Hawaii trip on The label, anxious to cash in on the power trio gold being mined by Atco with Cream and Reprise with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, listened with interest when the deejay turned minimally successful rock star pitched them on a three-man group he already had under contract through his own company, Good Knight Productions. Knight christened the trio Grand Funk Railroad after Michigan’s Grand Trunk Railroad line, and added former Question Mark and the Mysterians bassist Mel Schacher to the existing line-up of Farner and Brewer. A skilled promoter, Knight scored a major coup by managing to have GFR open the Atlanta Pop Festival on July 4, 1969, before a wowed crowd of over 125,000. The supersonically loud blues-rock power trio built on its triumph at the stadium show by near-constant touring and word of mouth from an increasingly growing and rabid fan base. Universally despised by the critics, Grand Funk Railroad, under Knight’s brilliant manipulation, was marketed as a people’s band and targeted at youth who instinctively distrusted anything the mainstream media was trying to sell them. Simply put by Knight, Critics don’t count, the kids do. Not content to just sell millions of records, the producer-promoter made a game out of antagonizing detractors like Rolling Stone and Billboard by taking out full-page ads in their pages which depicted him flipping them off. Hawaii trip 2016.