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Gonzo Latest News: MERRELL FANKHAUSER

Date Published: 25th January 2014


 

JON: Can you tell me about the Rainbow Bridge video?
 
MERRELL: As you know I lived on Maui for 14 years and I moved there in ‘73 just a year after the Jimi Hendrix Rainbow Bridge came out. And when I moved there I met a lot of people that were in the movies, and a lot of them were hippies, surfers and cosmic people that were seeing UFOs and everything, and they said Jimi was really into the whole UFO thing, and that there were even some hovering about when they were shooting over there.

So we contacted the ones that we still knew where they were over there and we went over and interviewed them and it was really interesting what some of them had to say about hanging out with Hendrix and everything and then we went down to Southern California, because some of them lived down there, and we interviewed a few of those so we’ve got some really interesting interviews with, I think, an insight into some of the things that were going on with that movie with Hendrix hasn’t come out. In the original Rainbow Bridge if you saw it, it follows Pat Hartley the actress from the Sunset Strip over to O’ahu and then to Maui where she meets all these characters, and ultimately Jimi.  And the message because of all of her travels and the way it was put together kind of got lost a little bit in the different scenes and things and I talked to one of the guys from Warner Brothers who was in on the editing and he said that when they brought the film over it was in all of these bags and there was sand in it and they were almost afraid to put it on their machine, and had to clean it all and they kept going through this stuff and it was just a lot of hippies talking about cosmic stuff and getting high on drugs, and everybody kept saying “Where’s Jimi, where’s Jimi?  Where’s the concert?” You know they were afraid they weren’t going to have enough to make the movie really good, but finally they got to the movie part. 

So what we did, we kind of condensed these interviews down and we would segue into some really great surfing on big waves over there, because a lot of the people that were interviewed were surfers and we have old footage of them surfing, and then we cut to surfing footage from now, and I have about ten of my newer instrumental surf songs in there with the surfing, and then it would go to a couple of band performances – there were two Maui bands that we have over there: Omar and the Wavestop Spies and The Space Patrol, who actually – the lead singer – Les Potts was in the original Rainbow Bridge movie and he’s the guy that’s shown cutting up this surf board that they smuggled some hashish I think it was to the island, and he takes a big toke and coughs his lungs out, and that’s in the movie.
 
JON: I have to admit, when I saw the movie it was many, many years ago – back when I still far too much smoked dope and the only bits I remember were a few UFO talks and the guy coughing his lungs up.
 
MERRELL: Yeah well that was Les and you’ll see him then and now what he looks like and that was the interesting thing, Jon, some of these guys looked like full-on wild cosmic hippies and very young back then, and now when we photograph them, they’re all – of course – grey-haired old guys – some of them now have short hair and they look like they could be insurance salesmen or whatever… <laugh>  So.. it’s interesting and Rob liked it and we’ve had a few other people who have seen it now that really think it’s good, but it won’t come out till June 4th.

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