There is mainstream rock and roll, then there is Frank Zappa, then on the outer edge is Captain Beefheart, and finally beyond that is Wild Man Fischer.
Larry Wayne Fischer, 1944-2011, was schizophrenic, often homeless, intermittently hospitalized, an early crony of Frank Zappa, and one of the oddest and most eclectic practitioners of rock music to ever enter a recording studio.
His music follows a stream of consciousness approach rather than set structures. While some of the songs had structures and melodies develop over time, many did not. The material runs the gamut from catchy to annoying to funny to incomprehensible.
“The Mope” and “Merry-Go-Round” are about as accessible as Fischer gets, while tracks such as “Circle” are historically interesting for being backed by Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention. However, when you encounter performances such as “Monkeys vs. Donkeys,” “Wild Man On The Strip Again,” “Larry And His Guitar,” and “Why Am I Normal,” you realize that you have followed him to a rarely traveled place.
One negative aspect of the release is the sound quality is not a huge upgrade over the vinyl release, which is a shame given the remastering technology of today.
Zappa and Fischer would quickly go their separate ways, mainly because Zappa couldn’t deal with his idiosyncrasies. What they left behind is this documentary of not only Fischer the musician but also Fischer the person. It is probably one of the most personal albums you will experience but not always in a good way.
Wild Man Fischer was and remains a cult figure. His music was so far outside the commercial mainstream, that he had little success during his lifetime. While it is nice to have An Evening With Wild Man Fischer back in print, it is still a challenge nearly half-a-century later. Only for the brave or who want something really, really, and I mean really different.