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Terry Knight’s Killer Convicted

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How in the world did I miss original Grand Funk Railroad manager-producer-visionary Terry Knight, 61, being murdered back in November? I am stunned.

Today, Donald Alan Fair was found guilty of murder in the Nov. 1 in the stabbing death of Richard Terrance “Terry” Knight during a domestic dispute. Fair’s defense claimed he was wacked on methamphetamine when he stabbed Knight 17 times. Fair, 27, was the boyfriend of Knight’s daughter, and they all lived together in an apartment in Temple, Texas, about 60 miles north of Austin.

Although they had not talked in over 30 years, Grand Funk drummer Don Brewer told an area TV station that he was shocked” by Knights death. “Terry was very instrumental in creating and marketing Grand Funk Railroad.” Brewer had been a member, along with guitarist/singer Mark Farner, of Terry Knight and the Pack, the Knight-fronted band out of Flint, Michigan that had a hit in ’66 with “I (Who Have Nothing).”

After the Pack split, Knight helped put together Grand Funk Railroad with Brewer, Farner and bassist Mel Schacher in ’68, and was instrumental in their rise to fame — in 1971 they sold out Shea Stadium faster than the Beatles — until he was fired in ’72.

Barry Stoller did a remarkable interview with Knight in ’03.

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About Eric Olsen

  • Shark

    I have a Terry Knight story; in about 1969, I had a band that was going to audition for the possibility of a signing w/Knight; we were to play at a local hipster park on a Sunday and he was there to listen.

    On the way to the gig, we stopped for gas and our guitar player accidentally slammed the car door on his finger. Instead of auditioning for Knight & Co., we spent the afternoon in an emergency room.

    Never heard from him after that.

    [snif]

    Ah, what might have been…

    PS: Also have a Grand Funk story, but I could never get that drunk, and besides: who the hell cares…

  • Eric Olsen

    great story Shark, thanks! Tell the Grand Funk story – don’t make me beg

  • Shark

    Beg.

    No, actually, Eric, it’s not the much of a “story” — but I happened to be there at the Texas International Pop Festival on opening day in 1969; this was Grand Funk’s first real gig, and despite the fact that I hated their stuff thereafter, they blew away the crowd like no one I’d ever seen before.

    The lip service was so great (everybody was walking around RAVING about this great new band), that they opened the festival on the following two days. Pretty shocking, since folks like B.B.King, Canned Heat, Chicago, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends,ÊFreddie King, Janis Joplin,ÊJohnny Winter, Led Zeppelin, Sam & Dave, Santana, Sly & the Family Stone,ÊSpirit, and Ten Years After were also playing the festival. Everyone left talking about GFR.

    (No juicy stuff, but quite a memorable moment for all who were there.)

  • Eric Olsen

    why were they received so well?

  • http://www.utopia2000.org Barry Stoller

    I have been writing the authorized biography of Terry Knight. Details on the Easy Listening LP he produced for Cameo-Parkway, The TK Revue, Twiggy, all the obscure stuff. Anyone with pertinent or entertaining anecdotes about Knight is welcome to direct them to me; I will add them.

  • Eric Olsen

    that’s cool Barry, let us know how it’s going, share some excerpts?

  • Mike

    I remember on a the Mark, Don and Mel Greatest Hits album where Terry wrote the grandiose ode to the badn on the back comparing them to Elvis and the Beatles. I never thought they were quite THAT caliber (LOL), but they were a great influence on my early heavy R&R years. Terry was responsible for most of that and I was shocked like others when I heard of his murder just 60 miles north of my hometown.

  • Lisa Millenbach

    FYI

    Terry’s killer, thanks to Danielle Knight’s testimony, was sentenced today, 26 May 2005, to a life term in a Texas State Prison.

    Danielle and I, her mother, were there, and we both thank God for justice.

  • Dona Kay

    All I can say is that I’m in total shock, just finding out last week about Terry’s death. Had been trying to make contact with him again for the past several years. I am an entertainment writer and had known known Terry since he went out as a solo artist and worked with him thru the years. What a waste of a tremendous talent. He’ll certainly be misssed – at least I have my memories.

  • Michael V.

