chance to join Flint, I knew it would be the best choice I could make.
Rowe has a deep respect for his mates, too: "There's nothing better for Flint, than to have the advantage of the years of work that Don, Mel and Craig accumulated in Grand Funk. I'm glad I've been able to fit right in and be as readily accepted as I've been,"
John Escosa II's guitar work blends perfectly with Flint's sound, having spent the last six years with a Ft. Wayne band known as Endgame . After my first visit to the studio," he recalls, "I was skeptical, since it's always so difficult to walk into a new situation. But I was welcomed by the others, and it was real easy to become part of the organization.
Emerging from The Swamp, Flint's debut album is selfproduced, with Don, Mel and Craig penning most of the ten songs on the LP. Exceptions are a pair of scorchers, opening and closing side one, the Supremes ' Back In My Arms'Again and the Yardbirds' For Your Love, respectively.'
Michigan's reputation as a breeding ground for hard, rock is well-proved, and few musicians have left more of a lasting impression than the three gents at the core of Flint. This is loud, brash, workingman's rock'n roll, the kind you hope for. Turn it up!
THE FLINT ALBUM 1978
Columbia JCT 35574, 1978
Produced by Don Brewer, Mel Schacher & Craig Frost, featuring Jimmy Hall,
Mark Chatfield, Frank Zappa, Ron Trombly & Todd Rundgren.
Most of the songs written by Don Brewer/Craig Frost.
Lead guitarists: John Escosa II, Mark Chatfield, Curt Johnson,
Todd Rundgren, Frank Zappa & Mel Schacher(!)
BACK IN MY ARMS AGAIN****
YOU GOT IT ALL WRONG***
TOO SOON TO TELL***
LOVE ME LIKE YOU USED TO***
FOR YOUR LOVE****
KEEP ME WARM***
ONE OF ME*****
BETTER YOU THAN ME***
YOU´LL NEVER BE THE SAME**
LAYIN´IT ON THE LINE 1979
Columbia JCT 36113 NOT RELEASED
Produced by Jeffrey Lasser, a Viasound Production.
Engineered by Mark Stebbeds
Assistant engineer: Rick Sanchez
Recorded and mixed at THE RECORD PLANT, Sausalito, CA
Matrix number:AL 36113/BL 36113
CAN´T AFFORD YOUR LOVE****
KEEP YOU MOVIN´ON*****
SAY YOU ARE*****
SHOP RAT BLUES**
FIND SOMEONE ELSE***
HEARD IT AGAIN*****Why was not "Layin´it on the line" released? Well, in 1979 CBS had big problems, sales went down with 30%. Many groups were sorted out and their records were not released. Since "Flint" didn´t sell good, CBS decided NOT to release "Layin´it on the line". CBS made heavy promotions for Bruce Springsteen and Miles Davies instead. One of my friends layed his hands on the one and only "promo tape" that was distributed to CBS Scandinavia. The tape is a copy of the entire album. I´ve also read the complete "matrix formula" of the actual recording. The song list is official and confirmed. (webmaster)
Check out the soundclip of "Heard it again"CONCERT REVIEW Frank Krcmarik, Grand Blanc, MI:
"My wife and I saw a Flint concert, in Flint Michigan, sometime in 1978 at the 2000 seat Capitol Theater. The show lasted about 90 minutes, showcasing their new album, a few motown covers, and some of the then recent Brewer/Frost GFR songs. Their closing song was Gimme Shelter. The Band was very slick, more polished than GFR. Brewer spent most of his time out front as the lead singer. Frost had one of those keyboards shaped like a guitar slung over his shoulder most of the time.
MEL : Live 1978 at Cleveland Agora, Cleveland, Ohio
Photo: James R. Tutino (Pepper)
We thought it was a very good set, we also thought that the band would do well, but disco was at its peak, and Flint became a casualty. When the band split, Brewer moved to Florida, Frost was soon to join Bob Seeger, and Schacher, opened up a small chain of Platinum Cat Record stores around town, always stocked with the best selection of GFR albums."
DON : Live 1978 at Youngstown Agora, Youngstown, Ohio
Photo: James R. Tutino (Pepper)
CONTRIBUTOR: Kim Hagemann
Webmaster: Jimmy Karlsson, LEKSAND, Sweden
Copyright 1997-2004 Jimmy K@rlsson Lexcomp Graphics Leksand Sweden