Wild Man Fischer

His name is Larry.
*special introductory paragraph!
*An Evening With Wild Man Fischer
*Wild Man Fisher And Smegma Sing Popular Songs
*Pronounced Normal
*Nothing Scary
*The Fischer King
*Derailroaded: Inside the Mind of Larry “Wild Man” Fischer DVD

Larry "Wild Man" Fischer is a Los Angeles resident who suffers from manic depression and paranoid schizophrenia. But more importantly, he suffers from ROCK 'N ROLL PNEUMONIA!!!!! He was originally discovered by Frank Zappa in the 1960's as he wandered around the Sunset Strip offering to sing songs to people for a dime. He was then re-discovered by Rhino Records in the 1970's as he wandered around Dodgers Stadium selling peanuts and singing songs to the crowd. The reason that everybody kept discovering Wild Man Fischer is because he writes and sings exuberant songs (novelty, children's music, doo-wop, pop) in a gruff, ridiculously excited voice that sounds like a caveman. He apparently is very difficult to communicate with, veering constantly from jovial pride to intense depression to delusional self-importance to inconsolable paranoia, but his records present the best possible side of him and are often an oodle-boat of fun. He's best known for his a capella recordings, but - no matter how funny it is to hear him 'sing' his musical changes (ex. "Merry-Go, Merry-Go, Merry-Go-Round DOOT! DOOT! DOOT!") - I personally think his talents shine most brightly when backed by musicalness.

An Evening With Wild Man Fischer - Bizarre 1968
Rating = 5

Say, here's an idea. If you find a homeless, mentally ill man screaming songs on the street, DON'T RELEASE A DOUBLE-ALBUM BY HIM.

Frank Zappa had a great idea: release a diverse, entertaining snapshot of Wild Man Fischer's universe, including a solo studio singing session, a couple of tracks arranged for full band, tape snippets of a Sunset Strip performance, segments of dialogue to provide insight into his frazzled mind, and even a funny little roast-song performed for him by Kim Fowley and Rodney Bingenheimer. And that's great stuff,- all well-intentioned, humorous, fascinating and concise. But not if you drag it out for four fucking goddamned sides!!!

I apologize for cursing. Blue words indicate a small mind, and should only be used when absolutely necessary or funny. Which reminds me of a little conversation I had with my wife this morning:

ME: (looking at Henry The Dog asleep in his chair): "He's such a little angel."
MY WIFE: "I don't think angels are quite so gassy."
ME: "Then how do they float around like that?"

Yes, we're quite the Comedy Pear, my wife and me. But my point is that if that little conversation were 80 minutes long, you'd hardly want to listen to the whole thing, would you? Indeed NONE of us would! Which is why An Evening With Wild Man Fischer is such a bittersweet pill of a medication. And not only just because of its length: Frank also saw fit to cover the entire first side in stupid percussion noises clearly recorded after-the-fact and having no stylistic connection to the content at all!

But there's a larger problem too, and it's this: it apparently didn't occur to Frank Zappa that Wild Man might actually prefer some instrumental backing to support his shouty vocals. As much I love Wild Man Fischer, I don't necessarily want to hear him shouting a bunch of a capella songs in a sterile, empty recording studio. (For that matter, I wouldn't want to hear Mark E. Smith or Joey Ramone doing so either!) Just because Fischer can't play an instrument doesn't mean he envisions his music as a capella, and it's embarrassing that (aside from a few "novelty" exceptions) it took until his early '80s collaborations with Barnes & Barnes for somebody to realize this.

At any rate, Wild Man's songs at this point relied heavily on doo-wop convention - or maybe he just knew that Frank liked doo-wop so he chose to perform mostly in that style. But he also throws some other influences into the wrenchworks, including the bluesy "I'm Working For The Federal Bureau Of Narcotics," swingin' "85 Times," children's sing-songy "Merry-Go-Round" (which appears in whole or part about six thousand times during the course of the record) and hilarious Psych Workout "Circle," one of only two instances where Frank provides him with backing music. This song is probably the highlight of the entire album, with Larry gruffly shouting "How can I walk around your house like a circle without you knowing? I AM INVISIBLE!!!! YOU CAN'T SEE ME, BAY-BAY!!!!!!" as Zappa and cohorts play wah-wah drug music behind him. But enough about me, and my music.

But it's not all shits and giggles: a few pieces make it sadly clear that a good deal of psychic pain lies beneath Mr. Fischer's excited man-boy exterior. "The Wild Man Fischer Story" is a particularly harrowing track, as he (jokingly!?) recounts the key events of his young life, including his mother having him committed to a mental institution -- twice. The final track, "Larry Under Pressure," provides a further disconcerting glimpse of the manic singer as he suddenly falls into a depressive funk. Having witnessed this troubled side of the artist, it's difficult to understand why Frank Zappa would have posed him on the cover holding a knife up to an old woman portraying his mother. He obviously knew that Larry's first stint in the institution was a result of his threatening his real mother with a knife; his decision to make light of this psychological breakdown was something that Larry has questioned (and regretted) ever since.

Basically, there is one hell of a brilliant "outsider artist" album buried within this pile of tiresome, repetitive muck. Fischer's good humor doesn't always result in actual "good humor" (for example, the epic-length "Jennifer Jones" is a particularly uncomfortable 'comedy song' about a murder spree), but when he's just being himself, he can be surprisingly witty for a FRUITBAG NUTJOB PSYCHOTIC WEEOO WEEOO INSANES-A-LOT WEIRDO WHO'S A FEW BRICKS SHY OF A BRICK!!!

Reader Comments

Whatcha cookin'? Around the same time that this album was released, Fischer made an appearance on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In." If memory serves me correctly, he sang "Merry-Go-Round" and "The Leaves Are Falling," the latter tune to a puzzled Dick Martin. Martin seemed to sense that Fischer was crazy--he was a bit startled at Larry's "mmm-mmm, mmm, mmm-mmm-mmm-MMMM" sounds! But yeah, AN EVENING WITH WILD MAN FISCHER probably would have worked better as a single disc, although it did have some classic Fischer material (the two songs I mentioned above, as well as "I Looked Around You" and "Monkeys Vs. Donkeys"). As far as I know, Gail (Frank's widow) owns the rights to this album, and I don't imagine that she'll reissue it anytime soon. PEACE!

LARRY!!! Glad to see you got around to reviewing one of my all-time favorite guitarists. Instrumentals can get boring after a while, but man, that technique! Seriously though - "The Taster" (full band version) is a kickass song, and I always find myself singing "Merry Go Round" (also referenced in Zappa's "Lumpy Gravy") and "Cops and Robbers". This album' a neat artifact, but nowhere near as good as I'd hoped it would be after searching for it for 10 years. The dialogue bits with Kim Fowley and Rodney "Get off the Air" Bingenheimer are pretty tedious, and I like spoken word stuff. I gotta go back and listen to "Circle" again - for the life of me I can't remember that tune. But you know what they say about Wild Man Fischer - if you can remember one of his songs, then you probably weren't there.

Gotta love ol' Frank Zappa. Man, was he on a tear during this period. The Mothers had just released Uncle Meat. He'd just produced Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica. And along the heels of all that he stumbles upon Larry and figures let's do a double album of the whack job! So there ya have a total of 12 sides of insanity. It should tell us something about the late 60's, for good and for ill, that any of these albums ever saw the light of day.

If you think about it, this is a pretty disturbing recording. I always like The Taster, with it's early 60's throwback I-VI-IV-V chord structure and nice pop beat. Merry Go Round and Working for the FBN are other favorites here. But basically it's probably not mentally healthful to listen to this too often. That may have worked back in the day, but They will eat you alive for it now.

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Wild Man Fisher And Smegma Sing Popular Songs - Birdman 1997
Rating = 3

As you probably gathered by the spelling of his name, this isn't an official Wild Man Fischer album. To be fair, both the album cover artist and liner note writer Ace Farren Ford (of The Child Molesters!) remembered the "c," but since the name is spelled "Fisher" a full EIGHT TIMES between the back cover and the record label, let's assume that somebody important didn't give an ass's shit whether he/she spelled the man's name right.

Side one of the LP is a recording of Wild Man Fischer and a 'music collective' called Smegma dicking around in 1974-75. Larry sings two short original songs (less than a minute each), screams excitedly about his new band "Stigma" (apparently nobody had the poor taste to tell him the actual name of the band), and sings various lyrics to the same four boring doo-wop chords repeated over and over and over for SIXTEEN EXCRUCIATING MINUTES. And he's not on side two at all!

The problem is that Smegma is a band not actually composed of musicians. A couple of the guys supposedly can play, but from the sound of things, they're just a bunch of jokesters playing amateurish novelty music. They use pseudonyms like Ju Suk Reet Meate, Electric Bill, Dr. Odd and Cheez-it-Ritz, write masturbation odes like "Breakfast With Bananas" and "Auto Suk," and think that using hick Southern voices and singing off-key falsetto doo-wop vocals are an absolute gass. I'm not totally trashing them; to be honest, "Breakfast With Bananas" is a fun little jugband tune that would've fit perfectly on one of those great early Dr. Demento compilations (sample rhyme: "On our first official date, she was 17 days late!"). They also do a swingin' rendition of "When The Saints Go Marching In," helmed by somebody who actually can play the saxophone! But this is supposed to be a Wild Man Fischer album, and they don't do Jack Justice to him at all.

To be fair (again), NOBODY was doing Wild Man Fischer Jack Justice at this point of his career. Frank Zappa had washed his hands of the man after the Wild Man threw a bottle at baby Moon Unit, and Rhino Records wouldn't resurrect him for another couple of years. So it's not like Smegma was taking advantage of him or anything; they were fans who liked his first album and thought it would be great to play a jam with him. And considering how little they give him to work with, he doesn't do a bad job! His album-opening Excitement Shouting is hilarious, especially when you listen closely and notice that the other band members are just stoically mumbling to each other about equipment issues. He then begins the set by singing "Midnight Train To Georgia" before eventually moving on (after about 7 hours of the same four chords) to an impromptu ad lib around the lyric "I used to be a rock and roll star...." Seems sad, but his hopes are still high: "I will be the biggest rock star of the '80s! You'll have to pay five dollars just to see me!" Interesting foreshadowing of his Rhino career, but not interesting enough to spend 16 minutes with. The band should have considered changing chords. There are some good ones!

Of historical note, he debuts his later Rhino tune "Jimmy Durante" on here. It's one of his weaker songs though -- "Jimmy Durante is coming to town, coming to town, coming to town. Jimmy Durante is coming to town, coming to town, coming to town (repeat)" -- so unless you're a history buff, you may want to pass it a go.

Of personal note, as I was playing side two of this album last week, my wife made such remarks as "This is the worst shit you've ever played" and "How bad does something have to be before you just turn it off and give it a 1?" and "If you keep listening to garbage like this, you're not going to have any ear cells left!"

Smegma has never much appealed to my wife, to be honest. This one time I iced an entire cake with the head of m

No hang on! This gets interesting!

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Wildmania - Rhino 1977
Rating = 6

You know what this is? This is the VERY FIRST album that Rhino Records ever released! And a more auspicious debut has never a record label claimed. I will now print for you the entire lyrics of "I Light The Pilot" as excitedly shouted by Larry Fischer with no musical backing on this, the first album that Rhino Records ever released:

(makes 'pilot-lighting' noise)

Yes, Wild Man Fischer is back and none the worse for the wearier. Thank you Rhino Records for rescuing this strange soul if only for a few years. Unfortunately, he's still getting hardly any musical support at all. Though he's sounding more like a big lovable cookie-eating Muppet than ever, producer Harold Bronson only brings in a backing band for four songs (out of 19!): the great '60s-y dance tune "Do The Wildman," godawful sloth-funk "Disco In Frisco" and covers of Frank Sinatra's "Young At Heart" and Jimmy 'Handy Man' Jones' "Handy Man." The rest of the release finds ol' Gravel-Mouth singing a capella songs of varied quality (the best by far being his new signature tune "My Name Is Larry") either in the studio or live in the stands at Dodger Stadium. It's still a step up from the last two records though, if only because it's not a double-album and Smegma doesn't appear on it.

Also, there are some terrific pieces of humor on this album: 'George Harrison' offering an original song to Larry; 'Barry White' performing "My Name Is Barry"; 'Bob Dylan' performing "My Name Is Bob"; Larry grabbing a guitar away from a light-speed jazz noodler in order to run his flappy hand over the open strings like a nincompoop; and one of the most clever 'songs' he's ever performed, "I'm A Truck" (in which a truck picks up a little boy hitch-hiker, who turns on the radio to hear the latest hit single -- the very song in which he is currently appearing!). But too many of the actual 'songs' simply don't resonate -- little shouty things that either sound just like "My Name Is Larry" or wander haphazardly all over the scale.

So let's talk about "My Name Is Larry," the first Wild Man Fischer song I ever heard. If you don't know anything about Mr. Fischer, the song comes across as straight-up comedy. But if you do, this is another key occasion where his pain creeps into the lyrics regardless of his big goofy delivery. The song, which is essentially three minutes of Larry naming and greeting various family members, includes such bittersweet lines as these:

"Hi Mother! Hi-i! I love you, Mother! I'll always love you, Mother!"

"Hi Grampa! Remember Grampa, when we used to go over to the house, and you wouldn't let me come into the kitchen with the rest of the family? Remember that, Grampa? 'Listen Larry. You be a nice boy - and stay away from us.'"

"I am a certified public accountant. And my brother Larry is the worst singer - one of the worst singers there ever was."


Now let's talk about birkenstocks. Aren't they sexy? GOD, whenever I see a birkenstock I just wanna MAKE LOVE to it! Thank you so much, the Germans, for developing this gorgeous, erotic piece of footwear!

No hang on! You know what's even seXXier than a Birkenstock? A DOCKSIDER! GOD, whenever I see a docksider a little bone shoots up into my ding-dong and turns it into a "boner"! Light grey, beige - hell, I don't care! As long as it has a supple deerskin lining and sultry triple-density footbed, I'll plan a sensuous meal with that docksider and suck its SHOE-DICK when the evening's t

Too late. I saw a pair of cargo shorts and reached my crisis.

Reader Comments

Whatcha cookin'? My introduction to Larry came about when I first heard "My Name is Larry" on the Dr. Demento show. It made the Doc's "Funny Five" constantly during the early-to-middle 1980's'. Besides that, my favorites are "Do The Wildman" (the side 1 version, with the timely reference to Shaun Cassidy, who was the "it" singer with teenybopper females in 1977-78), "Who's Your Favorite Singer?" (Larry tells a Dodger Stadium spectator, "don't throw anything at me!"), "I'm A Truck" (if trucks could talk, they might very well sound like Larry, and that's a compliment) "Guitar Licks" ("Alvin Lee's got nothin' on this guy," says Larry), "Young At Heart," ("we're not trying to be perfect!"), and "Disco In Frisco" (the slower, wah-wah guitar version on side 2). Larry's screaming "Get DOWN and DISCO DOWWWWNM! Get down and BOOGIE! WHOOOOO!!! Huh-huh! YEAAAAAHHHH!!!" is so demented it's hilarious, especially considering the fact that around the time WILDMANIA came out, disco was reaching its' oversaturation point in the media. This, of course, led to the "disco sucks" backlash of 1979. "I must be a bisco, to be going to a disco" indeed! Guess even Larry had the sense to know that disco was ultimately a limited genre!

But yeah, as you said on your AN EVENING WITH... review, a little bit of the a cappella Larry goes a long way, and I find that to be even more so on this album than on the Zappa productions. "I Light The Pilot" is cool in a minimalist way, but some of the other unaccompanied songs ("Josephine," "I'm The Meany," and "I'm Selling Peanuts For The Dodgers," to name three) just don't have enough going for them in terms of "hummability" the way the better unaccompanied songs on AN EVENING WITH... did. Consequently, they come off tedious rather than amusing. In my opinion, Larry didn't master (relatively speaking) the unaccompanied song form until he hooked up with Barnes & Barnes (or maybe they just picked the best ones for the albums, and left off any duds). At any rate, this is a decent album to pick up if you're a Larry fan, but I would probably make it a later purchase. PEACE!


Yes, another winner for Larry. The bits from Dodger Stadium are also tons of fun. Also "Do the Wildman", which of course made Larry a household name. And "My Name is Larry" which made Larry's name a household mainstay. I didn't know this was the first ever Rhino release! Good trivia, that.

