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RIP Hardy Fox, ‘primary composer’ and ‘co-founder’ of the Residents
11.01.2018
08:35 am
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Hardy Fox, 1945-2018 (via hardyfox.com)
 
Almost nine years ago, I was interviewing Hardy Fox, the president of the Cryptic Corporation, by Skype. He was telling me about hopes the Residents had expressed over the years for advances in stage technology: touring holographic productions that would fit on a disk, music that would cause everyone in the audience to have a simultaneous orgasm. And then he said the most surprising thing anyone’s said to me during an interview:

Actually, they always wanted to have an album, like a gatefold album that when you opened it, it was just a hole—and it would give you instant vertigo, like you would be terrified to open it because you could fall into it and get lost.

Like a bottomless pit—inside the record? Is that what you’re talking about, Hardy?

Exactly. It opens up—it would just terrify you because it would just be so empty.

I strongly suspected Hardy had more to do with the Residents than he let on, but I was too much a fan of the band to have any interest in unmasking its members, which would not only spoil the mystery, but unmask me as a discourteous jerk. Invading the privacy of the coolest people in the world doesn’t make you a brilliant sleuth; it makes you an asshole. Who wants to be the guy staking out Thomas Pynchon’s apartment with a telephoto lens? So I didn’t bring it up, nor did I have to, considering how he ended our conversation:

Actually, I feel honored that someone of your youth seems to have as much knowledge and information about things that I have spent my life working on, and so that somewhat honors me that it wasn’t just working out into the void that’s inside that album cover, waiting.

I supposed he could have been talking about all the marketing work he’d done for the Residents, but it sure didn’t sound that way.
 

 
Hardy’s former role in the Residents has been hiding in plain sight for some time now on the home page of his website. It’s right there in the first paragraph of his bio:

Hardy Fox grew up in Texas. After college he moved to San Francisco reveling in the free love days of 1967-68. He co-founded the much loved cult band, the Residents, where he was primary composer.

Hardy retired from The Residents in 2015 but continued to compose for the group through 2018. In addition to his work with that band, he has recorded as a solo artist under various names including Charles Bobuck, Combo de Mechanico, Sonido de la Noche, Chuck, TAR, among others.

Hardy talked about leaving the Residents and undergoing heart surgery in an interview with Musique Machine earlier this year. Last month, the dates “1945-2018” appeared on Hardy’s website and Facebook page, and he sent out a message to the Hacienda Bridge mailing list that began: “I’m 73. Dying of a head thing that will get me soon. So what.” On Tuesday morning, this notice turned up in my inbox, accompanied by the photo of Rod Serling below:

RIP
BRAIN CANCER
HARDY FOX
1945 - 2018

 

 
That evening, the Residents posted this obituary at residents.com:

It is with with great sorrow and regret that The Cryptic Corporation announces the passing of longtime associate, Hardy Fox. As president of the corporation from 1982-2016, the company benefited from Hardy’s instinct for leadership and direction, but his true value came from his longtime association with The Residents. As the group’s producer, engineer, as well as collaborator on much of their material, Fox’s influence on The Residents was indelible; despite any formal training, his musicality was nevertheless unique, highly refined and prolific. Blessed with a vital sense of aesthetics, a keen ear, and an exquisite love of the absurd, Hardy’s smiling face was a constant source of joy to those around him. He will be missed.

After a series of recent health problems, Hardy succumbed to a brief illness. He is survived by his husband, Steven Kloman.

Ave atque vale, Hardy Fox. Thanks for a billion hours of musical pleasure.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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11.01.2018
08:35 am
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Exclusive video and music from the Residents’ new album, ‘Intruders’
10.17.2018
10:19 pm
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Phantoms crowd the mind. Whether it’s Guy de Maupassant’s Horla—the thing out there—or the barbarous horde conjured by a demagogue, there’s always some chimera troubling a body, threatening to violate one’s personal sovereignty. One day, it’s trying to adulterate the mustard in your sandwiches; the next, it’s plotting to turn your mailman against you. Pretty soon, it will take control of your nervous system and make you do things you don’t want to do, until it’s speaking your voice for you and puppeteering your person like a meatbag marionette. And where will you be then?

