Music Reviews
Wild Man Fischer

Wild Man Fischer

Pronounced Normal

Collectors Choice Music/Rhino

It’s not easy getting a recording contract when you’re a manic depressive paranoid schizophrenic, even if you know Frank Zappa. Larry “Wild Man” Fischer wandered Hollywood Boulevard in the ’60s and hooked up with Mr. Zappa, appearing as a novelty act way back when. While Fischer needed help, the few bucks he received for meds seems exploitive and didn’t get him off the streets. After Zappa was done with him, Bill Mumy of Barnes and Barnes found Mr. Fischer, and recorded one of the landmark records of outsider music. The album has been re-released, and it’s still got some cool stuff on it.

What Wildman Fischer lacks in musical training he overcomes with enthusiasm. According to the liner notes, getting that enthusiasm was difficult, but it paid off. The title cut “Pronounced Normal” is a recitation of the short phases we surround ourselves with: close cover before striking, yield to pedestrians, no left turn, etc. “Don’t Be A Singer” is similar, listing all the things that are bad about the music business, and done in a less subtle way than say, Reel Big Fish. Another Standout is “Frank,” a reminiscence of his time in Zappa’s court (and Zappa apparently still has all Fischer’s recording rights sewn up.) There’s a Beach Boys and a Beatles cover, and collage of weird short sound bites called “The Bouillabaisse.” I can’t recommend listening to this disc straight through, but small bites of weirdness can keep you out of the padded cells.

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