Danger Will Robinson Fish Heads

(conqueroo ) In one corner, we have Barnes & Barnes, a duo thrilled to hold the distinction of having recorded the most requested song in the history Doctor Demento’s syndicated radio program. In the opposite corner, we have Larry “Wild Man” Fischer, arguably the most bizarre recording artist to emerge from arguably the most bizarre city, Los Angeles. What’s the connection? Well, Barnes & Barnes produced two Wild Man Fischer albums as charter releases for the soon-to-be-multimillion-dollar Rhino label. And now Barnes & Barnes’ classic Voobaha album, along with two Fischer albums — Pronounced Normal and Nothing Scary — will be reissued on Collectors’ Choice Music on April 3, 2007.

Barnes & Barnes was composed of Art & Artie Barnes, noms du disques for childhood friends Bill Mumy (yes, Will Robinson on “Lost in Space”) and Robert Haimer, respectively. Their goal was never to make it big — just to get played on their fave syndicated radio show hosted by Doctor Demento.

Drawing on their mutual love of comics, including ‘50s EC (which specialized in horror, crime and sci-fi), ‘60s pre-superhero Marvel comics, and R. Crumb, the songs were demented from the get-go. In 1974, they submitted “The Vomit Song” to Demento, though the good Doctor felt it would have an “emetic” effect on his audience. But he loved “Fish Heads” and “Boogie Woogie Amputee,” and the former made Barnes & Barnes darlings of Dementia overnight. The tune’s accompanying short film went on to air on MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central, and was named #57 video of all time by Rolling Stone. They even recruited a heavy manager (Bill Siddons, who managed the Doors).

The Voohaba album was issued in 1976, then digitally remastered and reissued as a CD on Rhino. Robert Haimer went back to the original source tapes to prepare for the Collectors’ Choice reissue in 2007, and Barnes & Barnes have added some previously unreleased tracks: “I Gotta Get a Fake I.D.,” plus alternate takes of “Political Statement,” “Boogie Woogie Amputee” and “Fish Heads.”

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