The Residents’ creepy new album, Intruders, is all about doppelgangers, haints, obsessions and delusions. The band co-produced the album with Eric Drew Feldman, the former member of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band and Pere Ubu, who is also credited as a guest musician, and Dangerous Minds has exclusive video about this record right here, plus the premiere of the album’s third track.

When I was a lad, the Cryptic Corporation—the team that has managed the Residents since 1976—meant Homer Flynn and Hardy Fox, at least after their partners, John Kennedy and Jay Clem, absquatulated in ‘82. Flynn and Fox ran the company until 2016, when Fox retired. (Residents.com reports the sad news that Hardy is seriously ill; he has revealed that he was a founding member of the band and has been the primary composer of their music.) Flynn, or “Captain Doc,” still at the helm, introduces the Residents’ latest album in the exclusive video below.

Intruders will be released by Cherry Red Records tomorrow, October 19.
 

 
After the jump, hear “The Scarecrow,” in which a bereaved James Brown fan is sure he sees the Godfather of Soul’s former bathrobe on a roadside scarecrow…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.17.2018
10:19 pm
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The Residents pay tribute to Sun Ra (and Barry White)
03.15.2018
09:09 am
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The MacPaint years: ‘George & James,’ Volume One of the Residents’ American Composer Series

It’s starting to look like the Residents are probably not going to finish that American Composers Series they abandoned back in 1986. The first volume, George & James, was a promising beginning: one side of George Gershwin tunes played in the style of the Mole Trilogy, one side of James Brown classics bellowed in a monstrous voice that made the Godfather of Soul sound like he was 100 feet tall and in danger of crushing the Apollo Theater beneath his feet. The Residents set out their ambitions in the liner notes:

THIS SERIES IS TO BE RECORDED DURING THE FINAL SIXTEEN YEARS OF THE 20TH CENTURY (1984-2000). WHILE EACH RECORD WILL BE RELEASED UPON COMPLETION, THE WORK, AS A WHOLE, WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE UNTIL 2001 AND WILL CONTAIN THE WORKS OF NOT LESS THAN TWENTY COMPOSERS.

 

Volume Two, ‘Stars & Hank Forever!’
 
But the American Composers Series ended abruptly after the second installment, an interpretation of the music of John Philip Sousa and Hank Williams called Stars & Hank Forever (with an excellent mash-up avant la lettre of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and Williams’ “Kaw-Liga”). Posterity was robbed of projected volumes such as The Trouble with Harrys, devoted to the work of Harry Partch and Harry Nilsson, and Bob and the Blob, a celebration of Bob Dylan and Barry White.

Other composers the Residents planned to include were Captain Beefheart, Smokey Robinson, Charles Ives, Stevie Wonder, Moondog, Scott Joplin, Brian Wilson, and Ray Charles.
 

The ‘Hit the Road Jack’ single
 
Residents discographer Uncle Willie says Sun Ra and Ray Charles would have shared a disc in the series:

“Hit the Road Jack” was considered by The Residents as the single from an album in the American Composers Series that was never finished. It would have combined the compositions of Ray Charles with Sun Ra.

It’s too bad Ra and the Residents appeared on different episodes of David Sanborn’s Night Music in 1989, or perhaps they might have jammed. But this taste of the Residents playing Sun Ra turned up on the 1991 fan club compilation Daydream B-Liver. “Daydream in Space,” a collage of leftover music from the American Composers Series, combines the Residents’ take on “Space Is the Place” with elements of the unfinished tribute to Barry White. A shorter edit of the track appeared on the posthumous Sun Ra tribute album Wavelength Infinity

See the Residents live in concert.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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03.15.2018
09:09 am
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‘Train vs Elephant’: New music from The Residents
02.10.2017
09:59 am
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If you count back to the release of their first single, “Santa Dog,” The Residents have been releasing work for 45 years. It’s amazing to ponder, almost half a century of continuous innovative productivity, in music, film/video, and interactive digital media.

