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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...2/22/18

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 02/22/2018

"We've been touring with this band now since 2000 and the show has changed considerably over the years but really we focus on doing the hits," said an upbeat Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad as he discussed the band and their upcoming February 24 show at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. 

"We know the people who want to see Grand Funk, they want to hear, "Rock & Roll Soul," "Foot Stompin' Music," "Heartbreaker," "Inside Looking Out," "Some Kind of Wonderful," "The Loco-motion," "I'm Your Captain, (Closer To Home)," "We're An American Band;" so we focus on doing the hits and then we work in a few new things along the way, not too much to bore everybody but everything we do work in has got some show appeal. Like the drum circle thing that we do in the middle of the show; so yeah, it's going to be good." 

The fact that the band has been around for multiple decades is not lost on Brewer and he often marvels at other acts covering their material; something he takes pride in yet finds somewhat amusing. "I recall hearing the Dead Daisies version recently of "We're An  American Band" because  our guitar player Bruce Kulick used to be in a band with John Corabi called Union. I think it's great when others cover our material and not to take away from anyone who has ever covered that song but I've heard that Bon Jovi has done the song live, a big country singer has done it; tons of people have done the song. What's interesting to me is that nobody has come up with a unique updated version of the song. Everybody who does the song kind of does it like Grand Funk (Laughs), which is fine but I'm surprised that nobody has stepped off the diving board and said lets do a different take on this thing; that would be interesting to me. The song really kind of revolves around that signature riff, you know, Da da da and then the cow bell and the rest of it is all melody and so you can put that melody to anything; it's not like it's so unique that something else couldn't flow over a different style track." 

With so many hits and such a rich heritage, Brewer fondly recalls the early days of the band when times were not so easy and how they built the group into giants of their genre through hard work and perseverance. "I was thinking about that the other day, I'm a lucky guy; I've been doing this my whole life. When I listen to those early recordings even pre-Todd Rundgren, you know the stuff from '69,'70, '71, it was just, you know, honest rock 'n' roll. We were three guys playing our hearts out, playing heart and soul and everything you've got was in there and it didn't matter if the recording was the best recording in the world or if the performance was the best performance in the world; it was camaraderie and making it work, making it happen and those were the most memorable times to me. Going against adversity, you know like when Terry Knight took all of our money and the lawyers were suing us and everybody was suing us and we mustered through and came up with hit records and hit albums after it and kind of gave him the finger (Laughs); those are the most memorable times to me." 

Continuing a look back, Brewer is more of a traditionalist when it comes to recordings and making music; preferring the old method of the entire band in one room versus today's piece meal technology. "There's a lot of stuff from the '70's and the early '80's, it really got over the top as the '80's progressed and recording techniques got better and everything was pitch corrected and everything was done with a drum machine and it was just like, you know, now everything is done with a click track. I still listen to recordings on, "Classic Vinyl" and "Deep Tracks" and all that kind of stuff. I heard a Foreigner track the other night, I think it was,"Dirty White Boy" or one of their big hits and there are mistakes all over the place in there but what a great feeling track! That's what we used to do is go in and record multiple tracks of a song and you really kind of stopped paying attention to any mistakes and just listen to the overall thing and if that track has it, if it has it, you know "IT" that's what you go with, you don't go with perfect. You go with something that's got it and nobody does that anymore, everybody is sitting in a room someplace and they're flying all of their parts in and somebody in Los Angeles is e-mailing his part to some guy in New York and you know, c'mon (Laughs). It takes away from the musicians being in the studio at the same time playing live; mistakes make great progress on songs. You rewrite a song with mistakes, it's good mistakes (laughs)."  

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Unfortunately, original member and bassist Mel Schacher can not be with the band on this tour but Brewer says the temporary replacement is doing just fine. "Yeah, my brother and longtime bass player Mel Schacher is not able to appear with us right now. He's got a family emergency going on and he can not leave home, so the only change right now is a temporary fill in and he's a great guy, Stanley Sheldon from Peter Frampton's band is playing bass. He's a long time friend and we are very fortunate to have nabbed him but right now it's kind of up in the air as to when Mel will be back but right now he's got to be home with his wife and there's nothing we can do about it." 

