Wild Man Fischer
|Wild Man Fischer|
|Birth name||Larry Wayne Fischer|
|Born||November 6, 1944|
|Origin||Los Angeles, California|
|Died||June 16, 2011(aged 66)|
|Associated acts||Frank Zappa, Barnes & Barnes, Mark Mothersbaugh, Rosemary Clooney, Dr. Demento|
Larry Wayne Fischer (November 6, 1944 – June 16, 2011), better known as Wild Man Fischer, was an American songwriter in the outsider genre. He was notable for being responsible for Rhino Records' first release, Go to Rhino Records (1975) and was described as a 'cult figure'.
Early life and career
Born Larry Wayne Fischer in Los Angeles, California, United States, and attended Fairfax High School. Fischer was institutionalized at age 16 for attacking his mother with a knife. He was later diagnosed with two mental disorders, severe paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Following his escape from the hospital (he said no one ever bothered to take him back there), Fischer wandered Los Angeles singing his songs a capella for 10¢US each to passers-by. Discovered on the street by Frank Zappa, with whom he recorded his first album, Fischer became an underground concert favorite. Zappa was responsible for Fischer's initial foray into the business of recorded music, an album called An Evening with Wild Man Fischer, which contained 36 tracks, some of which contained minimal musical accompaniment, and others which were more or less shouted rants.
Zappa and Fischer eventually fell out with Zappa retaining the rights to the songs. Zappa's widow, Gail, has declined to release An Evening with Wild Man Fischer on CD due to her belief that it is not a high-quality example of her husband's work.
Throughout the 1980s, Fischer worked with Barnes and Barnes to produce two albums, Pronounced Normal (1981) and Nothing Scary (1984). In 1986, Barnes and Barnes also wrote and produced "It's a Hard Business", a duet featuring Fischer and Rosemary Clooney. The song was the result of a telephone friendship that began after Clooney heard Fischer's song "Oh God, Please Send Me a Kid to Love". In 1987, Fisher performed his only East Coast performances at the Mass College of Art and Design.
In 1999, Rhino released The Fischer King, a two-CD package comprising 100 tracks and a 20-page booklet, which sold out within weeks. The limited-edition album comprises his entire Rhino catalog, including the albums with Barnes and Barnes and Wildmania (1977), along with his duet with Clooney. Fischer also appears as guest vocalist with the noise band Smegma on their album Sings Popular Songs.
In 1998, Date with the Devils Daughter, an album by Robert Williams (a drummer formerly with Captain Beefheart) includes "Hello Robert", which consists of messages that Fischer left on Williams's phone.
In October 2004, Fischer appeared on ABC-TV's late-night talk/comedy show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He sang "Monkeys vs. Donkeys" while tapping on a backwards acoustic guitar, and also sat for a chat with the host, wherein he explained what it meant to have "the pep" (i.e., when the spirit is in him and he's singing happily).
In 2005, Josh Rubin and Jeremy Lubin, collectively known as The Ubin Twinz premiered their documentary about Fischer, entitled Derailroaded: Inside the Mind of Wild Man Fischer, at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. An Evening with Wild Man Fischer remains unreleased on CD. The awareness brought to Fischer by Derailroaded did, however, bring all three Rhino albums back in print on CD through Collectors' Choice Music.
Fischer made his final appearance on August 16, 2006, at the Trunk Space in Phoenix, Arizona.
After a paranoid six-month episode in which Fischer called Bill Mumy up to 20 times a day, hanging up each time, Mumy finally changed his phone number. After this, Fischer moved in with his aunt and later, finally moved into an assisted-living mental institution. The medications he was prescribed helped him control his behavior, but it also eliminated his creative drive.
Fischer died in Los Angeles, on June 16, 2011 due to heart problems.
- May 1968: Laminas (rare 7" 33rpm project of UCLA art students, three tracks by Larry, miscredited as "Fisher")
- 1968: An Evening with Wild Man Fischer, Bizarre Records
- 1975: "Go To Rhino Records" (single), Rhino Records
- 1977: Wildmania, Rhino Records
- 1981: Pronounced Normal, Rhino Records
- 1981: "Don't Be A Singer"/"I Got A Camera"/"Do The Salvo" (single), Rhino Records
- 1981: The First One ...(First -1), Special Limited Edition
- Monkeys Versus Donkeys, recorded Live at the Latino Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan January 26, 1979.
- 1981: "Larry Comes Alive" (7-inch EP), ATC Records
- 1983: Nothing Scary, Rhino Records
- 1999: The Fischer King, Rhino Records (compilation of all Rhino recordings)
- "California Births, 1905 - 1995". Familytreelegends.com. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- Cromelin, Richard (2011-06-18). "Larry 'Wild Man' Fischer dies at 66; vagabond singer made albums with Frank Zappa". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
- "R.I.P., Larry "Wild Man" Fischer, Frank Zappa's Discovery". San Diego Reader. 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "Wild Man Fischer: Outsider musician who was discovered by Frank Zappa but could never transcend his psychiatric disorders - Obituaries - News". The Independent. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- Eichhorn, Dennis P., J.R. Williams (w). The Legend of Wild Man Fischer (2004), Top Shelf Productions, ISBN 1-891830-61-9
- "Larry 'Wild Man' Fischer". The Daily Telegraph. 2011-07-08.
- Margalit Fox. "Wild Man Fischer, Outsider Musician, Dies at 66". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- The First One ... (FIRST-1) A.T.C. Records, Royal Oak, Michigan, 1981
- Wild Man Fischer, Outsider Musician, Dies at 66 Los Angeles Times obituary
- Wild Man Fischer, Outsider Musician, Dies at 66 New York Times obituary
- Derailroaded: Inside The Mind Of Wild Man Fischer a documentary.