Grand Funk Railroad will play at White Rose Thunder in York Saturday.
Grand Funk Railroad will play at White Rose Thunder in York Saturday. (Submitted)

Don Brewer was barely 20 when he formed Grand Funk Railroad with Mark Farner and Mel Schacher in 1968.

At that age, Brewer said, he was just trying to get through each day while taking a shot a making it big in music.

Now 45 years on, the 65-year-old drummer and co-lead singer of the band that is best known for its hit "We're an American Band" is still going strong and will perform Saturday at White Rose Thunder at the York Expo Center.

"I'm still thrilled to be getting out of bed and doing this," Brewer said.

Thunder: Grand Funk Railroad is slated to perform at 8 p.m. Saturday as part of the four-day event geared toward motorcyclists.

White Rose Thunder features concerts, stunt shows, motorcycle displays and more. Grandstand shows also include Pop Evil on Thursday and Mustang Sally on Friday.

Brewer, who was in Phoenix to play a concert with the band Thursday and will hit the road Friday for York, said he still gets a kick performing live.

"We'll have fun," he said. "We like to get everyone up and on their feet."

One of the many songs the band will play will likely be "We're an American Band," a song that has been used in commercials, on television shows and is still played on the radio.

Brewer penned the song during one of his first efforts at writing and said he's surprised the tune has withstood the test of time.

"When I wrote the song, I never thought it would go on this long. It's way beyond what I ever expected," he said.

Music scene: Brewer grew up and helped form Grand Funk Railroad in his native Flint, Mich., about an hour north of Detroit.

In the 1960s, Detroit was the height of the music scene with acts ranging from Motown great Martha and the Vandellas to rocker Iggy Pop dominating.

Despite living so close to the major hub of music, the band didn't fully associate itself with bands there and played gigs across Michigan.

"A lot of the bands and people looked at us as that band from Flint," Brewer said with a laugh.

Nonetheless, he said some of influences did rub off on the band.

"It was a great time for music. There was a R&B and rock energy going on," Brewer said.

- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.