Merrell Fankhauser talks about surf music and his “Tiki Lounge” DVDs

Merrell Fankhauser is one of the innovators of instrumental surf music. He recently released two volumes of “Tiki Lounge” DVDs and a new “Best Of” collection through Gonzo Multimedia. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Merrell about his music and his plans for the future.

Mike Gencarelli: There is a real lack of surf music in today’s music, how can you reflect?
Merrell Fankhauser: I still have been doing surf music, Mike. Disc jockeys and radio stations all across the United States and in Europe remember me from the hey-day of surf music. In the late 80’s there was a resurgence of surf music and what members were left from The Impacts we got together in ’89 and had an album come out in ’94 called “Surfin’ 101”. Then the movie “Pulp Fiction” came out and the label we were on re-issued our albums. I still get emails requesting more instrumental surf music. So “The Impacts” ended up doing three CD’s from late 80’s through the 90’s. So in 2000 I did one called “Rockin’ and Surfin'”. That led Volume 2 & Volume 3 in 2003 and 2004 and now I am working on Volume 4.

MG: What do you enjoy most about touring still today?
MF: I play with my son Tim now and I am producing his first solo album. We sing good harmony together. He is an awesome guitar player. We are having a lot of fun playing concerts. We recently got together with a band I used to play with The Rebels, who had the song “Comanche” in “Pulp Fiction”. We were totally rocking out. It was a real blast.

MG: Tell us about your recently released “Tiki Lounge” Vol.1 & 2 on DVD?
MF: I started out in 1991 doing a show called “California Music”. It was broadcast out of NY and it went out to 150 stations out of satellite. A lot of my old 60’s pals came out and we chatted and then jammed a little. I did that show till around 1995, since I was doing a lot of touring. But I had a lot of interviews in my archive. One day after coming back from Hawaii and touring with Willie Nelson, I looked out on my patio, which is a Tiki themed and I thought to myself “I should do a show called Tiki Lounge”…and that was 11 years ago, Mike. It is a laid back Hawaiian style show and there really isn’t anything like that out now.

MG: Tell us about working with Gonzo Multimedia and your recent “Best Of” collection?
MF: I owe a lot to the head of Gonzo Multimedia, Rob Ayling. It’s been really nice working with them. It was his idea to do the “Best of” collection. I have over 30 albums of material so I started going through them all. It was very difficult what to keep and what not to use. I found a few unreleased tracks in my archives on a few two-track recordings that I found. A lot of that ended up on the “Best of”.

MG: What do you have planned for 2012?
MF: I got releases on different labels coming out and scheduled well into next year. This summer, Gonzo is going to be be releasing “Area 51 Suite” album with bonus DVD”. At the same time, I have a song with drummer Ed Cassidy from Spirit. I have a song with him called “Two Guys from the 60’s” coming out on a Sky Saxon (of The Seeds) tribute CD box. I also got a Greek label that wants to put out a rarities with outtakes etc release together. So combine that with a lot of touring and my TV show, so I am keeping real busy!


Related Content

DVD Review “Merrell Fankhauser’s ‘Best Of Tiki Lounge’ Volumes 1 & 2”

Starring: Merrell Fankhauser
Best Of Tiki Lounge Volumes 1 & 2
Distributed by: Gonzo MultiMedia
1 DVD, 1 CD / Per Volume
DVD Running Time: 180 minutes / Per Volume
CD Running Time: 40 minutes / Per Volume

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Surf music legend Merrell Fankhauser has released two volume DVD’s with his ‘Best Of Tiki Lounge’.  Tiki Lounge is Fankhauser’s TV show and each volume contains three-hours for some of the best episodes of the series. The DVD’s really scream 90’s production, they are really low quality including the menus.  Obviously this was self-produced, so I will give it some leeway.  The interviews are definitely dated as well especially since these episodes aired along time ago.   Fans of Fankhauser though will enjoy the flashback to that period and his music with many cool guest stars.

Merrell Fankhauser is known best for being on the main innovators of surf music and psychedelic folk rock.  He was also the leader of the instrumental surf group The Impacts who had the international hit “Wipeout”. Merrell’s credits include over 250 songs published and released. The first volume includes the following episode content “Instrumental Surf Show”, “Merrell Fankhauser and Friends”, “Fast Cars and Rock and Roll”, “In Concert with Willie Nelson and Friends”. “Show with the Stars from the 50’s and 60’s” and “Spirit Tribute”. The second volume includes the following episode content “Road to Oregon”, “Nevada Desert Show (UFO Special)”, “A Night of Classic Rock”, “Mary Ramsey of 10,000 Maniacs”, “Rhino Event: L.A. Nugget’s Release”, “Fourth of July Show”.

The first volume is definitely my favorite of the two.  I am not a big fan of his UFO inspired work.  I do enjoy his surf music though quite a bit.  The DVD quality of the programs are very home video recordings but again, I am really listening for the music so I can give a little bit back.  Also these programs are from the 90’s, so there was obviously no high definition recording.  If each three hours volume DVD is not enough for you, the package also includes a 40-minute audio CD that has music from the Tiki Lounge program.

Tiki Lounge Volume 1 CD Tracks: 1. Tiki Lounge , 2. We Love Tikis , 3. Island Life , 4. Excited , 5. Race Night , 6. Stolen Guitar Blues , 7. Since I Don’t Have You , 8. Magic Chorus Line , 9. Lucille , 10. Dont Give Up The Rock .
Tiki Lounge Volume 2 CD Tracks: 1. Show 1 – Road Trip to Oregon , 2. Show 2 – Nevada Desert Show (UFO Special) , 3. Show 3 – Merrell Fankhauser and Friends: A Night of Classic Rock , 4. Show 4 – Mary Ramsey of ‘10,000 Maniacs’ , 5. Show 5 – Rhino Event For The Release of ‘Where The Action Is! L.A. Nuggets 1965-1968’ , 6. Show 6 – 2010 Fourth of July Show .

To purchase Merrell Fankhauser ‘Best Of Tiki Lounge’ DVDs