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Wild Man

This obituary is by Margalit Fox

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 Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 66.

The cause was heart failure, said Josh Rubin, a filmmaker whose documentary portrait of Fischer, “dErailRoaDed,” was released in 2005. (The film’s title, taken from one of Fischer’s songs, is a word he coined to describe the radical dislocation he often felt.)

Fischer, whose first name was Larry, had lived with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder since he was a teenager. Since 2004, he had resided in an assisted-living facility for mental patients in Van Nuys, Calif.

Fischer, a singer-songwriter, 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 Fischer was a naive 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 Fischer’s first album; the child actor-turned-musician Bill Mumy; the radio host Dr. Demento; and the singer Rosemary Clooney, with whom Fischer recorded a duet.

Fischer made several albums, toured sporadically and performed occasionally on television, including, in 1968, on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.”

His best-known song was almost certainly “Merry-Go-Round.” The tune has a faint Caribbean lilt. (In the recording studio, Fischer was often provided with instrumental accompaniment.) The lyrics, on first hearing, can strike the listener as a joke:

Come on, let’s merry-go, MERRY-go, merry-go-round.


Merry-go, MERRY-go, merry-go-round.


In the end, though, the joke — postmodern and self-referential — is on the listener: Once heard, the song circles unremittingly around in the head like a carousel that can never be stilled.

Lawrence Wayne Fischer was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 6, 1944. From his youth on, whenever he was in a manic upswing — a state of intense creative energy he would call the “pep” — songs cascaded out of him.

At 16, after he threatened his mother with a knife, she had him committed to a mental institution. He was committed again a few years later.


The TV Evangelists (1) Jimmy Swaggart

Jimmy Lee Swaggart (born March 15, 1935 in Ferriday, Louisiana) is a Pentecostal preacher and pioneer of televangelism who reached the height of his popularity in the 1980s. Swaggart is first cousin of recording artists Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley. The sons of three sisters, all of them share similar middle names and play the piano. All were born within a year of one another.

Swaggart is the son of a Baptist minister and started preaching on street corners at the age of nine. He established a media empire buying up radio stations to separate as many gullible Americans from their money as possible ‘spread the word of God’ but by the mid 70’s his attention had turned to TV. By 1983 he was the most popular TV evangelist in the USA.

In 1986, Swaggart exposed fellow Assemblies of God minister Marvin Gorman, who was accused of having an affair with another pastor’s wife, who was at the time undergoing counseling with Pastor Gorman. Some said this was done out of fear that Gorman was taking away from Swaggart’s audience and donations. Gorman was based in New Orleans and was adding stations throughout the southern region and was beginning to add stations on the west coast and the northeast. Gorman was also in the planning stages for a weekday telecast. Once exposed, Gorman was defrocked from the Assemblies of God and his ministry all but ended.
The following year, Swaggart exposed fellow Assemblies Of God televangelist Jim Bakker’s sexual indiscretions and appeared on the Larry King Show, stating that Bakker was a “cancer in the body of Christ.” He and similarly-minded Baptist evangelist Jerry Falwell investigated Jim Bakker and eventually discovered his indiscretions. In 1987, Jim Bakker’s ministry was falling apart as a result.

As a retaliatory move, Marvin Gorman hired a private detective to follow Swaggart. The detective found Swaggart in a Louisiana motel on Airline Highway with a prostitute, Debra Murphree, and took pictures of the tryst. Gorman presented Swaggart with the photos in a blackmail attempt to force Swaggart to come clean, but Swaggart refused. Gorman then presented the pictures to the presbytery leadership of the Assemblies of God, which decided that Swaggart should be suspended from broadcasting his television program for three months. Perhaps only by watching the video above can anyone jusdge the level of Swaggart’s contrition.

On February 21, 1988, without giving the details of his transgressions, Swaggart tearfully spoke to his family, congregation and audience, saying, “I have sinned against you, my Lord, and I would ask that your precious blood would wash and cleanse every stain until it is in the seas of God’s forgiveness.” On a New Orleans morning news show four days later, Murphree stated that while Swaggart was a regular customer, they had never engaged in intercourse.

Against the ruling of the governing body of the Assemblies of God, Swaggart returned to his television pulpit long before his three-month suspension expired. He stated, “If I do not return to the pulpit this weekend, millions of people will go to hell.” Believing that Swaggart was not genuinely repentant in not submitting to their authority, the Assemblies of God immediately defrocked Swaggart, removing his credentials and ministerial license.

On October 11, 1991, Swaggart was found in the company of another prostitute, Rosemary Garcia, when he was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol in Indio, California, for driving on the wrong side of the street. According to Garcia, Swaggart stopped to proposition her on the side of the road. When the patrolman asked Garcia why she was with Swaggart, she replied, “He asked me for sex. I mean, that’s why he stopped me. That’s what I do. I’m a prostitute.”Rather than confessing to his congregation, Swaggart told his flock this time that “The Lord told me it’s flat none of your business.” His son Donnie then announced to the stunned audience that his father would be temporarily stepping down as head of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries for “a time of healing and counseling.”

