Year 1998, Dubna, Russia
i! I am Shamil Rasizade. It is 1998 and I'm 13 years old computer games fanatic. But mom limits my time on computer to three hours a day. Is it fair?
Aren't our parents a little bit crazy? My dad enjoy noise and distortion called Grand Funk Railroad. And doesn't like neither Grand Funk nor computer games but all she thinks about is shopping.
We also have big (12 pounds) and furry black tomcat, we call him Mr. Murzik. I have a lot of fun playing with him, but he often jumps on me to bite. Because he is tough Siberian rock'n'roll cat. The name Murzik originates from the "murr" ("purr" in English) - the sound he emanates when Grand Funk blasts full force from speakers. Dad calls him also Mr."Black Licorice". Mr.Murzik loves fresh fish right from Volga river. He doesn't like computer games though but enjoys chewing mom's flowers and watching Grand Funk videos on TV. He is a truly grandfuncatte!
Hey, don't leave, wait a minute, my dad wants to add:
About Me, still 1998
i everybody! I'm devoted Grand Funk fan since 1969, when I was hooked on their first album On Time once and forever. But I cannot say same about my wife. She is "it is too loud-n-noisy" kind of gal, who likes Pink Floyd and Annie Lennox.
I graduated from Moscow University and later took my Ph.D. degree in Theoretical Physics. The title of my thesis was "Sources of nonlinear fields", e.g. see "Bifurcations of point sources and contour sources of nonlinear fields". I hope you understand what I am talking about. If not - in two words it is related to quark confinement - Holy Grail of theory of strong interactions (a.k.a. Quantum Chromodynamics). I believe it remains one of the most mysteries of modern physics, because strong interaction - the force that unites quarks into hadrons - protons and neutrons, grows with distance, therefore retaining quarks in slavery inside hadrons forever and making impossible their direct observation. Such a behavior opposes to what we see in gravity and electro-weak interactions where the force between particles gets less when you increase the distance. This puzzle isn't resolved yet.
After taking my degree I changed my interests and was initially busy with analogue and digital electronics design, but then turned into the software programming. I was programming in assembly languages and C and C++. Almost all my audio hardware I made myself. My stereo amplifier is the version of the legendary Quad-405. I made this English amp in 1986 -1987 and it still works great. It is based on the original idea of feeding forward or distortion correction by bridge scheme. Mathematically it has no distortions at all, but in reality the math condition works only for some frequencies, because the bridge includes freq. dependent parts (capacitor and coil). My version of Quad-405 was busy last 15 years with blasting all known GFR albums from the full size cabinet speakers at the loudest possible volume. You can guess how well my neighbors knew Grand Funks heritage.
Now let's jump into my time machine and go back to 1973.
Year 1973, Flight of The Phoenix
i again ! It's me - Oktay Rasizade from 1973. I'm 19 years old GFR fan. I also like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Black Sabbath, but my favorite is the last GFR album Phoenix. It is the new cool turn in their music career and I love it ! You see me in my native city of Baku. It is the big city in the south of the Soviet Union, on the bank of Caspian sea (you see it behind me). My girlfriend took this picture in my last year in Baku. My life in Baku was full of rock festivals, loud hard rock concerts and I can say you, my ears were ringing all the time! Yeah rock'n'roll was so cool in this energetic southern city. And GFR was part of it.
It all happened in 1969. I was then 15 years old and was attending high school. Everybody was crazy about hard rock and played in some garage band, even if couldn't play. I also tried it. Me and my classmate made two electric guitars in our school workshop in 1970 and tried to play in garage band. Later I found it hard to play on my homebrewed guitar and bought the German electric guitar Muzima. Mostly I play for my own pleasure or jam with someone else. Now I play almost all songs from Closer To Home.
Well, let's go back to 1969.
One of my buddies (we call him Mighty) approaches to me and says:
- Hey James (it was my nickname), I've just got the tape with the new power trio. Man you would believe it if listen! It is the coolest band around now, better than Cream, it is simply terrific, esp. lead guitar and drums. I never heard anything like this. They are three Jews, calling themselves "The Great Terror of Railroads" (his translation of GFR into Russian, I imagined three gangsters on horses robbing trains in the Wild West). Let's go to listen if you have a time, I have the tape with their first album.
