Fischer, Wild Man - Derailroaded: Inside The Mind Of Larry Wild Man Fischer
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In this shocking and sensitive exploratory journey through the thunderstorms of the mind of paranoid-schizophrenic Larry "Wild Man" Fischer, we follow his discordant encounters in the music business. Institutionalized at 16 after attacking his mother with a knife, Fischer wandered the mean streets of L.A. singing his unique brand of songs for 10 a pop to passersby. He was discovered by Frank Zappa, with whom he cut his first record album, including the enduring dada rock classic 'Merry Go Round'. A precursor to punk, Fischer became an underground club and concert favorite, earning him the title of "godfather of outsider music." In his 40 year career, he has performed constantly, was the first artist ever recorded on Rhino Records, was on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, had a top hit on the UK Pop Charts, was the subject of his own comic book, became a mainstay on the Doctor Demento Show , and even sang a duet with the late Rosemary Clooney.
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Top Customer Reviews
All-in-all, an excellent portrait of a troubled soul, balancing both the praise for his creativity with the hard facts of his mental illness. The final shot of the film, saying he lost his "pep" in 2004 when the assisted living home started medicating him to control his bipolar manic depression, pretty much matches his obituary in 2011. Nothing happened in the last seven years of his life -- which is both good for Larry and sad for the rest of us.
Larry was part of the troupe of independent rock artists that comprised Frank Zappa's independent label Bizarre/Reprise. Thus the documentary gives you some views into the late 1960's Los Angeles scene.
Larry's infectious sing-songs about his personal miseries have a childish charm, and you get to see many performances spanning over 3 decades, from street-side to a bit on "Laugh In". Larry's mental illness was tragic, and its debilitating effects on him are amply demonstrated in this video.
If you have a warm spot in your heart for the wild man, this video is for you.
"Derailroded - Inside the Mind of Larry "Wildman" Fischer" is an incredible documentary taking the viewer on an extremely candid excursion into the mind of a manic-depressive-paranoid-schizophrenic, and his 15 minutes plus nearly 20 years of fame.
Discovered by Frank Zappa in 1965, performing his "Outsider" brand of music, Larry Fischer"An Evening with Larry "Wildman" Fischer". After seeing this documentary, I immediately started surfing the web in search of something from that record to listen too. What I found only helped to confirm Mr. Fischer's notoriously enjoyable brand of music. was lured into the studio to record the Zappa produced
According to Mr. Fischer, simply put, he was promised that Mr. Zappa was going to make him a rock star. However, the record only sold about 12,000 copies. Hardly rock star numbers.
Mr. Zappa maintained through out the years that he only told him they would make a record and that he would be happy if it sold a moderate amount, which it did.
Fischer is bitterly angry at the entire ordeal and actually shuts down at the mere mention of Mr. Zappas's name. Mr. Zappa is long gone, so everything is open to speculation. Had it not been for an incident where Fischer, in one of his unpredictable moments, apparently threw a bottle, narrowly missing Zappa's toddler, Moon Unit. If not for this incident, Fischer may have gone much further, but no one will ever know.
Barnes & Barnes (Robert Haimer and Bill Mumy) of "Fish Heads" fame later noticed "Wildman's" unique brand of song and spent the next 21 years trying to help someone who was completely unwilling, or perhaps a more objective way to put it, unable to help himself with his mental instabilities.
As the documentary explains, Mr. Fischer could only create when he was in his "pep"; In other words, when he was on one of his highs he was unstoppable at his creativity. The words to his songs came in floods, but when the "pep" was gone, everything stopped. He literally shut down.
In addition, he refused medication, so his highs would be short lived at best, and his lows frighteningly dark and dismal, resulting in extreme unpredictability.
No one other than his elderly Aunt Josephine would take him in. He made nearly everyone else in his family extremely uncomfortable. As his older Brother David puts it, "He would rapidly get on your nerves". It would often get to the point of tempers flaring, creating the potential for danger. After all, he had come at some of them with a butcher knife on more than one occasion, and at least once at his own mother. Mr. Fischer was utterly convinced that she hated him.
In the documentary, there is an abundance of archival footage consisting of home movies from when he was a child to footage of him on the streets of LA performing his music for a dime. There is footage of his last performance in 2001 with him and his acoustic guitar (which he merely strums-no chords, or uses it as a percussion instrument) performing all the "Wildman" classics.
It also paints a frighteningly stark picture of his descent into his untreated mental illness. This man never chose to live on the streets. The streets of LA were the only location that was willing to accept him. The viewer literally witnesses Mr. Fischer decompensating right before your eyes.
The documentary was directed by Josh Rubin and has appearances from Robert Haimer , Bill Mumy (AKA Banes & Barnes), Solomon Burke, Mark Mothersbaug (Devo's front man), Barry "Dr. Demento" Hansen, Weird Al Yankovic, Mr. Fischer's older brother David Fischer, and several experts on Mr. Fischer's mental illnesses.
This film is a must see for any audiophile or music historian or, anyone who would like to learn more or who is remotely curious, about debilitating mental illnesses.
It will certainly haunt this reviewer for quite some time.