Film Reviews

Derailroaded: Inside The Mind Of Larry “Wild Man” Fischer

Larry Fischer
Derailroaded: Inside The Mind Of Larry “Wild Man” Fischer

Take a wild ride inside the creative, paranoid schizophrenic, bipolar mind of “the godfather of outsider music.” The troubled life and “derailroaded” music career of mad genius Larry Fischer (dubbed “wild man” by Solomon Burke) are explored with love, compassion and sensitive humor. Josh Rubin and Jeremy Lubin artfully weave together archival film (some 8mm shot by songwriter/producer Russ Titelman), TV clips, concert footage, animation, fantastic “motion graphic” pieces, insightful interviews, a “Wild Man” soundtrack and even puppets to tell this bittersweet tale.

Fischer’s careening career went from singing on Los Angeles street corners in 1968 to releasing a Frank Zappa-produced double-LP debut, appearing on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, being the first artist released by Rhino Records, charting on DJ John Peel’s Festive 50 poll, recording a duet with Rosemary Clooney, and then back to the L.A. streets.

Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh, Weird Al Yankovic, Bill Mumy and Robert Haimer (of “Fish Heads” fame), Dr. Demento and Frank Zappa all check in. The Demento/Zappa puppet scene is ingenious! A dazzling departure, this DVD contains hours of pertinent extras. Like Fischer himself, it’s heartbreaking, inspiring and awesome to watch.

—Dennis McDonough

Got something to say?