After Saturday's Atlantic City show, the band will head out on a cruise to Curacao and Aruba and upon returning have an engagement in Las Vegas. Brewer chuckles as he thinks of his good fortune in this, the group's 49th year of their existence, "Yeah, not a bad gig huh? I think I'll take it!" 

To discover more about Grand Funk Railroad and their Tropicana appearance, please visit

That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!

This week's event listings

Alchemist & Barrister
28 Witherspoon Street Princeton
(609) 924-5555
Thurs. "Pasta and Sinatra Night"
Wed. 10 p.m. (TBA)
Arts Council of Princeton
102 Witherspoon Street Princeton
(609) 924-8777
Sat. 7 p.m. "Café Improv." $2 (Admission) 
Bill's Olde Tavern
2694 Nottingham Way Hamilton
(609) 586-0192
Thurs. 9 p.m. Trivia
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke Contest (Cash prizes)
Ages 21+
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33 Hamilton
(609) 245-8887
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia  Jam
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Shaun Ruymen
Bowman's Tavern
1600 River Road New Hope, PA
(215) 862-2972
Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Dave Dales Trio
Fri. 8 p.m. Bob Egan
Sat. 7 p.m. Larry Tamanini
Sun. (12 p.m.) Brunch w/ Ottmar (6 p.m.) Lorenzo
Mon. 6 p.m. Andy Prescott
Tues. 6 p.m. Tony Alosi
Wed. 6 p.m. Lorenzo
Brickwall Tavern & Dining Room
19 E. Union Street Burlington
(609) 733-356
Fri. 10 p.m. DJ Curran Oliver & J-Love
Sat. 9 p.m. The Coconutz
Bung's Tavern
2031 Route 130 South Burlington
(609) 499-1355
Thurs. 8:30 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 9 p.m. Einstein Bridge
Candlelight Lounge
24 Passaic Street Trenton
(609) 695-9612
Sat. 3 p.m. (TBA) $10 (cover charge/$10 Minimum includes buffet)
Tues. 6 p.m. "Tuesday Jazz Jam" Open Session feat. James Stewart / Tom Littwin Trios. $5 (Lite appetizers)
Chickie's & Pete's
183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-9182
Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night
Wed. 9 p.m. Quizzo Trivia
City Streets
510 Highway 130 South East Windsor
(609) 426-9400
Mon. 9 p.m. "Malibu Mondays" w/ DJ Brett Gash
Tues. 9 p.m. Trivia w/ Jessie & Chelsea
Wed. 6:30 p.m. "Wine Down Wednesdays" w/ Rich Genoval
125 Main Street Hightstown
(609) 241-7103
Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. Grace Deal
Dadz Bar & Grill
744 Main Street Lumberton
(609) 267-4344
Thurs. 9 p.m. DJ Jason Byrd / "Beer Pong Tournament"
Fri. 10 p.m. Ginger On The Roxx
Sat. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Dubbs
Sun. 4 p.m. Andrew Moorer
Tues. 5 p.m. "Twilight Tuesdays-Sounds of the Oldies" w/ J-Dubbs Music
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Christine Smith
Diamond's of Hamilton
661 Route 33 Hamilton
(609) 981-7900
Fri.9:30 p.m. Live DJ Entertainment
Sat. 9 p.m. Jessica DiDonato
Wed. 7 p.m. "Dine and Dance" w/ Radio Personality Bob Pantano. 
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
(215) 788-2855
Thurs. 8 p.m. Words In Flight
Fri. (4 p.m.) "Funky Friday Happy Hour" (9 p.m.) Michael Leggerie
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch" feat. Michael Leggerie (9 p.m.) Mike Estabrook
Sun. (11 a.m.) "Sunday Jazz Brunch" feat. Keli Vale (4 p.m.) Ivory & Steel
Fedora Cafe
2633 Main Street Lawrenceville
(609) 895=0844
Wed. 6 p.m. Jerry Monk
Frans Pub
116 South Main Street New Hope, PA
(215) 862-5539
Thurs. 8 p.m. "Beach Party" feat. Raymond Charles. Ages 21+
Fri. 8 p.m. Full Grown Men
Freddies Tavern
12 Railroad Avenue Ewing
(609) 882-0978
Sat. 8 p.m. Smoked Ice
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Joe Vadala
Grover's Mill Coffee House
Princeton-Hightstown Road Princeton Junction
(609) 716-8771
Thurs. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Anker
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street New Hope, PA.
(215) 862-9897
Thurs. 9 p.m. "College Beat The Clock Night"
Fri. (8:30 p.m.) Se7en (12 a.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sat. (9 p.m.) Tim Reynolds and TR3. Doors at 7 p.m., $35 (Advance) (12 a.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sun. 6 p.m. JB Kline Blues Band
Mon. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Wed. 8 p.m. "Local Original Music Showcase" Hosted by Pat Foran feat. Black Cat Habitat, Little Miss Love Jones & The Archangels.
Hopewell Theater
5 South Greenwood Avenue Hopewell
(609) 466-1964
Check web page for upcoming events

