Grand Funk Railroad psyched for July 4 weekend show at Tahoe | SierraSun.com

Grand Funk Railroad psyched for July 4 weekend show at Tahoe

Josh Staab
jstaab@sierrasun.com

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — If life can be defined as a collection of moments, then Don Brewer has made a career out of capturing those moments.

The drummer and founding member of Grand Funk Railroad intends to create another classic moment when he takes the stage Friday, July 3, as part of the ninth-annual Red, White and Tahoe Blue festival in Incline Village.

Brewer will bring 46 years worth of The American Band's classic rock to the stage on a holiday synonymous with Americana.

"New generations know our songs; the older generations know the songs," Brewer said in a recent phone interview. "I feel very fortunate."

“The music (these days) doesn’t have any spontaneity to it. That’s why I think people go back to the classic rock: It was captured in one time. All of these recordings were captured in a moment.”Don BrewerGrand Funk Railroad | drummer, founding member

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Brewer believes that's the difference between the generations of music he grew up producing versus what he hears on the radio today.

"The music (these days) doesn't have any spontaneity to it," Brewer said. "That's why I think people go back to the classic rock: It was captured in one time. All of these recordings were captured in a moment."

Brewer intends to bring that spontaneity to Red, White and Tahoe Blue — and not by recapturing the moment, he said, but by living for them.

"I've always loved playing live and I always will," said Brewer, adding that he wants his crowds pumped up and ready to, "get up on your feet, sweat and smile."

"It's a fun show — it's all the hits," he added.

'A WONDERFUL NIGHT OF MUSIC'

Over the last four years, Red, White and Tahoe Blue has attracted an assortment of acts for its outdoor concert on the Village Green, including '80s cover band "Tainted Love" in 2012, Pablo Cruise and Elvin Bishop in 2013, and Billy Ray Cyrus in 2014.

However, 2015 may be the first year a band like Grand Funk Railroad fit in so well with the theme of the event, said Jim Smith, chairman of the nonprofit RWTB festival.

"In terms of the music, we have always tried to step it up each year," Smith said. "Grand Funk Railroad represented that American style rock band that fit in with the theme of the event and the demographic of the area."

Smith worked with Larry Peyton, vice chairman on the event, to book the band, a process that took about four months to accomplish, Peyton said.

It began in November when chair members decided they wanted Grand Funk. Then it was a matter of making sure the band would be available for the event. After that, Smith said it was just a matter of booking the accommodations.

"It takes a lot to book a world-renowned band and get all the accommodations," Smith said. "The venue is gorgeous; the stage is going to be great. It should be a wonderful night for music."

AN AMERICAN THEME

Grand Funk Railroad's greatest moments were in the 1970s, when it released a string of successful albums, highlighted by hits such as "I'm Your Captain (Closer to Home)," "Are you Ready?" and "Walk Like a Man" — and, of course, the blockbuster "We're An American Band," written by Brewer and featured on the highly successful 1973 album of the same name.

"A band that is going to sing 'We're an American Band' on an American holiday, doesn't get more American than that," Peyton said.

Aside from Grand Funk's headliner, RWTB is touting a list of bands for the July 3 Day on the Village Green sure to be pumping other classic American hits.

Foreverland, a 14-piece tribute band dedicated to the jams of Michael Jackson, will open for Grand Funk, while local legends Ike & Martin, and Luke Stevenson, who blends "original material and the most popular ballads of the last 40 years," according to RWTB, perform earlier in the day.

As for Brewer, the occasion will mark his first-ever trip to Incline Village, another moment he is looking forward to, he said.

"I love that area up there," he said. "It's a beautiful spot."