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




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The Impacts

MERRELL - guitar
JOHN OLIVER - guitar
STEVE EVANS - guitar
MARTIN BROWN - steel guitar
STEVE METZ - drums

By the end of 1960 Merrell was lead guitar with The Impacts who rapidly became a popular band, based at the Peppermint Twist West (a small teen club) playing covers of rock 'n' roll hits by Ricky Nelson and Little Richard or r'n'b songs. They then moved to the Rose Garden Ballroom, a Pismo Beach night club owned by Impacts' sax player, Joel Rose's father. Their teen following moved with them and they were soon playing to crowds of a thousand or more as well as backing big name stars when they performed at the club.

The Impacts were impressed by the instrumental music played by The Ventures and similar bands. Merrell once getting a guitar lesson from one of The Ventures when they played the Rose Garden. The Impacts began writing their own take on this music and before they knew it found themselves part of the burgeoning 'surf' music scene.

A talent scout saw them at the Rose Garden in 1962 and arranged through record producer Tony Hilder for them to record some of their material at Ted Brinson's small Los Angeles studio. In one day they laid down over a dozen songs, all pretty much done in one take. With a bit of added reverb the band were amazed at how good they sounded!

A few months later the band were even more amazed to see an album called Wipe Out! by The Impacts released on the Del-Fi label. At this point they had not signed any contracts, and despite finally forcing their producer Tony Hilder to give them contracts they never received any royalties for these recordings - it all went to Hilder and Del-Fi Records.

A second recording session in January 1963 found the band rearranging the track 'Wipe Out' from the album (Hilder thought it could be a hit single with some changes), and then recording two new tunes 'Kon Tiki' and 'Tor-Chula'.

Although the band continued to gig regularly, the lack of royalties from their recordings and the controversy surrounding the appearance of the Sufaris 'Wipe Out' left a bitter taste and Merrell quit the band.

The Impacts carried on for another year with a different guitarist, released a poor single and then disbanded.

Leaving Pismo Beach, Merrell had moved on with his family because his father had started a flying school in the small nondescript High Desert town of Lancaster.

The Exiles >>

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

© Text copyright Steve Froy 2003-2015