Their initial burst of creativity resulted in a run of deeply weird and absolutely wonderful releases culminating in 1979 with the definitive opus Eskimo or in 1980 with the definitive opus The Commercial Album, depending on who you ask (I’m on team Commercial Album, if you’re keeping a tally). In the ‘80s, they embraced the BIG IDEAS that would define the rest of their career, most notably embarking on the multi-LP “Mole Trilogy.” In the ‘90s, they reached a commercial peak with three universally acclaimed CD ROM “albums”—fully interactive music and video projects that hybridized concept albums, video games, and animated films. In the 21st Century they’ve settled into a long string of conceptual releases that started with 1998’s Wormwood, wherein the band tackled THE BIBLE.

The Residents’ album concepts have often revolved around getting into the heads of the marginalized—they did a CD ROM about sideshow freaks (Freak Show), an online interactive missing-person mystery (The Bunny Boy), a first-person narrative of a sexual predator (Tweedles). So it was a surprise to learn that their new album would be about something as comparatively prosaic as train accidents. The band discovered a trove of turn-of-the-20th-Century news articles about the dangers of train travel, and, struck by the contrast between the eloquent expressiveness of the era’s newspaper writing and the utter mayhem of the events described, they conceived The Ghost of Hope. The album includes contributions from keyboardist Eric Drew Feldman, whose weirdomusic bona fides are enviable—he’s served with Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu, and the Pixies, among many, many others.
 

 
It’s Dangerous Minds’ privilege today to share that new album’s track “Train vs Elephant.” Though the title would seem to be a straightforward enough description, we nevertheless reached out to the band for comment, and were treated to an exegesis by Homer Flynn, the Residents’ longtime spokesman and graphic designer, whose tenacious insistence that he’s not their singer has been widely disbelieved for about as long as he’s been their press mouthpiece.

TRAIN VS ELEPHANT

September 17, 1894

At the time of this strange incident, the railway line connecting Teluk Anson and Tapa, in the western part of Malaysia had recently been completed, so exposure to train travel was relatively new. Several years later, a Malaysian man recalled the time in his youth when he found a sign shrouded in the undergrowth on the outskirts of his town: “THERE IS BURIED HERE A WILD ELEPHANT WHO IN DEFENSE OF HIS HERD CHARGED AND DERAILED A TRAIN ON THE 17th DAY OF OF SEPTEMBER 17, 1894.”

Curious, the man researched the incident, speaking to several people old enough to remember the suicidal encounter between the train and the elephant. Some felt the bull was seeking revenge for the death of a calf recently killed by the same train, while others felt the event was purely a territorial dispute with the elephant defending its turf from the newly invading “Metal Monster.”

The British engineer claimed the beast had staked its spot in the center of the tracks and no warning deterred its determined charge as the train thundered down the track at a speed of fifty miles an hour. While the impact of the crash killed the elephant, the bull did successfully derail the engine and three coaches.

 
Have a listen to new music from the Residents, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Ron Kretsch
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02.10.2017
09:59 am
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That time when XTC’s Andy Partridge sang for the Residents
09.23.2016
09:16 am
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Andy Partridge in the Black Sea tour program, via 10ft.it
 
During my childhood and adolescence, XTC was an enigma. When I first heard their minor hit “Dear God,” the band had already long since retired from the stage, and then for years after 1992’s Nonsuch, they seemed to have walked out on the record business, too. They could write a song so anodyne it has now crept into our nation’s drugstores, yet they could also render an apparently note-perfect cover of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band’s “Ella Guru.” None of the musicians I knew who had the chops to attempt such a feat even liked Beefheart.

So while I played my tape of Waxworks over and over again in my teenage bedroom, these were among my thoughts: Who was this Andy Partridge guy, anyway? How did he play those weird chords? Why was he so reclusive? Was it all because he was, like, mental?
 

