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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MERRELL - guitar, vocals
JEFF COTTON - guitar, vocals, bass clarinet

After the demise of HMS Bounty Merrell was now living with his wife and their young son, Tim in Canoga Park, Los Angeles. He carried on as he always did writing songs, teaching the guitar and playing with assorted musicians.

During the early part of 1969 he would visit his old friend and bandmate, Jeff Cotton who was now holed-up in a house in Woodland Hills as part of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band practising 14 hours a day to perfect the unique music that would appear later on the legendary 'Trout Mask Replica' album.

Merrell found his friend very changed and as the year progressed he became more and more concerned about Jeff's mental and physical health. This came to a head in what has become known as the 'Magic Bathroom' incident that resulted in Merrell finally helping to break Beefheart's spell over Jeff.

More information about this episode can be found on my Jeff Cotton site - Space Blues.

While recuperating Jeff and Merrell began playing music together. They were joined by two other ex-Exiles and musician friends from Lancaster - Larry Willey on bass and Randy Wimer on drums. They gigged around the Los Angeles area under a number of names before fate presented them with the name they felt comfortable with - Mu.

Mu was a powerful name. It gave them an other-worldliness and links to an ancient culture whose values they felt an affinity for. A spiritually fascinating and positive lifestyle that Merrell and Jeff were looking for at that time.

With their new name the band began developing their own unique sound. A single were released on their own Mantra label before their self-titled album was issued.

Recorded at Wally Heider Studios in late 1971 this stunningly original album was destined to fall through the cracks. Despite the band building up a big reputation as an exciting live act the album was issued by a small record label, it failed to be promoted properly and consequently sold very few copies. The original issue on the ERA/RTV label (1971) and the re-issue on the CASS label (1972) are very rare and hotly sought after by collectors.

MU rehearsing in 1971. Larry, Merrell and Jeff.

They continued to play live and also appeared on television ????. Another single was released in 1972 on their Mu label. But they had made a decision - the legendary land of Mu was calling them and they had decided to relocate to the island of Maui. Larry Willey, however, didn't want to leave the US and so the band were reduced to a trio for a time.

A third single, again on the Mu label, was released in 1973 when they moved to Maui. It received a lot of airplay and the band played several concerts on the island. A old friend, again from Lancaster, Jeff Parker, replaced Larry on bass.

The band lived together in an idyllic setting, watching for ufo's, investigating the history and legends of the island, writing songs and playing music.

In 1974 they decided to start recording a second album. They asked Barry Mayo to engineer the sessions that were recorded in their jungle shack, and a lot of excellent tracks were laid down. The band were interviewed by Lew Irwin for his Earth News radio program and there were plans for a European tour to promote the release of Mu's first album which had been picked up by United Artists.

Then, Merrell found himself without a band again. Jeff and Randy's spiritual quest had led them to become Christian ministers and to quit the band.

The Man From Mu >>


Jeff Cotton

Randy Wimer

Larry Willey

Jeff Parker

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

© Text copyright Steve Froy 2003-2015