Wild Man Fischer Doc Finally on DVD

 

Derailroaded gets long
overdue release on disc in America.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Way back in 2005 a delightfully offbeat documentary on “manic-depressive,
paranoid-schizophrenic” outsider artist and cult hero (and Frank Zappa protégé)
Larry “Wild Man” Fischer appeared, making the rounds of film festivals and
eventually getting aired numerous times on the Sundance Channel. Yours truly
viewed (and taped) the Josh Rubin-directed Derailroaded,
w
hich included appearances by Harold Bronson and Richard Foos of Rhino
Records, Solomon Burke, Barry “Dr. Demento” Hansen, musicologist Irwin Chusid
and others, and can safely say that while parts of the film made for decidedly uneasy
viewing, it was fascinating from start to finish. And fans fully expected it to
be released soon on DVD.

 

Then – nothing. The film essentially disappeared. Well, at
least I had my VHS tape of it, and assorted online resources, such as the
IMDB.com listing and Fischer’s Wikipedia entry.

 

Now, though, comes word that Pop Twist Entertainment,
working with MVD Entertainment, has finally arranged for a domestic DVD release.
Derailroaded: Inside the Mind of Larry “Wild
Man” Fischer
will arrive on Jan. 25, and boy, you know you wanna see this.  From the product description:

 

 

This shocking and
sensitive 86-minute journey through the thunderstorms of the mind of
paranoid-schizophrenic Larry “Wild Man” Fischer follows his
discordant encounters in the music business. 

 

Institutionalized at
16 after attacking his mother with a knife, Fischer wandered the mean streets
of L.A. singing
his totally unique brand of songs for 10¢ to passersby. Discovered by Frank
Zappa, with whom he cut his first record album, Fischer became an underground
club and concert favorite, earning him the title of “godfather of outsider
music.” Over the course of 40 years, he appeared on national television
(Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in) and the Top 50 music charts in England, was
the subject of his own comic book, was the first artist to be recorded on  Rhino Records, and sang a duet with the late
Rosemary Clooney.

 

Extensive archival
footage from Fischer’s early days, including his TV and club performances,
trace his life from neglected child to tortured genius.  The filmmakers visit him at home, follow him
on the streets, and speak with those who over the years witnessed – and
survived – his erratic behavior: his family, his doctor, and industry
professionals (including Frank and Gail Zappa, Weird Al Yankovic, Devo’s Mark
Mothersbaugh, Solomon Burke, Dr. Demento, and Billy Mumy).

 

 

You can view the trailer for the film, below, while more
info can be found at the film’s official website.

 

Meanwhile, though, we had to ask – why the long delay from
inception to U.S. DVD release? Imagining some deep litigation on the part of the
Zappa estate, or possibly a visit to the filmmakers by the Herb Cohen goon
squad (look it up), we contacted director Rubin, who indicated it was far less
dramatic, saying, “We originally released the film on DVD in Europe in 2006
 but licensing issues made it difficult for us to release the film
domestically back then.”

 

So there you have it.

 

 

 

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