XTC 1980: Dave Gregory, Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, Terry Chambers
 
As you can see, the stray bits of gossip my imagination had to work with all focused on Partridge and his reasons for abandoning the road. I think that explains why I don’t remember wondering even once about the inner life of Colin Moulding—the writer and singer of “Making Plans for Nigel,” “Ten Feet Tall,” “Life Begins at the Hop,” “Generals and Majors,” and “Ball and Chain”—which should have been just as interesting to contemplate, in retrospect. But there were no tidbits on which the mind could feed. (Here in 2016, Moulding has not written any new material in over a decade, though he occasionally works with producer Billy Sherwood, while Partridge just wrote a song for the Monkees.)

It wasn’t until I found a copy of the authorized biography Chalkhills and Children that I learned the facts of the XTC story. In the intervening 20 years, I have, of course, forgotten most of these (except that Andy Partridge is not “mental”) and lost the book, but at that time I sort of expected XTC to tour again someday, and I would have given a fucking eye for one evening’s entertainment from the swinging swains of Swindon. Part of the mystique came from listening to bootlegs and watching Urgh! A Music War, and part was this: a stone Residents junkie, I knew that Andy Partridge sang lead vocals on the Commercial Album‘s antepenultimate track, “Margaret Freeman.”
 

Commercial Album (1980)
 
He was credited as “Sandy Sandwich,” though the jacket didn’t say which special guests sang which (ha ha) song, or songs; for that, you needed a copy of Ian Shirley’s Meet The Residents: America’s Most Eccentric Band! (recently updated), where you could read in plain English that Andy Partridge sang “Margaret Freeman” and Lene Lovich sang “Picnic Boy.”

Here’s Partridge’s answer to a fan’s question about the collaboration in the Swindon Advertiser:

The simple truth of the Residents rubdown was that they were fans of XTC and came to some shows in San Francisco. At one of these gigs they approached me and asked could I come over to their studio to sing on a track of the record they were working on, the Commercial Album.

I was delighted and of course agreed. They chose for the me the suitably Residential nom de mic of Sandy Sandwhich, put some coal in the headphones and off we went.

I had no instruction as to how any melody for the song went (titled “Margaret Freeman”) but was just encouraged to get odder and odder.

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.23.2016
09:16 am
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The Residents’ press conference at the Lincoln Memorial, 1983
07.08.2016
09:12 am
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Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Huddled Masses
 
I’ve been collecting Residents ephemera since I was in short pants, and I have an unfortunate tendency to start talking like The Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy if some poor soul mentions the band. But I’ve never seen this footage before.

Promoting their appearance at the 1983 New Music America festival in Washington, D.C.—their final performance of the Mole Show, a concert that’s come to be known as the “Uncle Sam Mole Show”—the Residents held a press conference on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and it’s captured on this camcorder tape.
 

The Residents at Mount Rushmore, 1981
 
Given the camera’s proximity to the limo the Residents emerge from at the beginning, the video seems likely to have been shot by someone inside the band’s organization. The members of the group, or four people wearing their eyeball masks and tuxedos with miniature American flags sticking out of the breast pockets, file onto the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in silence, fiddling with their costumes, taking snapshots, and posing for photographers.

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.08.2016
09:12 am
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The Residents sing the Blues: Elvis, Hank Williams and some demented cowboys
06.21.2016
01:53 pm
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In spring of 1989, The Residents brought their “History of American Music in 3 EZ pieces” tour to Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in New York for that year’s “Serious Fun” avant-garde music/performance art festival.  It was the second time I would see The Residents live and it was a memorable musical theatrical experience, I can assure you. Either the night before or the night after I can’t recall, I saw Diamanda Galas in the same theater performing her “Masque of the Red Death” trilogy and nearly bringing the walls down with the demonic intensity of her performance. (Ann Magnuson, Eric Bogosian, Spalding Gray and Richard Foreman’s production of Philip Glass’s ‘‘The Fall of the House of Usher’’ opera were also a part of that year’s festival)

Alice Tully Hall is a plush, intimate (1086 seats) recital hall that normally hosts the New York Film Festival and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Because of the “classy” setting, the show promised to be “more” than previous live Residents outings. Seeing The Residents at Lincoln Center seemed irresistible, but I didn’t know anyone who wanted to go with me, so I went alone [I’ve never been able to rope in a friend to see The Residents with me, not once! The first time I’d caught The Residents, also alone, was a few years earlier, during their 13th anniversary tour at The Ritz nightclub (now Webster Hall). About ten minutes into the show, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat arrived and stood near me on the balcony. About 20 minutes later they said something to each other and left immediately.]
 