    I too, have a story. He lived around the corner from me for about four years here in Yuma, Arizona. He was a decent chap who loved to talk about GFR. One night he came over — to a mutual friends house — with a newly mastered version of the latest greatest-hits CD released in 2001 or 2002, I can’t remember which. It was a boxed set and he allowed me to make a copy on my Mac! He was an extremely generous man. We got toasted on wine and listened to the CD. It was a wonderful time, swapping tales of the road . I miss morning coffees with Terry. I wish he’d never left Yuma.

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks for all the input, graet story Michael! He is clearly missed

  • jeffery funk

    hey guys i known about terry since the late sixty`s terry knight and the pack from flint with mark and don btw i have met both of the guys anyways terry was a DJ as well it`s too bad he had to die that way even that he didn`t get along with GFR back in the early 70`s terry took them for a ride and that`s why he got fired we will all miss him .

  • Andru Reeve

    Most people don’t know this, but it is highly likely that Terry Knight was responsible for igniting the “Paul McCartney is Dead” rumor back in 1969, just before he put together Grand Funk. I write about this in my book TURN ME ON, DEAD MAN. Check it out if you get a chance. Besides that, I was always a big fan of The Pack. Too bad he didn’t keep making music. And too bad he died before his time. Rest In Peace.

  • Andrew Trentacosta

    Terry Knight was one of the greatest dj’s ever. First to play The Rolling Stones in Detroit. He once played “It’s All Over Now” for an hour straight on CKLW.

  • http://utopia2000.org Barry Stoller

    Actually, that’s “Tell Me” from the 1st Stones LP; if you remember it, the folk-pop ditty is a template for the TK&TP sound.

    The Terry Knight biography is here if you want it!

    http://www.utopia2000.org

  • Roger St. Louis

    i found out about the unfortunate passing of terry knight about 5 or 6 months ago. i never met the man personally – but would’ve jumped at the chance if it had come along.
    through the years i’ve read good and bad about the guy but never became biased one way or the other on account of what i read. sure, you can’t say grand funk without thinking of terry knight and vice-versa.
    i think he really did have a clever mind for all things business in the cut-throat music industry during his day and his contribution cannot be denied. it was a sad day when he was taken from us in such a senseless way. who knows, something big and positive might’ve been in store for him again but we’ll never know now, will we?
    i hope he’s resting peacefully and i also hope the dipshit kid that snuffed out his life early is reminded daily of his cowardly, heinous act.

  • Geo

    We had a drummer who was the quintessential GFRR freak… and could crank out any GFRR song in a heartbeat, he was also a great immitator of Deep Purple Drum parts as well. Pretty impressive copyist. Still plays and still considers both drummers “da kine bra”

  • http://Davison,MI Kim

    I met Terry Knight in 1983. He was staying with a neighbor of mine. We hung out for a month or two. Those were two great months! I really miss Terry. He taught me a lot!

  • Steve Bradshaw

    Hi all,
    I went to school with Terry. His last name was Knapp at the time. Played school band with him and we were the entertainment at the home coming dance for our class. He was a good man with a serious business mind. May the rock and roll gods bless him.

  • Mark James Meli

    Somebody forwarded me a story about 5 years ago about Terry leaving the Pack to work as a mid-level promo guy for Capitol records and he was the one who established the ties there. The time-line I remember (and please correct me if I’m wrong) is that soon after he got the Capitol records gig, they assigned Terry to help work up the hoopla for Apple records and he was sent to England, met the Beatles etc. There was also a passage that said that Terry was hanging out with the Hollies in the UK around the time that Graham Nash announced he was leaving the group (also, 1968). The article seemed to state that Hollies’ guitarist Tony Hicks briefly considered Terry to be Graham’s replacement. At first I thought, how could the Hollies have heard of Terry Knight, BUT gathering information on the Hollies, their first trips to America included stops in Michigan.

  • Don McCallum

    I went to see Terry Knight and the Pack back in ’66 or ’67 while I was still in HS. I thought they were great. I still have a Lucky 11 45rpm (the original “compact disc”) recording of “Better Man than I”. I really dug the way the lead guitarist in that number used a slide on his guitar similar to the way a steel guitar player would. It produced some very nice effects. Was shocked to find out that he had come to a bad end.

  • Antonio M.

    Dear Associates,

    No one man knew and corresponded better with my dear friend Terry Knight than myself. As a matter of fact, Terry made a “Pass” at my “ex” wife”, Wendy Sue Remy Giampietro, in the sumer of 1967, in the back seat of a late model 1966 Cadllac owned by my then associate Harold E. Thompson og Galion, Ohio 44833.

