Artists: Merrell Fankhauser/Fankhauser Cassidy Band

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Merrell Fankhauser/Fankhauser Cassidy Band Biography

Merrell Wayne Fankhauser (born December 23, 1943, Louisville, Kentucky, United States) is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist, who was most active in the 1960s and 1970s with bands including the Impacts, Merrell & the Exiles, HMS Bounty, Fankhauser-Cassidy Band, and MU. In addition, 12 songs recorded by Merrell & the Exiles were later released under the group name Fapardokly, even though that group never actually existed.

After moving to San Luis Obispo, California in his teens, he began playing guitar, and got his first break playing in movie theatres and talent shows. In 1960, after one of these shows, he joined a local band The Impacts as lead guitarist. Their Ventures-influenced sound developed a strong following at the start of the surfing scene. In 1962, they recorded an album, which was later released, without the band's knowledge, by Del-Fi Records, and which included a tune Wipe Out, which Fankhauser suggested later provided the (uncredited) basis of the hit by the Surfaris, although his view is contested.

Fankhauser left the band and moved to Lancaster, California. There he met Jeff Cotton (later of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band), and in 1964 they formed The Exiles. The band - which also included John "Drumbo" French - had some regional success with songs including Can't We Get Along, but then broke up. Fankhauser moved back to the coast, formed a new band, Merrell and the Xiles, and had a minor hit with Tomorrow's Girl in 1967. An album followed which included old Exiles songs and newer psych folk material. For the album the band was credited as Fapardokly, taking its name from the surnames of the original members - Fankhauser, Dan Parrish (bass), Bill Dodd (guitar) and Dick Lee of The Brymers (drums).

Despite its later cult acclaim, the album was not a success. Fankhauser and Dodd then formed another, more overtly psychedelic, band with Jack Jordan (bass) and Larry Meyers (drums), naming it HMS Bounty. They won a recording contract with Uni Records, and their self-titled album was released in 1968, followed by the single Tampa Run. However, success was again thwarted, by personal and record company problems, and the band split up.

Reuniting with Jeff Cotton in 1970, Fankhauser then formed MU. In 1971, their first album was released and became a radio hit. Increasingly fascinated by legends of the lost continent of Mu, Fankhauser then relocated to the Hawaiian island of Maui in February 1973. Material for a second MU album was recorded on Maui in 1974, but not released until the 1980s on the two LPs The Last Album (Appaloosa, Italy 1981) and Children Of The Rainbow (Blue Form, US 1985). Mu disbanded in 1975. Fankhauser recorded a solo album, Maui (1976), before returning to California in the late 1970s. All his 1970s recordings have been reissued repeatedly in the CD format.

Fankhauser continued to record, occasionally with friends including John Cipollina and more recently Ed Cassidy of Spirit in The Fankhauser Cassidy Band, as well as producing new surf albums credited to The Impacts. Fankhauser has also produced radio and TV shows such as his long-running Tiki Lounge.


Edward Claude "Cass" Cassidy (May 4, 1923 – December 6, 2012) was an American jazz and rock drummer who was one of the founders of the rock group Spirit in 1967.

Ed Cassidy was born in Harvey, Illinois, a rural area outside Chicago, on May 4, 1923. His family moved to Bakersfield, California in 1931. Cassidy began his career as a professional musician in 1937. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and after his discharge held many jobs before becoming a full-time musician again. At one time in the late 1940s, Cassidy played 282 consecutive one-nighters in 17 states. He worked in show bands, Dixieland, country and western bands, and on film soundtracks, as well as having a brief stint with the San Francisco Opera.

In 1950, Cassidy enrolled at college to get a musical teaching credential. However, after a year, he decided to move to Southern California to meet more jazz musicians and perhaps form a group of his own. During this period, Cassidy performed together with many leading jazz musicians including Art Pepper, Julian Cannonball Adderley, Roland Kirk, Lee Konitz and Gerry Mulligan.

With Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder, Cassidy formed the Rising Sons in 1964. After that, he formed the Red Roosters in 1965, with his young stepson Randy California, Jay Ferguson and Mark Andes. Adding John Locke, they became Spirit in 1967. Cassidy sported a shaved head, which was unusual at that time; always wore black; and instead of the double-bass drum kit that was popular at the time, he used a single bass drum, and two large parade bass drums as floor toms. Cassidy played with various line-ups of Spirit on almost 20 albums over almost 30 years, and, after Spirit finally disbanded following Randy California's death in 1997, also performed with Merrell Fankhauser.

From the mid-1970s, Cassidy also worked as an actor, including live improvisation. He wrote, studied history, and continued to correspond with fans from his residence in Southern California until his death. He died of cancer in San Jose at the age of 89 on 6 December 2012. He is survived by his wife, Beverly; a daughter, Carol Ann Griffith; a son Christian Padriack Cassidy; and several stepchildren and grandchildren.

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