 
The performance consisted of three-acts: “Buckaroo Blues” told the story of America through cowboy music, “Black Barry” via slave songs, blues and jazz and in the final Elvis section, “The Baby King,” The Residents essayed a senile Elvis telling his grandchildren (“Shorty” and “Shirley,” two freaky ventriloquist’s dummies) about his life before the British Invasion killed him. The show featured elaborately choreographed dance numbers and back-lit sets. As you might expect, the acoustics were pretty near perfect in a place like Alice Tully Hall.

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.21.2016
01:53 pm
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Want to see something REALLY WEIRD? Here’s Renaldo & the Loaf’s ‘Songs for Swinging Larvae’
12.01.2015
11:05 am
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image
 
Renaldo and the Loaf are an extremely obscure English musical duo comprised of a pathologist (David Janssen or “Ted the Loaf”) and an architect (Brian Poole or “Renaldo Malpractice”). They met in school and made experimental music starting in the late 1970s that defied description.

On holiday in San Francisco, one of them gave a tape to one of The Residents, who were suitably impressed. They soon made an album for Ralph Records called Songs for Swinging Larvae, which is known as one of the strangest records of all time— (if it is known at all) —and sells for exorbitant prices (when it can be found). The pair fell out of touch in the 90s but have made music together again in recent years. They even have an official website.
 
image
 
Although there is no way this would ever happen again today, believe it or not, this video has actually aired on American television many, many times during the early 1980s on the eclectic “underground” Night Flight programming block on the USA Network. This video, the Residents’ “One Minute Movies” and a couple of other videos (“Big Electric Cat” by Adrian Belew also comes to mind) that I saw on Night Flight warped me badly enough that at the age of 16 I decided I was going to move to New York and “become an underground filmmaker”! (*Ahem*). Directed by Graeme Whifler who made many wonderful videos for The Residents, Tuxedomoon and The Red Hot Chili Peppers in the early 1980s.
 
If you like things like Captain Beefheart, The Residents or Wonder Showzen, you should give this quirky, almost kinda scary, vintage video oddity a look.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.01.2015
11:05 am
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‘Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening tells the story of The Residents, 1979
07.15.2015
03:01 pm
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The Residents, 1972
 
The Residents’ first fan club, W.E.I.R.D. (We Endorse Immediate Residents Deification), was founded in 1978, and one of its charter members was Life in Hell and Simpsons creator Matt Groening. As a member of the Residents’ second fan club, UWEB, I am bound by the most solemn oaths never to discuss any of the secret handshakes, passwords, ciphers, rituals, buttons, bumper stickers or T-shirts of the inner sanctum, but I can point seekers to this exoteric document: Groening’s “The True Story of the Residents.” This phantasmagoric bio of the group, first published in 1979’s The Official W.E.I.R.D. Book of the Residents and reprinted in 1993’s Uncle Willie’s Highly Opinionated Guide to the Residents, gives a wild yet relatively concise account of the band’s founding myth.
 

