RIP: Larry “Wild Man” Fischer, outsider musician

RIP: Larry "Wild Man" Fischer, outsider musician

From The New York Times:

Wild Man Fischer, a mentally ill street musician who became a darling of the pop music industry in the 1960s and as a result enjoyed four decades of strange, intermittent and often ill-fitting celebrity, died on Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 66.


A singer-songwriter, Mr. Fischer was sometimes called the grandfather of Outsider music, but he was an outsider even by Outsider standards.

His voice was raspy and very loud. There was little tune to his melodies, and his lyrics had the repetitiveness and seeming simplicity of nursery rhymes. His singing, typically a cappella, was punctuated by vocal effects like hooting, wailing and shouting.

Whether Mr. Fischer was a naïve genius whose work embodied primal truths, or simply a madman who practiced a musicalized form of ranting, is the subject of continuing debate.

But he attracted — and retains — a cult following, which over time has included well-known figures in the music business. Among them were Frank Zappa, who produced Mr. Fischer’s first album; the child actor-turned-musician Bill Mumy; the radio host Dr. Demento; and the singer Rosemary Clooney, with whom Mr. Fischer recorded a duet.

• Wild Man Fischer: