produced by Frank Zappa
engineered by Jerry Hansen at Sunset Sound Studios, Hollywood
street field recording by Dick Kunc
words and music on all songs by Larry Fischer
business production: Herb Cohen
Copyright 1968 by Bizarre Music Co. BMI
ARGUS: Is all this stuff on the front of the album, like about his mother being committed with a knife up against her throat. . .
Zappa: That's not his mother. We staged that. That's a cardboard cut-out of the grandmother of the photographer who took the cover picture. Can you tell its a cardboard cut-out?
Zappa: We originally wanted blood, but we thought it would be a little bit too gory. I'd like to get a tape of his mother when she called the office. Man, she is weird.
ARGUS: Was she telling him to come home or something?
Zappa: No, not at all. She's afraid of him. He's tried to kill her three times. He does things like he sneaks into the house and he hides in the closet and sits for hours until she opens the closet, then he jumps out to scare her and then he runs away. He's real zany.
ARGUS: A bit bizarre.
Zappa: Yeah. This guy smells so bad. He comes into the office, you know, and you can smell him and tell he's coming, honest to God. He goes over to Warner Brothers and asks for copies of his album and if they give them to him, he goes out into the street and sells them. They're always saying, "Please keep your artist away."
For the even more obsessive analyst, check the hallway Larry's standing in on the front cover of An Evening With Wild Man Fischer. There's a frame on the wall that's been painted entirely beige. Now check your Uncle Meat— there's a matte around the picture of the teeth. Same matte. (source: Schenkel)
Front cover scan by: by Les Musick
AN EVENING WITH WILD MAN FISCHER
Wild Man Fischer is a real person who lives in Hollywood, California. He used to be very shy. He didn't have any friends. One day he decided to be more aggresive. He would write his own songs and sing to people and tell them he wasn't shy anymore. When he did this, everyone thought he was crazy. His mother had hm committed to a mental institution twice.
The material for this album was recorded live in the street (with Larry's knowledge and consent) in front of the WHISKEY A GO GO and THE HAMBURGER HAMLET on Sunset Strip, by DICK KUNC, on a UHER portable stereo tape recorder. The percussion effects were added later in Studio 2 at SUNSET SOUND by ART TRIPP, engineered by JERRY HANSEN. Larry's unaccompanied songs were recorded at Sunset and in the basement of the LOG CABIN. The monologues were recorded at Sunset. THE TASTER and CIRCLE are accompanied by multiple over-dub tracks which I manufactured. MERRY-GO-ROUND and SERRANO BEACH are accompanied by THE BIZARRE PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE. The MADNESS AND ECSTACY of the second half of SIDE ONE was a spontaneous recitation (he was making it all up in the studio, believe it or not) by MR. KIM FOWLEY and MR. RODNEY BINGENHEIMER, assisted in spots by the GTO'S (Girls Together Outrageously). The girl's voice at the end of side one belongs to MISS JOHNA, who was, at one time, Larry's girl friend. The percussion was added later on another session.
Please listen to this album several times before you decide whether or not you like it or what Wld Man Fischer is all about. He has something to say to you, even though you might not want to hear it.
Special engineering credits go to Jerry Hansen for the percussion effects added later at Sunset Sound in L.A.
Wild Man Fischer . . . oh yeah . . . that was a trip. My first task was to literally follow him around the streets for several days, carrying a Uher two-track, chronicling whatever madness he got into. Parts of that mission were plain scary! Larry was truly certifiable then. The basement "sessions" were very strange, as you might guess. Frank was gentle, encouraging, yet demanding of Larry . . . as Frank was with all who toiled under his baton. Later, with the roving and basement stuff in hand, Frank and Larry and I went into the studio and hammered together that album, the one-of-a-kind assistance of the GTO's and other supernumeraries. A guy named Jerry Hansen worked the knobs for the actual recording, and the control room entourage was truly amazing.
The first time I met Wild Man Fischer was in a restaurant called Canter's. He was sitting at a table, and he was introduced to me by a guy from a group called The Leaves. He says, "Have you ever heard of Wild Man Fischer?" and I said, "No," and he said, "Come here, I'll introduce you to him," and he says, "Frank, this is Wild Man Fischer, blah, blah, blah," and he told me that he sang, and he did all this stuff, and shortly thereafter I heard some of what he did, and I thought he was really good. This was right about the time we were making the Freak Out album in '64 or '65. So I tried to interest Tom Wilson, the guy that produced that first album, in Wild Man Fischer. I said, "Just listen to him, just listen to him, bring him up to the studio and just hear him once," So he agreed and I brought Wild Man Fischer into the studio, and he proceeded to run around, and break a bunch of microphones, and knock over music stands, and go totally ape-shit in the studio. And Wilson looked at me like I was crazy, and said he didn't want to have anything to do with Wild Man Fischer, but I still thought that Wild Man Fischer had some good material, and that there should be something done. So when I had my first label deal, I signed him to a contract and recorded that album. I worked for him three months. I was the producer on the project; I took care of him, he was getting a weekly salary, which he'd immediately go out and spend and lose, he was ultimately found sleeping in the street, his hair was all stuck together with garbage. I was on the road one time, and he came up to my house. My wife was there, this girl named Janet were there, and Wild Man Fischer is standing there outside the fence screaming and ranting that he wants to see me. And they saw him, and they saw that he was all dirty; his hair was all messed up, you know, like he'd been sleeping in the street. And they brought him in, and they gave him a shampoo, and they let him take a shower, and they cleaned him up. And you know what he did? He punched the babysitter, and knocked her down, broke some of the children's toys, and Gail threw him out, and I said from that point this guy is not welcome in my house, because he can be violent. He attacked his brother with a hammer; his brother was walking across the campus at U.C.L.A. Larry had a ball-peen hammer hidden behind his back, he walks up to him, as soon as he gets this far away, he goes "bonk" and shatters his chest bone, and just keeps right on walking. Wild Man Fischer is interesting, but he's not very much fun, and he is dangerous.
Well, it was hell, working with Wild Man Fischer. I spent three months, sorta working for Wild Man Fischer at the time I was putting his album together. And right now he is walking on the streets of Los Angeles with his album under his arm, still punching people.
Sandy: I recall reading an interview where you said Wild Man Fischer asked you to do another record with him.
Zappa: No, he never asked me. [...] I tried to help Wild Man Fischer and he turned out to be just as crazy as everybody thought he was.
Sandy: Does that mean he's impossible to work with?
Zappa: Well, I think he's dangerous to work with. He'd come to my house at one time . . . he used to live in the street, his hair was all dirty, he lived in dirty clothes. I brought him in, my wife shampooed his hair for him—he started breaking the kids' toys and punched the babysitter and left.
FASS: Is it true that you don't want to be asked what happened to Wild Man Fischer?
ZAPPA: I answer all questions. Wild Man Fischer, as far as I know, is still walking around the street with an album under his arm.
FASS: What would you say he's doing?
ZAPPA: I have no idea. I haven't seen him in three years.
FASS: What was he doing when you last saw him?
ZAPPA: He was walking around the street with an album under his arm.
STREET: Do you know what album it was?
ZAPPA: His album.
Are CD releases of the likes of Permanent Damage by The GTO's or An Evening With Wild Man Fischer on the cards?
There's a whole un-issued second album that Frank did with Wild Man Fischer, but I have to say that at the time I was about to sell the masters to Rykodisc—following Frank's orders—I had no idea what was in the vault, apart from his two posthumous albums. No-one did. So far, Joe has figured out about forty per cent of what's there.