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Pronounced Normal - Rhino 1981
Rating = 8

Here's a great story about me and my cultural bagaggggeg. This morning I was walking Henry The Best Dog In The World to Central Park to sniff some urine when I saw in front of me a short school bus that had been half-assedly painted black (with like wall paint or tar or something) and had the name "Tony Metal" written on the back. Because of my cultural baggaggaaagae, my mind immediately thought, "What kind of East Village buffoon drug addict buys a used Tardmobile, paints it with shoe polish, then writes the pathetic pseudonym 'Tony Metal' on the back doors?" I didn't think these mean things on purpose; it was just all a flashing, fleeting thought based on cultural baggaaggaggeag left over from my judgmental '20s. After that four-second period, I reverted to good old Free-Thinking '30s Prind and thought, "I gotta see this guy! What does 'Tony Metal' look like? I must know!" As I scooted forward, I noticed a trio of Hispanic blue collar workers standing in front of a parking space into which, as it turns out, 'Tony Metal' was trying to parallel park. "Hmm," I wondered. "Why are these workmen waiting for Tony Metal? Are they all going to kick some ass together?" It must have been right around this time that I noticed the side of the bus for the first time. On its door was written an address.

An address for "Tony's Metal."

Then the Tony's Metal employees got to work, delivering metal or picking up metal or whatever it is they do, hardly kicking any ass at all.

But my point is that if you try to judge a person's character based on other people you've met in your life, you're probably going to be wrong. So throw that baggage away and buy some new luggage!

Perhaps you're familiar with Barnes & Barnes of "Fish Heads" fame. If so, you'll be thrilled to hear that they worked with Wild Man Fischer on his second and third Rhino releases. What this means is that Larry's hilarious, primitive shout-melodies are now backed by ironic Trans Am-esque synthesizers and drum machines. And this winning combination is worth a million bucks in gold! Or, alternately, a billion gucks in mold.

From the very first song, it's clear that this is going to be the most advanced and entertaining Wild Man Fischer album yet. Over a cold funky synth-beat, Larry "raps" (gruffly shouts) a collection of meaningless phrases, all of which culminate in "PRONOUNCED NORMAL!" It's both low-brow and high-brow at the same time, sounding like Kraftwerk after their singer has had half his brain removed in an operation. And this attitude/sound/atmosphere pervades for most of the next 21 tracks (there are 6 or 7 WMF solo pieces, but they're short). Finally Wild Man is paired with a production team that not only loves his songwriting but has the quirkiness to match his idiosyncracy and the talent to make it sound musical!

Take "My Sweet Little Cathy," for example. This song begins as another 'whatever' Wild Man Fischer shout-sing song that could have been on the Zappa album for all its uniqueness. But then slowly, over the course of three minutes, Barnes & Barnes bring in gentle guitar strumming, a very pretty organ line, and even dramatic (faux) strings -- until by the end of the song, you're singing along and wondering, "When did this idiot become such a savant?" It's a BEAUTIFUL song! "Oh why did she go? Oh, I'll never know!" And this is probably how he heard it in his head all along; he just didn't have the musical skills to bring his vision to fruition. Good old Billy Mumy of Lost In Space fame and the other guy.

And although Wildy hasn't become an emo artist or anything, he is definitely tackling some more personal issues this time around, including his jealousy of Frank Zappa ("Frank"), his disappointment with the world ("Talking," "It's A Money World") and his creepy paranoia that 'the music business' is taking advantage of him ("Don't Be A Singer," "Watch Out For The Sharks"). Luckily, he expresses these internal pressures with all the shouty over-excitement that we've come to expect and love.

Not every song is backed by full music; often the producers simply set Wild Man against an ambient backdrop or electronic beat and let him roll. But this is enough to differentiate the material from the repetitive "Guy Shouting" feel of his earlier records. This time, he actually sounds "produced," and it works for him quite well! As for the actual music, you've got your groove jazz ("It's Nice To Have Things," in which WMF names various things that it's nice to have), your dreamy synth chords ("Frank"), and lovely covers of The Beatles' "Yesterday" and Beach Boys' "In My Room" (the latter as personal a song for WMF as it was for Brian Wilson). You've also got an uproarious a capella cover of "Fish Heads" itself, evidence that as much as WMF may have appreciated the support of Barnes & Barnes, he certainly didn't know how their song went!

I'll end today's missile with a few lyrics contained herein:

"In a wordless world where nothing gets said/No one tells you to get out of bed"

"Do you know what I mean? Yeah! Doomp!"

"I think about him all the time/You could say he's on my mind/Frank's got money in the bank!"

"I'm gonna really righteous/Kick your feet in chi-sis" (!?)


"Doot doot da doot!"

"I feel depressed."

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Nothing Scary - Rhino 1984
Rating = 8

Well, it's another superlative outing for B&B and WMF. By the way, it's a good thing he didn't go by the name 'Wild TURD Fischer,' because then his initials would be 'WTF!?!' This is also why it's good he didn't go by the name 'Gary Orenthal Frank Ulysses Charlie Kent Yam Optigan Underwearnose Rod Stewart Elevators Lollipop Fred.'

Man aliveboard am I tired. People often stop me on the escalator and say, "Hay Mark, how do you manage to write so many record reviews?" Well, truthfully I write most of them while sleeping. That's why they're so dreamy! Unfortunately I'm awake now, and everything's so bright.

This album features a ludicrous 34 tracks, 14 of which are shorter than one minute long. Furthermore, only three of these 34 tracks reach the two-minute mark, which keeps things moving along entertainingly, the duller bits over before you realize they've started. Barnes & Barnes again provide synth/drum (and occasional guitar) accompaniment for about half of the songs, leaving the others either percussion-only, ambient or silent. Several of WMF's catchiest, poppiest songs are included so get ready to sing along with the kiddie klassiks "Don't Ever Get Mad At Me" ("Don't ever get mad at me! I'll never get mad at you! Because we are friends, and we'll always be friends!") and "Ping Pong Ball Head" ("I got a head like a ping pong ball! I wish I didn't have a head like a ping pong ball!") a musical re-recording of An Evening With...'s "I Looked Around You," and the sing-songy yet adults-only "Scotty's Got A Cake" (surely Barnes or Barnes is the one responsible for lyrics like "Giving beef injections will make the girls full and relieve the minor tensions of the day"!).

Unfortunately, his real life psychological pain is clearly getting worse (this would indeed be his final full-length recording), and the same old issues keep coming up over and over again:

- "Derailroaded": Paranoia... "I have been derailroaded, derailroaded by everyone. They are liars and they are thieves and they left me to stand around like a derailroaded FOOL!"

- "Larry And The New Wave": Failed relationships (specifically, with The Go-Go's, Germs and Geza X)... "Friends for a while, maybe friends again..."

- "One Of A Kind Mind": Manic self-delusion... "When you've got as much talent as me, everybody will be afraid of you! They will want to run away from you, because they want to be as talented as you! But they never can and they never will!"

- "Music Business Shark": More paranoia... "Never walk alone with a music business shark behind you. He will steal your songs! Never walk alone! Walk around with a pair of scissors so you can stab him in his hand, so he won't reach you!"

- "I Worry About My Friends": Schizophrenia... "Sometimes I worry because I'm afraid they'll wind up like me, in their room, locking the door, afraid to go outside."

- "Oh God, Please Send Me A Kid": Feelings of failure... "I wanna raise a kid and raise him different from me! I've made so many mistakes, and he will correct all my mistakes for me!"

- "Back In Time": Painful memories... "Mother, I love you!" "No you don't! All you ever do is go in your room and do NOTHING! You're a NOTHING and you'll ALWAYS BE A NOTHING!"

- "Pep": More schizophrenia... "Without pep, you are nothing but a little paranoid schizophrenic hide-in-your-room person."

- "You're A Liar And A Thief": Even more paranoia... "You steal my heart and soul/You promise me a pot of gold/And then you steal every dream I ever had!"

There are some lighter songs, and even the disturbing ones are generally set against whimsical backdrops, but Fischer's mental imbalance is still much, much more tangible on this record than on any of his others. And not just in the lyrics either: his compositions are shorter and less 'song-like' than ever, his screams are angrier and more deranged (even when discussing a topic as harmless as "Big Boots"), and the track "Wild Man Fischer Records" may be the most disturbing example of 'manic behavior' ever captured on Recording Disc. In an interesting ironic twist, "Outside The Hospital" -- the song that musically and vocally sounds most like a serious examination of his condition - actually positions Larry as a doctor!

So if you're in the mood for a psychological breakdown disguised as a novelty album, be sure and purchase the pustules out of Nothing Scary!


Best track: "Larry In Las Vegas" is a work of genius, with Barnes & Barnes bringing WMF's greatest show business dream to life through the wonders of overdub. If only those riotous crowd cheers were real, maybe his record-ending promise of "more albums to come that'll make this album look like a piece of nothing" would not have remained unfulfilled. :7(

I'm sorry if I depressed you with that colon, seven and left parenthese.