    Kight was the #1 D.J. on WCKLW Radio, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, in the early sixties. I was also a Disc Jockey on the local level and longed to someday meet Mr. Knight, possibly ask him a few personal questions, possibly get an autographed pic of him and possibly shake his hand, allof which I eventually accomplished.

    Kight and I shared an equal associate, Joseph Petito, of Cleveland, Ohio, where “Grand Funk” and “The Pack” recorded all of their hits and more.

    Mr. Petito founded Audio Reording Studios in 1957 and pioneered Rock recordings i the Cleveland market.

    I would be delighted to hear from any and all Terry Knight fans at:

    ANTONIO M. “TONY” GIAMPIETRO, Licensed Agent
    P.O. BOX 1226
    GALION, OH 44833
    [Personal contact info deleted]

  • Dianne Boutin

    I knew Terry Knapp from age 15 to 20…..My cousins moved into his house. we had a summer crush. We wrote up until he was Jack the Bellboy on some Detroit radio station….Have some nice photograghs his daughter maybe would like to have. Was very saddened and shocked to hear of his tragic death

  • larry patterson

    I signed the group MOMS APPLE PIE with Terry Knight
    in 1972 He was something else!!! I liked him.
    Larry Patterson former manager MOM’S APPLE PIE

  • wade bly

    NO it was 1 hour of It’s all over know That Terry played on cklw

  • Tanya Patience Golden

    Terry Knight was a friend of my parents, Lauren (Davis) and Larry Tyler in the early 80’s in Connecticut. I have vivid memories of dancing around in my pink flannel nightgown while the grown ups drank wine and solved all the worlds problems. Terry had a way of creating a magical energy in the room, captivating in the memories of a seven year old girl. His name came upin conversation tonight with my younger siblings referring to the “shiny” days in our parents world and I decided to Google Terry on the off chance I might look him up. What a shock to hear of his passing. I have some beautiful pictures of his racing days at Lime Rock Park and a lot of stories from that whole scene. Danielle–if you are out there please contact me anytime, would love to share it with you! Your strength is admirable.

  • joseph

    to AMG or Antonio G or M. G. or to Tony G. as we know you the man with all the plaques on the wall I want my dowry back for that pinto since she didnt marry me just kidding e mail me or call me or just show up miss all of u love jc

  • FarnerFan

    I saw Grand Funk in 1969 at the first Nashville Pop Festival. I think it was maybe their 3rd or 4th major appearance. They went on so late (several hours behind schedule) that people were leaving Centennial Park. Once they started playing, though, the place went crazy. People were literally leaving their cars in the street and running back to the stage. To this day, despite having seen most of the greats of that era, it was one of the most electrifying live performances I’ve ever seen. Eddie Van Halen said watching Mark Farner dance backwards across the stage doing a guitar solo was what made him want to be a rock and roll hero.

  • Donna

    In 1963, I attended a concert at the Hippodrone theatre in Cleveland Ohio.Peter and Gordon and the Vogues were also perfprming.The concert still remains one of the best memories in my childhood.

  • Donna

    sorry the year was 1965

  • Rod Rush

    Does anybody remember Larry Woolson from Mt. Vernon Ohio i rode with him and Terry Knight from Mansfield, marion and Mt. Vernon when terry did a solo tour at those places when larry booked him at his clubs had a good time rideing with him to those gigs

  • Pat Bergin

    Terry Knapp and I were friends all through school. Elementary school on. We’re from Lapeer, MI, a small, bedroom community outside of Flint. Terry and I played drums in the Lapeer HS band, and later gigged out at various dumps around the Flint area. Our parents had VERY limited knowledge of what we were doing, I can only imagine what Elmer and Marge would’ve done to him had they known!!

    Anyhow, I just wanted to put my 2 cents in for what it’s worth. I never knew “Terry Knight,” only “Terry Knapp.” And that Terry was a hell of a good guy!

  • doris

    I had the biggest crush on Terry Knight after seeing him on Robin Seymour’s Swinging Time and traveled to Mt. Holly after begging a friends brother to take me, my older sister and friend. I think I was all of 14 but while we were dumb enough to venture out in the blizzard I guess the group wasn’t and never showed. But then the same thing happened when we went to see Bob Seger and the Last Heard the next summer in Ann Arbor at the A-Square only there was no snow, only no show. Alas, life is filled with so much tragedy.I cried when I read about his murder in Discoveries mag. Growing up in Michigan there were so many great groups we had such great music and bands.

