Fapardokly: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — January 22, 2022

327) Fapardokly — “Mr. Clock”

Forget Astrid Kirchherr, “Mr. Clock” is the ultimate expression of rock ‘n’ roll existentialism — from the perspective of a grandfather clock questioned as to whether it would have been better had the person that made it never made it at all.  The song also sounds very reminiscent of the New York Rock Ensemble’s “Mr. Tree” (see #40), except that “Mr. Clock” came first. Jason calls it “quirky” and a “successful foray[] into 1966 psychedelia.” (http://therisingstorm.net/fapardokly-fapardokly/); Mark Prindle calls if a “dark artsy arpeggiator” (http://www.markprindle.com/fapardokly.htm); and Kevin Rathert calls it “a mellow tune, with [the] drums . . . a perfect affectation of the track’s title, along with climbing bass . . . more gorgeous vocal harmonies, and coo coo bird sound effects providing a perfect ending.” (https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2017/06/fapardokly-fapardokly-1967-review.html). I find it enchanting.

Who was Fapardokly? Well, it was largely Merrell Fankhauser. As Richie Unterberger tells us in All Music Guide:

[T]here was never a group called Fapardokly;* the 12 songs on their self-titled album were recorded by Merrell & the Exiles, a Southern California [surf rock] group headed by legendary cult folk-rocker Merrell Fankhauser. That group cut several singles for the tiny Glenn label before heading off in a psychedelic direction and mutating into H.M.S. Bounty [see #10, 235]. The equally tiny UIP label decided to gather a few of the Glenn singles, add a few more psychedelically oriented tracks that Merrell and his group had recorded, and release the package as the work of . . . Fapardokly.

And the name? Merrell Fankhauser reveals its origin:

We got a gig at a little club in Pismo Beach [California] called ‘The Cove’. And we soon had a dedicated following, but we didn’t have a name for the band! I wanted to go in a more psychedelic direction and I sat down with a pen and paper and took the first two letters of the members last names and it came out FA (Fankhauser) – PAR (Parrish) – DO – (Dodd) KLY – (Dick Lee). FAPARDOKLY.**

https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2011/04/my-interview-with-merrell-fankhauser.html

The album is rightfully considered a classic. Unterberger says that “[a]lthough it was not recorded or intended as a unified work, [the album] stands as one of the great lost folk-rock classics of the ’60s.” Jason agrees, calling “[t]he whole album . . . a mini gem of mid 60s folk-rock.” Rather calls it “top flight from beginning to end.” What did Fankhauser think?

We thought some of the Fapardokly songs were great but [it] mixed several years of songs that were not in the correct order they were recorded in and we thought that was wrong, and we hated the weird picture on the back that Glen rushed us into a funky studio in Hollywood to shoot, and said that’s good . . . . We really didn’t think the album would do much, little did we know this album would become one of the most collectible and valuable albums of the 60’s. A sealed mint copy can still bring $1,000!

https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2011/04/my-interview-with-merrell-fankhauser.html

What happened next? Well, Fankhauser says it involved outlaw bikers (sort of like Angels Die Hard comes to life!) —

We just kept playing as Fapardokly at The Cove in Pismo and I took a few of the LP’s to producers and managers in L.A. One night a motorcycle club called Satan’s Slaves came into the Cove and took over. They made us play one of my new originals ‘Rich Mans Fable’ (later to be on the ‘HMS Bounty’ LP) for over a half hour, and ordered us not to stop till they told us. The owner of the club and the bar maids just stood scared behind the bar and watched this like it was a strange scene from a 50’s movie! When the motorcycle gang had their fun they backed a Harley up to the front door, revved it up and filled the place with smoke and roared off into the night . . . .

https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2011/04/my-interview-with-merrell-fankhauser.html

“Do you miss the box that you came in? Do you hate the cracks on the wall? Do you wish the person that made you never would have made you at all? Do you wish that no one would wind you? Are you tired of being so tall? Do you wish the person that placed you never would have put you in the hall? Do you, Mr. Clock? Do you, Mr. Clock? Do you, Mr. Clock? Do you, Mr. Clock? Sometimes wish you were a watch? Do you, Mr. Clock? . . . Feel hot when your main spring pops? Do you feel that people are staring? Do you wish old women would look? Do you find your pendulum hanging when they strike you with a library book?. . . Feel weak when you strike thirteen? Do you, Mr. Clock? . . .”

* which is sort of disputed by Fankhauser . . .

** Mark Prindle cheekily suggests that the name “successfully ensur[ed] that the band would remain every bit as obscure as The Beatles would’ve had they called themselves “LEMCCHAOSTAR”.” Hmmm, I don’t know. I think the Beatles would have done OK even if they had called themselves Epstein and the Four Blokes Who Will Like Each Other Until Yoko Won’t Take a Hint.

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