Hopewell Valley Bistro & Inn
15 East Broad Street Hopewell
(609) 466-9889
Fri. 8 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
(609) 737-4465
Thurs. 6 p.m. Dan Kassel
Fri. 6 p.m. "Music & Merlot" feat. Living The Dream
Sat. 6 p.m. "Music & Merlot" feat. Acoustic Road
Sun. 2 p.m. "Jazzy Sundays" feat.Four +1 
Hurricane Jacks Bar and Grill
7759 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
(267) 914-4517
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paul Kircher
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paula & Sam
Iron Plow Vineyards
26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus
(732) 306-9111
Fri. 6 p.m. Terry Rivel
Sat. 2 p.m. Ed Wilson & Carol Brooks
Sun. 1 p.m. Jerry Steele

Ivy Tavern
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
Thurs. 9:30 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 9 p.m. Accelerator
Sat. 9 p.m. Kindred Spirit
Tues. 7 p.m. Teddy Z  Memorial Jam
All shows 21+
Jake's Eatery
869 Bustleton Pike Richboro, PA
(215) 322-6787
Thurs. 7:30 p.m. "Ladies Night" w/ Bob Tomlinson
Sat. 9 p.m. Michael Francis McCarthy
Wed. 8 p.m. Trivia Night
John & Peter's
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981
Thurs. 8 p.m. Mike DiAltos "Stand Up Comedy"
Fri. 9 p.m. Calla Bere & The Attitude, Freeway Revival
Sat. (3 p.m.) Pete Beck (8 p.m.) Mr Revelator
Sun.(3 p.m.) "Miss Pumpkin's Drag Show" (9:30 p.m.) James Booth & The Return
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic.
Wed. 9 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+
Jo Jo's Tavern & Restaurant
2677 Nottingham Way Mercerville
(609) 586-2678
Sat. 10 p.m.
Killarney's Publick House
1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton
(609) 586-1166
Thurs. 9 p.m. DJ Byrd
Sat. 9 p.m. DJ Jimmy G
Laurita Winery
85 Archertown Road New Egypt
(609) 752-0200
Thurs. 6 p.m. "Girls Night Out" Wine & Yoga
Fri. 7 p.m. Country Line Dancing
Sat. 11 a.m. "Laurita Mardi Gras Celebration!" LMG-Winterfest (12:30 p.m.) In The Groove (5 p.m.) Dixieland
Sun. 11 a.m. "Laurita Mardi Gras Celebration!" LMG-Winterfest (1 p.m.) Blue Jersey Band
Logan Inn
10 West Ferry Street New Hope, PA
(215) 862-2300
Fri. 7:30 p.m. Colleen Ryan
Sat. 7:30 p.m. Ian Lander
Sun. 11 am "Jazz Brunch" feat. Zeke Stambovsky
Mamma Flora's Trattoria & Catering
1750 North Olden Avenue Ewing
(609) 434-1188
Sat. 6 p.m. Bryan Hill
Mamma Rosa's
572 Klockner Road Hamilton
(609) 588-5454
Thurs. 6 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Richard Schneider