  • p curley, shelton conn.

    Greatest song he did was the remake of the Ben E King sonmg, “I Who Have Nothing”. Put a lot of emotion into that song.

  • Andrew Trentacosta

    Thanks, Wade Bly, for backing me up. It was “It’s All Over Now”, not “Tell Me”. “Tell Me” was a ballad, but “It’s All Over Now” rocked out loud and fast.
    It was the Stones first number one record in Britain.

  • Shari

    Terry was my lover for a few months in Dallas, Texas. He was a wonderful lover. I worked for Capitol Records

  • joe

    I saw terry knight and the pack several times in the ’60s in detroit. Didn’t know then that he was also on CKLW. That’s when FM was just getting big and Russ Gibb was on in detroit trying to blow out our bass speakers on the radio. I had a brother who played bass at the time and I came home one night from work to find him, my mom, and some other guy in the kitchen. My ma was poking this guy in the chest and telling him that “no pot smokin’ hippie is gonna take my son out on the road”. My brother was only 17 at the time. That ‘other guy’ as it turned out was none other than Bob Seger, just before Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man came out.

  • jack starr

    I too am saddened by the loss of Terry Knight ,first because he was way too young to die but also because I feel that as an artist he was never given the respect he deserved!He wrote some brilliant songs like “A Change is on the Way” “the Shut In and many more.He was a genuis and I am not talking about the brilliant job he did of making GFR a household name but his undeniable talents of singing and songwriting which have been overlooked.I remember as a fourteen year old boy the thrill of listening to the Terry Knight and the Pack album which I found a replacement copy a few years back ,I remember that there was a lot of garbage on the radio but despite that he made me believe in music anyway.He touched a nerve in me with the brutal honesty and sincerity of everything he wrote and sang to me he was Bob Dylan and John Lennon and the way he died trying to save his daughter’s life only proves to me that what I felt when I listened to him was true ,He was the real deal.Thanks for the memories

  • Bobby Caldwell

    I was the keyboard player and a founding member of Terry Knight and the Pack. Curt, Donnie, Herm and I had the greatest years of our life working with Terry. He was a gifted writer and a lot of fun to work with. I was sorry to hear of his death. I don’t think Terry was ever really given his kudos in the rock world. Bobby Caldwell

  • Rockdad

    I would like to her from someone who knew the truth about GFR and Terry Knight ripping them off so bad? Anybody have any knowledge about how he took all their money thru the years?

  • Priscilla

    I can remember seeing Terry Knight and the Pack during Battles of the Bands at the Fair Store in the South Flint Plaza in say 1967. That how they all got their starts. Bob Seger and the Last Herd, ? and the Mysterians, The Rationals. What great memories.

  • The Alleycat

    It was well known that Terry Knight was a theif…he cheated Mark Farner out of his publishing rights,He cheated the band out of 400.000 million by taking a nice 24 percent and giving Grand funk 2 percent each
    when you live that way you die that way!

  • The Alleycat

    now the above you read is live concert assets,,Knight also took 28 percent of capital records profit that gave knight 800.000 million,,and publishing rights money he averaged 300.000 million a year..
    knight made bad investments for grand funk
    that cost them million with the IRS

  • The Alleycat

    I was very surprized that Mark Farner did not kick that crooks ass, Terry Knight was nothing but a con man..Mark Don and Mel work very hard to eary their money..and Knight worked very hard to steal it..keep in mind at that time Mark and Don were 20 years old and Mel was 19 KNIGHT saw easy pickings

  • marilyn levy bissing

    I met Terry when I was 16 yrs old and had the biggest crush on him!!!!
    saw him a couple times after that and always kept his picture,what a loss

  • Gray Alan

    Didnt he kind of embezzle millions of dollars from GF? What about that story?

  • Gray Alan

    Karma

  • Timmy

    Really sad that Terry was killed, he gave GFR a great start, but it was the talent of the band that led to such big success. It is my understanding that he also robbed the guy’s of tons of money. He was not up front with them. Karma is a bitch, I wish Brewer and Farner would bury the BS, they could still at least Tour and make some money, no need for new music, as People like me who grew up on GFR only got to see them once in 1997, I would love to see them again, but much louder…..Don and Mel do the right thing, Mark you can forgive them too.