Swaggart’s escapades have been celebrated in song at least twice from two very different sources. First of all this revenge attack from Ozzy Osbourne who had been attacked by Swaggart as being a Satanist for his 1980 record ‘Suicide Solution’.

And this is the third part of Frank Zappa’s Texas Motel Medley which uses three Beatles songs to satirize TV evangelists in general and in this song Swaggart in particular.


(Transcription from Rochester, NY, March 11, 1988 by Douglas Obrecht)

Let me take you down, ’cause we’re going to… the Texas Motel.
Don’t mind the smell.
It’s nothing to get hung about.
Please leave your cash on the table.

Weeping looks better with eyes closed…
While I’m confessing all my sins.
[Oh, please forgive me. Oh, I’ve sinned!]
It’s getting hard to plook someone, but it all works out.
It’s all pornography to Jim.

Let me take you down, ’cause we’re going to… the Texas Motel.
We might go to hell.
But we’ll have lots of company.
Falwell and Pat and that weasel.

No one knows who’s in my dream…
[Bud McFarlane, ladies & gentlemen]
I mean it must be high or low. (I think)
[freshly indicted] I mean, I can’t you know, tune in, but it’s all right.
[He can plea bargain this one]
That is, I think it’s not too bad.

Let me take you down, ’cause we’re going to… the Texas Motel.
Don’t mind the smell.
It’s just some jizz from Jimmy-boy.
How ’bout some hay for the donkey?

No one knows, sometimes think it’s me…
[Ed Meese, ladies & gentlemen] But you know, I know when it’s a dream.
[I think]
I think I know, I mean, I guess, but it’s all wrong.
[Wait a minute, that’s right]
That is, I think I disagree. [Uhh…]

Let me take you down, ’cause we’re going to… the Texas Motel.
Don’t mind the smell.
It’s just some old pornography.
Just keep on strokin’ that sausage.
Just keep on strokin’ that sausage.
[Jimmy-boy!] Just keep on strokin’ that sausage.

Source of information: Wikipedia

How the Internet Works

Something rather amazing may have happened (I say may because I await info from Richard Havers to see if he has confirmed a post on his blog as genuine). Yesterday Richard, who amongst other things has been tour producer for The Beach Boys and Paul McCartney, and also co-produced the T.V. show and book A Blues Odyssey with Bill Wyman, posted a comment on my posting about the Babys and their record Isn’t it Time? The comment referred to a quote by Frank Zappa which inspired me to do the piece below quoting Frank and showing the Youtube video. Richard picked up on this and today on his blog posted an article about how Czech President Vaclav Havel appointed Frank to the position of Czech Trade Tourism and Culture Representative in 1991 (the article is HERE ) . Someone picked up on the article and has suggested to Richard that he may not have done his research thoroughly enough. That post apparently came from Gail Zappa, wife of Frank. Blimey!

This all started last week when Richard kindly posted a link to this blog from his.

Footnote: Richard has just confirmed that the message DID come from the Frank Zappa Company H.Q and therefore from Gail Zappa

Frank Zappa Quotes

My correspondent Richard spoke in a comment yesterday about quoting Frank Zappa in a comment in an SNP blog. This set me thinking about the wonderful quotes that Mr Zappa was renowned for. Here are just a few.

Take the Kama Sutra. How many people died from the Kama Sutra as opposed to the bible. Who wins?

For the record, folks; I never took a shit on stage and the closest I ever came to eating shit anywhere was at a Holiday Inn buffet in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1973.

It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice – there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.

Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny.

The creation and destruction of harmonic and ‘statistical’ tensions is essential to the maintenance of compositional drama. Any composition (or improvisation) which remains consistent and ‘regular’ throughout is, for me, equivalent to watching a movie with only ‘good guys’ in it, or eating cottage cheese.

Communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff.

The essence of Christianity is told to us in the Garden of Eden history. The fruit that was forbidden was on the Tree of Knowledge. The subtext is, All the suffering you have is because you wanted to find out what was going on. You could be in the Garden of Eden if you had just kept your fucking mouth shut and hadn’t asked any questions.

Scientology, how about that? You hold on to the tin cans and then this guy asks you a bunch of questions, and if you pay enough money you get to join the master race. How’s that for a religion?

There is no Hell. Only France.

There are many more quotes HERE HERE and HERE

The following clip is absolutely brilliant. Watch how Zappa wipes the floor with three reactionary old farts. “Do you think the founding fathers wrote the first amendment to promote this filth?” “The founding fathers kept slaves”