After classes we come to Mighty. He puts the tape. He had studio tape recorder - the big box that played at 38 rpm, when normal was 19 rpm. You can imagine how cool were Mark and Don playing at double speed!
said Mighty.- Pay attention to the speed he is playing, Clapton has no chances against
him. And drums, it is like machine man !
Of course I could not gather the music at double speed and later another buddy told me that he has On Time. You know, those times r it was a must for every teenage to have reel recorder, pocket size AM receiver and small camera. When I attended the party at his home, I took along my portable reel recorder to make the copy of GFR's first album. While we were drinking wine and talking, I was listening the music and failed to see what Mighty had found in this band. It sounded like loud, primitive and rather mechanical kind of music. And very monotonous. Next morning I played this tape in the background while making my homework. Listening Grand Funk third time I thought that there is something appealing in their music. When the tape had finished I started it again and again. Then all the day On Time was sounding in my head. I was desperately hooked on.
First time I saw MDM when Mighty showed me the article about Grand Funk translated from some American magazine. Attached was the b/w photo of MDM - the huge poster on the Times square. Seeing this photo I got such an huge impact that I remember the feeling till now. It was almost religious feeling, there was smt in eyes and the look of these guys. Combined with their music, it put GFR deep into my heart.
ne night early 1997 I was sitting at home and watching our local TV channel. It was the musical program about 70s of our local DJ. I felt dumbfound when detected words Grand Funk Railroad coming out of his lips. Since 1983, when I bought the copy of Whatís Funk?, there were no signs of GFR existence and I wasnít even sure are they alive or not. DJ said that he has the buddy who is the devoted GFR fan, so he want to please him. Then he put video from Were An American Band promo. You can hardly understand me, but being behind the iron curtain, I was not only deprived of being at GFR shows, but I never saw any GFR video too. What I knew about guys was that they were from New-York and the name of band came from some railroad in NYC (both happened to be wrong). After break up in 1976 GFR lasted for me yet another several years, because I still was finding more and more albums that I never heard before. I heard all songs from the Red Album first time only in 1980, but it still was the poor quality mono copy. Survival was for me the great surprise in 1978, when I saw this album in the catalogue of black market dealer, and it was very sweet surprise. Caught In The Act I also first heard after 1976 and photos from this album fed a little my hunger for seeing the band in the act. But after 1980 surprises stop until 1983 when I bought What's Funk? having no idea what happened with Grand Funk and why after this album they disappeared forever.
When I saw my first GFR video I didn't yet know that it was the sign from the heaven. I realized it few months later, when I was reading one of our national dailies. I felt dumbfounded again stumbling across the words Grand Funk Railroad. It was as unnatural as reading my own name in the national newspaper. There was the photo of three hugging guys,with guitars and author was asking Ė Do you recognize these guys (I didnít)? They are the legendary Grand Funk Railroad, now reunited and busy with what they did best Ė concerts. Then there were few words about first reunion concert in Detroit, Bosnia project (you can read this article in our site). I get stirred because all memories about fabulous 70s got back at once. I could not believe my eyes ! Grand Funk is alive and back !
Several weeks I was under the impression of the news, when the third and final accident happened. One fine sunny summer day I was driving home my old buddy ( in 80s we used to jam playing Mark-Mel or Clapton-Bruce, Iím on the lead guitar and he on the bass) and he suddenly said me that he just back from Detroit. Surprised I nearly crashed the car, what hell he could do in Detroit. I started asking him about Grand Funk, reunion. He said that he knows about reunion but nothing in Detroit reminded him GFR. Nevertheless he said that he accidentally came into their web site and gave me link to Bill Parette's site. And thanks to Internet, in one hour I learned about my favorite band more than during previous 30 years. And Iím very grateful to Bill for GFR lyrics. It was the first time when I learned what this guys were singing about.
When I connected my home computer to the Internet early 1998, I got at last opportunity to spend more time surfing the Net. And following the appeal from the official GFR site to go to the RRHOF I met there some GFR fans. Two of them - Rob Garrett and Wayne Auman, invited me to join the Roadkill gang. When I joined Roadkill Bill Parrette sent me the list of Russian fans who were in Roadkill. Only one of them, Andrew Tsygankov, the owner of web design company, replied and even suggested to make the Russian GFR site on his server. Thats how this site was created.