McGuinn's Place
1781 Brunswick Avenue Lawrence
(609) 392-0599
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Ages 21+
McStews Irish Sports Pub
5316 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
(215) 949-9570
Thurs. 10:30 p.m."Beer Pong" w/ DJ RV & MC Slim
Fri. 9 p.m. "Frisky Fridays" w/ DJ O'Geez
Sat. 9 p.m. Popular Creeps, The Good Mess, White Limo (Foo Fighters Tribute), Superunknown (Chris cornell Tribute. Ages 21+, $5
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo hosted by Mike
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Kirchner Entertainment
Millhill Basement
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-1600
Fri. 8 p.m. Doc Rotten, Bunchajerks, Offensive Threat Trashcats, (TBA). 
Sat. 10 p.m. Jah Guide Reggae Band
Tues. 10 p.m. "Local Artist" Hip Hop, Experimental EDM and Bass Music Showcase
Mojito Cuba Caribe
90 South Main Street New Hope, PA
(267) 740-2900
Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Chris
New Hope Winery
6123 Lower York Road New Hope, PA
(215) 794-2331
Fri. 8 p.m. James Maddock. Doors at 7 p.m., $25
Sat. 8 p.m.Mary Fahl. Doors at 7 p.m., $35/$45 (VIP)
Nook's PourHouse
2043 Route 130 South Florence
(609) 447-0927
Fri. 7 p.m. "Murder Mystery Dinner." $45 (Includes buffet)
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia Tuesday w/ Quizoholics
Nottingham Tavern
9 Mercer Street Hamilton Square
(609) 587-6623
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Super Dave
Fri. 9 p.m. Jerry Monk & Joe Kramer w/ Diane Chiorello
Sat. 9 p.m. Asylum Choir
Wed. 5 p.m. "Weekend Warm-up" w/ DJ Chris Barlow
Ages 21+
Old Town Pub
135 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 291-9232
Sat. 9 p.m. (TBA)
Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Road Hamilton
(609) 838-7979
Thurs. 8 p.m. Karaoke
All shows 21 +
Parx Casino (360 Bar)
2999 Street Road Bensalem, PA
(888) 588-7299
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Latin Night" w/ DJ George Dennis
Fri. (9:30 p.m.) The Rockets (10 p.m.) DJ Paul Desisto
Sat. (5 p.m.) Cracklin Diamond (9:30 p.m.) Fish Out of Water (10 p.m.) DJ Capps
Sun. 4:30 p.m. 40 North
Wed. 8 p.m. Gary Delena  & Jeff Pirammi. $20 (Includes one free drink)

Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Avenue Hamilton
(609) 585-8008
Fri. 9:30 p.m. Blind Lemmon Pie
Sat. 9:30 p.m. Polish Nannies
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke

Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 424-3766
Sat.8 p.m. Steve Butler. All ages, $10