Reader Comments

This is such a great album. It really does have a lot of disturbing songs. That moment at the end of "Sometimes I Worry About My Friends" when he starts to cry is just so sad. On the other hand, you've got lighter classics like "I Got a Camera" and "My Friend Robert" ("My friend Robert won't talk to me at 7 AM in the morning! KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK! ROBERT!! ROBERT!!!"). This was my first Fischer album and it's still my favorite.

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The Fischer King - Rhino Handmade 1999
Rating = 7

I'm drunk so let's make this snappy.

This double-CD features all three of Rhino's WMF CDs, along with 25 bonus tracks. Unfortunately, the 25 bonus tracks are mostly bullshit that they threw on there so the double-disc set would have exactly 100 tracks. There are some over-the-phone greetings from the man himself, some alternate mixes of album tracks that sound exactly like the album tracks, and lots of a capella bullshit that isn't very good. The only really great must-have bonus on here is "It's A Hard Business," a terrific bouncy pop duet with Rosemary Clooney, whose pussy George Clooney was all up once.

One thing I wanted to address here though is that occasionally Wild Man Fischer would get so excited that his voice would crack really highwards and unpleasantly -- this happens a lot in his first Rhino snigle "Go To Rhino Records," as well as other songs like I can't remember

Here are some interesting things from the bonus tracks:

Two very long and boring recordings of Wild Mam Fishstick singing his wares at Dodgers Stadium, including people in the crowd saying, "Is he nuts?" "No, he's nice!" "He's always working."

WMF running back and forth while singing a song called "I Got A Camera."

The rhyme "Be a galvo; do the salvo."

A piece of shit duet with Dr. Demento.

A cover of "Teen Age Idol."

The lyric "I'm sorry Frank Zappa if I threw a bottle at your wife."

"Last Man In The City," followed by WMF pointing out how fucking boring a song it is (and it IS)

WMF yelling at a dog over the phone.

Another song where his voice cracks a lot now that I remember -- "Flaming Carrot Theme Song"

Yes, we've all got a big dick here today, but the important thing is to realize that this double-CD has been out of print since the minute it came out and I foolishly sold my copy on eBay after making CD-R copies when I should have saved it and sold it today for a fifteen billion dollar salary.

Wild Man Fischer is one of those guys like Chevy Chase whose work I just love but who is apparently a complete disaster to meet in real life. But at least Fischer has a valid reason; he's mentally ill. Chevy Chase is just mentally a douchebag.

And what's up with "Fergilicious"? Exactly what does the word "Fergie" have in common with the word "Delicious"? It's basically like saying that Larry Hagman is "Hagilicious." If you want to make sense, say "Prindle-icious."

Also, what's up with assholes? Putting their chink wheat gluten in dog food and killing them. Fuck you, dog food assholes!

I'm a gargle teet.

Reader Comments

Djounedou Lynch
Larry I'm afraid parlays his mental illness into something far greater than what is organically there. From much personal experience I can tell you that he is an emotional and financial vampire. Give him a little, he will attempt to take it all. His 'art' is not as innocent as it appears, and in fact like most paranoids, he is cunning, conniving and potentially dangerous to the mental health of those around him.

I too had a very soft spot in my heart for An Evening With for many many years. Once I got to know the man, I swore I would never listen again.

It is truly hard to tell whether Zappa exploited Fischer, because from my experiences with the guy (along with others I have known) it seems just as likely Fischer exploited Zappa.

Not much in the way of musical content here, but there's not much in the way of musical content in Larry. I prefer Pringle (and his smelly ass).

All my best Mr. P!

darkstr1746@comcast.net (John Duval)
I met Wildman Fischer in the summer of 1971 at a music store in Porrtland Oregon. He blew into the store screaming and beating the crap out of this poor guitar. He slammed the thing down on the counter and looked at me and said, "does this thing sound ok?" For fifteen minutes we listened to Larry wax profound on stuff that we didn't understand. He was totally wacked and totally lovabel. I'll never forget it.

Now that my life has mostly passed and i recount stories of the bands i've played in and the big name acts i've opened for, i generally get greeted with yawns. But when i say that i've actually met and talked with Wildman Larry Fischer, peoples mouths drop open and they ask me for my autograph. No joke.

Growinjim@comcast.net (Max)
Hello Prindle,

I just saw the movie "Derailroaded" . I think Larry was taken advantage of by the same people that made this movie and produced his records. I also think Zappa took advantage of him.

