Born on April 8th, 1951, and raised in Flint, Michigan, Mel first picked up his dad’s banjo at the age of seven. By twelve, this talented young guy had moved on to guitar, and only two years later was in a local trio playing bass at wedding receptions and parties. He eventually played teen clubs and talent competitions with other local bands.
At age 16, Mel caught his first professional break when he was invited to replace bassist Frank Lugo in Question Mark and the Mysterians. He toured with the band supporting their classic hit “96 Tears”. It was shortly after that, in 1968, that Mel was approached by Don Brewer and Mark Farner to form a power trio soon to establish international fame…Grand Funk Railroad.
Mel’s unique bass delivery became a staple of Grand Funk’s recordings and concerts. His huge “lead bass” style helped create the signature GFR sound, and his muscular approach to music has inspired countless musicians. Numerous professional bass players including KISS’s Gene Simmons, Van Halen’s Michael Anthony, and Mr. Big’s Billy Sheehan, have referred to Mel as one of their major influences. The beloved Homer Simpson even refers to the “bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher” in an episode of The Simpsons.
Schacher is to this day adoringly known by his fans as “The God of Thunder”.