Don Brewer was playing clarinet in junior high school when his music teacher asked for volunteers to play the drums. The entire drum section at the time was comprised of girls, and they needed somebody to cart around the bass drum. Brewer, who was disenfranchised with his music teacher’s selection of material, volunteered.
Drumming was in his blood, as his father had played drums during The Swing Era. So he got a drum set and his dad taught him how to play along with some of the big-band records of the time. (Brewer still cites Buddy Rich as one of his idols.)
He started a band called The Jazz Masters and Terry Knight approached them about singing lead vocals. Hence, was born Terry Knight and the Pack, a band which enjoyed some chart success in the mid-sixties with “I Who Have Nothing”. This was the band that evolved into Grand Funk Railroad. Don is the baritone you hear on “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “We’re An American Band”. The band split in 1977 and Brewer and Craig Frost and Mel Schacher started Flint, which recorded one eponymously titled album and then fizzled. Brewer also produced an album for The Godz in 1978.
Between the years 1981 and 1983, Grand Funk reunited and broke up again. Brewer went on tour with Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band and shared drum duties with Russ Kunkel and Gary Mallaber on 1986’s Like a Rock.
A decade later, Grand Funk re-united yet again, this time as part of the oldies circuit, and have been touring with various line-ups ever since. As recently as 2007, Brewer was back on the road with Bob Seger as part of the Face the Promise tour. Seger also asked Brewer to accompany him on stage when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
Here he is drumming and on vocals with Grand Funk Railroad on “Some Kind of Wonderful”…