My favorite song of his ,which I did not see listed, is' Sorrento Beach is a wild beach.' Also the ex-wife new him from her old neighborhood on Orangegrove St. near Fairfax in L.A. She said he always did the same stuff even as a child.

John Hawkley
Growing up in L.A. in the 60's, I often saw Wild Man Fischer on the street corners in Hollywood usually on Sunset Bvld. He was as everyone says, playing songs for 10 cents. He had a piece of cardboard "sort of" shaped like a guitar with some strings drawn on it. His favorite song to repeat, and one that has always stuck in my head seamed to be" Merry Go Round". I later saw him play some shows with Zappa and the Mothers at the Shrine auditorium. Wildly entertaining and totally out there! Obviously crazed and cool as hell too.

Add your thoughts?

* Derailroaded: Inside the Mind of Larry “Wild Man” Fischer DVD – MVD/Ubin Twinz Productions 2011 *
Rating = 10

This excellent 2005 film gives you everything you could possibly want or expect from a “Wild Man” Fischer documentary, and sugarcoats nothing. The filmmakers do a brilliant job of creating a funny yet tragic narrative through music, archival footage and recent interviews with friends, enemies, family and “Wild Man” himself. In doing so, they make it brutally clear why, as charming and funny as he can be, he inevitably alienates anybody who tries to befriend him. As a result of his manic depression and paranoid schizophrenia, to quote his brother David, “He’s unpredictable, and he gets on your nerves!”

Interviewees include Mark Mothersbaugh, Barnes & Barnes, Dr. Demento, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Gail Zappa, Solomon Burke (who gave Larry his “Wild Man” nickname!), Larry’s brother David and friends ‘Freak’ and ‘Fugly the Klown,’ Songs in the Key of ‘Z’ author Irwin Chusid, Real Stuff comic book writer Dennis Eicchorn, a psychologist of some sort, and Rhino Records founders Harold Bronson and Richard Foos. Almost all of them have disturbing stories to tell about their interactions with Mr. Crazy Pants, usually involving insane paranoid rages. Example: Fischer heard Yankovic’s “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead,” misheard the line “Like wow man, can you relate?” as “Like ‘Wild Man,’ can you relate?” and became obsessed with the idea that “Weird Al” was plotting to kill him. (In the film, “Weird Al” assures the viewer that this was not the case!)

The doc also includes archival footage of Larry throughout the different periods of his life, including childhood (when, according to his brother, he had no friends and spent most of his time singing in his room), the Zappa ‘60s (including a rare, awful semi-duet between the two!), the Rhino ‘70s and the Barnes & Barnes ‘80s. It’s intriguing to watch his looks change from youthful freak to mustachioed loser to unkempt bearded old man as his grizzly caveman voice remains the same.

However, what’s most intriguing (and most controversial) is the present day footage of Fischer, a disturbing mixture of boastful mania, bitter depression and unnerving paranoia that perfectly illustrates everything the other interviewees have said about him throughout the film. Some viewers have accused the filmmakers of exploiting his fragile mental state in order to make a more gripping movie, but honestly – if you’re going to make a documentary about “Wild Man” Fischer, you have to interview him. And this fragile, panicked and angry man is who he is.

SPOILER: It has a bittersweet ending.

If you have any interest at all in “Weird Man” Yankofisch, you must see this film. The revelations are many, and the final scenes will leave you demanding a Five-Year Update.

SPOILER: I pooped in your sock drawer.

Wait no, that was a SOILER.

Which reminds me: you know that Pink Floyd song “Hey You”? I found the original demo the other day and you wouldn’t believe it – Roger Waters originally sang the final verse like this:

“Hey Jude
A song by Paul McCartney
Sounds so good, it makes me fartney
Can you smell me?

Hey Jude
He plays it on piano
Hawaii Five-0, ‘Book him Danno’
Can you smell me?

Hey Jude
The ending goes ‘Na-na-na-naaaa-aaaaa-aaaall!’
Together we stand
Come suck on my balls! (My balls! My balls! My balls! My balls! My balls!)”

Can you believe it!? And then he went and CHANGED everything! That whole bit about breaking bottles, who needs it? Who needs ANY of it? Bring back the original lyrics, Roger! Do it for your father, who I have it from reliable sources died in the war!

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My name is Mark Prindle! My name is Mark Prindle! I have a web site! Its name is "Mark's Record Reviews"! Hi, web site! Hi-i! I love you, web site! I'll always love you, web site!