“Am I in my cabin dreaming, or are you really scheming, to take my ship away from me?” With his Fender Jazz bass on overdrive, Mel Schacher fueled the funk in Grand Funk Railroad – America’s heaviest blue collar band.
Though Farner and Brewer were the writers, Mel’s melodic bass artistry defined Funk’s canon. Utilizing his index fingernail as a plectrum, Mel’s playing became even more refined as Flint’s finest morphed from hard rockers to pop stars on such albums as: We’re An American Band (1973), Shinin’ On (1974), All The Girls In the World Beware (1975), and the Frank Zappa production Good Singin’ Good Playin’ (1976). Tracks including “Got This Thing On the Move,” “Sin’s A Good Man’s Brother,” “I’m Your Captain/Closer to Home,” “Aimless Lady,” “Upsetter,” “Shinin’ On,” “Into the Sun,” “All The Girls In the World Beware” – to cite a few, are the work of an unheralded bass icon.
Mel is still on the road with a revamped version of Grand Funk sans Farner and Frost. Beloved by fans, reviled by the so-called rock media – I can’t imagine how many American teenagers heard Mel on Grand Funk (1969) aka “The Red Album” and decided that’s what they wanted to do in life. Profoundly influential to ensuing generations of alternative, grunge, and hard-rockers, Mark, Don, Mel, and Craig’s absence from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame is unacceptable.