The Official W.E.I.R.D. Book of the Residents (cover by Gary Panter)
 
You’ll notice that most of the fun facts in this true story are lies; for instance, I tend to doubt that “Six Things to a Cycle” originated as a “lengthy ballet” that “was canceled when The Residents were rumored to be selling experimental monkey depressants to grade school children.” But Groening weaves the Residents, the Mysterious N. Senada, Philip “Snakefinger” Lithman, the Cryptic Corporation, and “a squealing Boston terrier on acid flung into a barrel of live albino sand eels” into a tale that will make tears stream from your eyes and snot run from your nose. Look how he gets the band from Louisiana to its early base of operations in San Mateo:

After high school, the gang (which numbered five) split up and went their various ways—college, grunt jobs, draft evasion. They kept in touch with each other’s progress, however, and soon found themselves hopping like rabid Rhesus monkeys to rhythm and blues—particularly James Brown and Bo Diddley. James Brown’s Live At The Apollo is an album which makes them quiver to this day. But they soon found that they needed each other, and re-grouped to plot strategy. They didn’t know what the hell they were doing, but they knew James Brown made their butts twitch, and some how it would all work out. In 1966 or so, after a couple of them had made it almost all the way through college, they decided to escape the slimy Southern scourge of George Wallace. So they loaded up their truck and headed straight for San Francisco, where they had heard all the go-go mod action was goin’ down. As fate would have it, their truck broke down in a quiet suburban town called San Mateo, some 25 miles south of the big city. Behind them they left a few loyal, more balanced acquaintances who would later follow to start The Cryptic Corporation. In California they saw the minds around them already beginning to break down. Youngsters everywhere were growing their hair out and joining the “bushhead” movement. Beach boys frolicked with trained wild seals on the sand, and local cretins began electrocuting themselves with guitars on-stage while thousands chanted, “You endorse our mindless lives,” in unified spontaneity. Charles Manson pierced his nipple with a Love button while on acid, and the Psychedelic Revolution was born. The Residents began licking their lips.

 

 
To read “The True Story of the Residents” in full, go to this page in the “Historical section” of residents.com and click “Matt Groening’s TRUE STORY.” Below, Groening talks about connecting with W.E.I.R.D. and writing his “fanciful” bio in a clip from the upcoming documentary about the Residents, Theory of Obscurity.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.15.2015
03:01 pm
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San Francisco police need your help locating a stolen Residents eyeball head mask
05.23.2015
06:53 pm
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The San Francisco Police Department has issued a statement detailing the theft of one of the original Residents’ eyeball head masks.

The mask, valued at $100,000 (yeah, OK), was signed for by an unknown person and is now missing. Along with the mask is an original photograph of the Residents which is valued at $20,000 (yeah, OK).

SFPD has included an anonymous tip line, should you happen to see the famous eyeball in your local pawn shop.
 

The missing mask
 

And the case it came in
 

A local San Francisco resident had a famous “Eyeball with Hat” mask and an original album cover photo from the musical band called the “Residents” taken from him by an unknown suspect.

In this incident the victim loaned the mask, which was valued at $100,000.00, to a museum in Seattle for a predetermined period of time. On May 5th, at the conclusion of the loan, the curator sent the mask back to the victim using a major delivery courier service. Unfortunately, the victim was traveling and was not present to receive the shipment.

The package was delivered and signed for by an unknown person using an illegible signature. The mask has been used on a record album cover and is periodically displayed throughout the country. The pictured top hat is now black instead of white and was contained in a shipping crate (photo attached). Stolen along with the mask was the original album cover photo which the victim values at $20,000.00.

Anyone who recalls seeing the mask, photo, or crate or has information on this case is asked to contact the Anonymous Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text A Tip to TIP411 and include “SFPD” at the beginning of the message.

NBC Bay Area has a story posted about the theft with a short video.

Here, a young Penn Jillette attempts to reveal what lies beneath those giant eyeballs:
 

 
Via SFPD

Posted by Christopher Bickel
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05.23.2015
06:53 pm
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Just imagine how STRANGE this Residents’ radio special from 1977 sounded in 1977
04.24.2015
09:28 am
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“SIAMESE TWIN TAG TEAM WRESTLERS INDEED”: Arf and Omega on the Vileness Fats set
 