Rossi's Bar & Grill
2110 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton
(609) 890-2004
Thurs. 7 p.m. (TBA)
Salt Creek Grille
1 Rockingham Row Princeton
(609) 419-4200
Fri. 8 p.m. Party Of 3
Sat. 8 p.m. Tim Brent
Small World Coffee
14 Witherspoon Street Princeton
(609) 924-4377 x2
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Mr Chris & Alley
1867 Sanctuary
101 Scotch Road Ewing
(609) 392-6409
Fri. 7 p.m. "Fourth Friday Open Mic." Free Admission
Sat. (3 p.m.) Theater To Go Presents: A Staged Reading of "A Raisin in the Sun" w/ Trenton Central HS Visual and Performing Arts Academy. $10/$5 (Students) (8 p.m.) Stephanie Chin 
Sun. (3 p.m.) Theater To Go Presents: A Staged Reading of "Clybourne Park" w/ Trenton Central HS Visual and
Performing Arts Academy. $10/$5 (Students) (7:30 p.m.) "Jump, Jive & Wail." $25
Wed. 8 p.m. TCNJ Jazz Ensemble. Free Admission 
Tara's Tavern
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown
(609) 286-2300
Fri. 10 p.m. Billy Hector
Sat. 10 p.m. (TBA)
Tavern On The Lake
101 Main Street Hightstown
(609) 426-9345
Fri. 9 p.m. Funk Point 5
Sat. 9 p.m. One Flight Up
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night
Temperance House
5 South State Street Newtown, PA
(215) 944-8050
Thurs. 7 p.m. Blues Open Mic Hosted by Steve Guyger
Fri. 7 p.m. Ed Wall
Sat. 7 p.m. Kate Sottile
Mon. 7 p.m. "Paint Night"
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo w/ Righteous Jolly
Wed. 7 p.m. John Sheridan
The Cool Cricket
216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro
(609) 291-9110
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 9 p.m. El Ka Bong

The HOB Tavern
146 Second Street Bordentown
(609) 291-7020
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Entertainment
Tues 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Wed. 8 p.m. (TBA)
The Ivy Inn
248 Nassau Street Princeton
(609) 921-8555
Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Rockin' Ron
Fri. 10 p.m. DJ Jon Gosselin
Sat. 10 p.m. Smoke 'N' Mirrors
Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv
Wed. 10 p.m. "Wednesday Wheel Night Spin To Win Karaoke" w/ DJ Rockn Ron
The Pines Tavern
6217 North Radcliffe Street Bristol, PA
(215) 788-1659
Sat. 9 p.m. Soul Custody Trio
Sun. 3 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Bill Monach Jr.
The Raven
385 West Bridge Street New Hope, PA
(215) 862-2081
Thurs. (5 p.m.) Russell Eiffert (10 p.m.) All Male Revue
Fri. (9 p.m.) Michael Ferreri (10 p.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sat. (5 p.m.) Russell Eiffert  (10 p.m.) DJ Dance Party
The Record Collector
358 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 324-0880
Please check web page for upcoming events.
The Roost
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 208-0050
Fri. 9 p.m. ArHouse

The Sticky Wicket
2465 South Broad Street Hamilton
(609) 439-0007
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Throwback Thursday" w/ DJ Chillio
Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke
The Cure Insurance Center
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200
Check website for upcoming events
The Sycamore Grill
255 North Sycamore Street Newtown, PA
(215) 908-6326
Thurs. 8 p.m. Bob Rotondo
Fri. 8 p.m. Acoustic Keys
Sat. 8 p.m. Idlewoodsman
Sun. 3 p.m. Jamie Stem
Third State Brewing
352 High Street Burlington
(609) 3871620
Fri. 7 p.m. The Luck Brothers 
Tir Na Nog
1324 Hamilton Avenue Trenton
(609) 392-2554
Fri. 9 p.m. Rick Winow
Sat. 9 p.m. The Williamsboy
Wed. 9 p.m. Open Mic. w/ Mike DQ & Steve Z
All shows  21+
Trenton Buzz
702 Pine Street Trenton
(609) 392-6000
Fri. 8 p.m. Live Band & Open Mic.
Sat. 10 p.m. "Buzzed Saturdays" w/ Bockman
Trenton Social
449 South Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-7777
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Night w/ Benny P
Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300
Thurs. 8 p.m. Trivia
Fri. 10 p.m. Rob Duncan. $5 (cover charge)
Sat. 10 p.m. Essie & The Big Chill. $5 (cover charge)
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage Night. (Sign ups at 6:30 p.m.) 
All shows 21+
Triumph Brewing Company
138 Nassau Street Princeton
(609) 924-7855
Fri. 10 p.m. (TBA)
All shows 21+
Wildflowers Inn
2572 Pennington Road Pennington
(609) 773-2392
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock Night
Mon. 9 p.m. "Moonshine Mondays" Trivia
Tues. 9 p.m. Ed Wilson

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.



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