R.I.P. Wild Man Fischer
Singer Larry Fischer, aka “Wild Man”, known as the “godfather of outsider music,” died on Wednesday at age 67. Discovered by Frank Zappa and notable for the first release on Rhino Records, Fischer was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who started singing his songs on the streets of Los Angeles before Zappa found him. He recorded 3 albums for Rhino until disappearing mostly throughout the 80s and 90s until the early 2000s when he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel and was the subject of a documentary titled “Derailroaded.” A truly bizarre American original.
From Rhino Records founder Richard Foos:
I wanted to let everyone know that this morning the spiritual godfather of Rhino “Wildman Fischer” passed away.
Wildman used to hang out at the Rhino store, So when we wanted to record a theme song for the store and press it on a 45 we had him make one up.
When we decided to record our first album the only fitting artist was Wildman. Somehow we managed to sell five thousand records which gave us enough money to release the next album.
Wildman’s creativity, passion and chutzpah to become as he would say “bigger than the Beatles”despite having a total lack of musical training, ability to keep a tune, and being schizophrenic symbolized the can do spirit we had in the early days of Rhino and fueled us on to never give up.
Wildman never achieved his goal of being bigger than the Beatles but his passion sparked a little label that has brought joy to millions and if nothing else 162 plus friends (in the ex-Rhino Clubhouse) who have a deep connection with each other that never would have existed.
Excerpts from “Derailroaded” documentary:
Fischer on the Jimmy Kimmel show:
Writer / photographer / Reviler co-founder