Calling From A Star
The Music of Merrell Fankhauser
The Impacts, Fapardokly, HMS Bounty, Mu & Fankhauser/Cassidy Band

Early Years
The Impacts
The Exiles
HMS Bounty
The Man From Mu




return to
main page


The Exiles


Despite his disappointment at the lack of financial success with The Impacts Merrell continued to write songs and play his guitar, although he was now taking notice of the new sound of the 'beat' groups emerging from England.

One day taking a break from work at the airport Merrell was playing his guitar and was approached by another guy who worked there asking if Merrell would help out his son who'd just got a guitar. Merrell agreed and so begun his friendship with Jeff Cotton.

Jeff was only 14 but had a natural talent for the guitar and he soon blossomed even further with Merrell's tuition. It wasn't long before they decided they'd like to form a band, and with three other young guys from Lancaster they were soon gigging as The Exiles.

The Exiles in action at the Jayne Reynolds Auditorium 1964.
Merrell, Jeff, Dan, Danny.

Local record producer, Glen McArthur, invited them to record at his small Palmdale studio in April 1964. Three singles were released on the Glenn Records label, all of which gained a good deal of local success giving the band exposure on radio stations, an appearance on 'Ninth Street West' (a TV show hosted by LA disc jockey Sam Riddle) and a steady run of gigs.

The band itself was centred around Merrell and Jeff with the other members coming and going depending on their availability. Dan Martin drummed in an early version of the band, with Greg Hampton being the mainstay drummer (before joining the US Navy); Larry Willey sometimes played bass instead of Jim Ferguson; John Day played keyboards and in some performances Merrell's sister Linda joined in on vocals.

Another single, financed by the band themselves, was recorded in 1965 at the Audio Arts Studio in Hollywood - 'Can't We Get Along' / 'That's All I Want From You'. The production values on this Golden Crown Records release were far superior to their previous efforts and earned them a four star review in Billboard magazine (September 1965).

This single might have been the springboard to bigger success as they found themselves getting booked in clubs on Sunset Strip but at this crucial time their booking agent had organised a six week residency for them at a loggers camp in Portland, Oregon. The whole experience was a disaster and caused the original Exiles band to break up.

Undaunted Merrell pulled together another Exiles band with Randy Wimer (drums), Larry Willey (bass) and Mark Thompson (keyboards), headed for Audio Arts again to record another single - 'Tomorrow's Girl' / 'When I Get Home'. Eventually released in 1967 on Glenn Records, under the name Merrell & The Xiles this proved to be their best selling single. It won the rate-a-record section of Dick Clark's 'American Bandstand' show despite a reference to 'twenty dollar weed'.

The subject matter of Merrell's songs were beginning to develop beyond the usual boy/girl fare of pop songs. The use of marijuana was beginning to make itself felt in his as well as other music of the 60's.

Fapardokly >>

Introduction   |  The Impacts  |  The Exiles  |  Fapardokly  |  HMS Bounty  |   Mu  |  The Man From Mu  |   Discography

© Text copyright Steve Froy 2003-2015