Product Reviews

Product: Merrell Fankhauser - Calling From A Star
Date: 2015-05-01 

Calling From A Star

Cult Rocker Merrell Fankhauser Pens Autobiography

Often critically-acclaimed and commercially-challenged, cult rockers are those artists that exist forever on the outer edge of the mainstream music biz. Pursuing their own unique and frequently hallucinogenic artistic vision, musicians like Roky Erickson, Daniel Johnston, Jandek, or Wesley Willis represent the cult rock fringe. Creative geniuses like R. Stevie Moore, Robyn Hitchcock, and Game Theory’s Scott Miller are also considered cult rockers, albeit with varying degrees of respectability and success, but all enjoyed lengthy and creative careers. However, none of them hold a candle to the one and only Merrell Fankhauser.
Perhaps the cult artist’s cult artist, Fankhauser’s credentials read like rock ‘n’ roll mythology. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Merrell moved to California as a teenager, where he became one of the early innovators of surf music and psychedelic rock. Since joining the influential surf-rock band the Impacts in 1960, Fankhauser would go on to play in a veritable “who’s who” of cult rock outfits, including Merrell & the Exiles, HMS Bounty, Fapardokly (less a band than a concept), Fankhauser-Cassidy Band, and MU, among others, and as a songwriter he has better than 400 published songs to his credit.

A 2011 Grammy™ Award nominee, Fankhauser has also performed and recording with musicians like John “Drumbo” French of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service, Peter Noone of the Monkees, and Jay Ferguson and Ed Cassidy of Spirit, among others. Both with these bands and as a solo artist, Fankhauser has made a lot of interesting and entertaining music that has defined the boundaries of surf, psychedelic, and roots-rock, gaining the musician a small but loyal worldwide following.

Late last year, Fankhauser published his long-anticipated autobiography, Calling From A Star. In slightly more than 200 pages, Fankhauser shares stories from better than 50 years spent in the business, including his experiences with artists like Willie Nelson, the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, John Lennon, Captain Beefheart, and even an interlude with members of the infamous Charlie Manson family. Fankhauser also writes about the various television shows that he’s been involved with, including California Music, Route 55 TV Live, and the popular Tiki Lounge program.

“I started the book in 1990 after years of friends and fans telling me I've had such an adventurous life that most rock stars don't have,” Merrell says in a press release for the autobiography. “Playing with so many music icons, moving to Maui, searching for the Lost Continent of MU, and now over 400 songs published! I kept trying to finish the book but because of my live playing schedule, writing, recording and doing a regular TV show…it took years to finish!” Find out more about this legendary rocker on his website, and use the link below to buy a copy of Fankhauser’s Calling From A Star to get the whole story!

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