In 1977, the Residents marked their fifth anniversary with an hour-long radio special. It purports to be a broadcast from RAO (Residents Arf Omega?) Studios in Houston, Texas. Along with a number of obscurities—such as the entire The Beatles Play the Residents and the Residents Play the Beatles 7-inch, the B-side of the “Satisfaction” single (“Loser ≅ Weed”), and Snakefinger shredding Zappa’s “King Kong” in the style of Les Paul—the program includes incidental music performed by the Residents, who are, we are told, “content to walk around the studio, banging on instruments and making strange noises.” Meanwhile, a hostile interviewer, one “Sid Powell,” asks Jay Clem of Ralph Records Cryptic Corporation a series of insulting questions about the group. (“Now, don’t you feel a little foolish in this position? You’re no more than babysitters to a group of malcontented young fops.”) While I generally avoid speculating about the Residents’ identities in print, I can’t help but observe that Powell sure does sound an awful lot like one member of the band.
 

The J-card from the cassette release of The Residents Radio Special
 
Ralph Records released the program on a few small cassette runs in the early 80s. In 2002, Ralph re-released the radio special on the limited-edition CD Eat Exuding Oinks (named for a lyric in “Walter Westinghouse”), now equally scarce. Long ago, at one of the Bay Area’s gigantic record emporia, I snagged one of the original unmarked white tapes, still in the J-card printed on blue construction paper, for less than one dollar. Granted, that’s more than what it’s going to cost you to listen courtesy of YouTube, but it’s significantly less than what today’s junior Residents collector will expect to pay. I bring this up not so much to illustrate a point, as to gloat.
 

 
Anyway, this Fingerprince-era artifact is a delightful piece of radio theater. You’ll hear Clem and Powell discuss the relationship between the Residents and the Beatles and the possible identity of same; the Theory of Phonetic Organization developed by the Mysterious N. Senada, who, we learn, sat in on “Kamikaze Lady” from Baby Sex; and the band’s work-in-progress Eskimo.

Hear the broadcast after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
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04.24.2015
09:28 am
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The Residents demolish ‘We Are the World’
01.08.2015
08:37 am
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Posted by Oliver Hall
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01.08.2015
08:37 am
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‘Oh Mummy! Oh Daddy!’ The Residents’ first show as The Residents, 1976
10.16.2014
09:08 am
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This photo, reproduced in Ian Shirley’s Meet The Residents: America’s Most Eccentric Band!, first piqued my curiosity about the 1976 show the Residents had played in mummy costumes. (Or did I first see it in Twenty Twisted Questions?) I read Meet The Residents in 1993, and a few years passed before I learned this had technically been The Residents’ first show, that the show had taken place at a celebration of the Berkeley store Rather Ripped Records’ fifth anniversary, and that the performance had been titled “Oh Mummy! Oh Daddy! Can’t You See That It’s True? What The Beatles Did to Me, I Love Lucy Did to You!” There was not even a rumor of any recording of this show, and it seemed so mysterious and significant to me that, at one point in my life, I would have parted with vital organs just to hear a tape.
 

 
Now, of course, thanks to the miracle of science, anyone can hear the whole show for free on YouTube. There is even a snippet of footage a mouse-click away. No surgery required. (If memory serves, the minute-and-a-half clip was first released in 2006 as an “easter egg” on the DVD that came with the Kettles of Fish on the Outskirts of Town box set.)

The untight performance (cut them some slack—they are playing their instruments while totally swathed in bandages) includes a bit of “Six Things to a Cycle” from Fingerprince, but the performance as a whole is closer in spirit to The Third Reich ‘n’ Roll. The Eye Guys demolish “Satisfaction,” “It’s My Party,” “Wooly Bully,” and “Wipe Out” before treating the audience to an extended version of their own “Kick A Cat” from Meet the Residents.

A description of the show from residents.com:

Oh Mummy! Oh Daddy! was a special show put on for the fifth anniversary of Rather Ripped Records on June 7th, 1976. The Residents were joined by Snakefinger and Zeibak in performances of short versions of Satisfaction and Six Things to a Cycle from Fingerprince. For this show The Residents wrapped themselves up in bandages like mummies and Snakefinger dressed as a giant artichoke. These costumes proved to be a problem, though, as the foursome had rehearsed without them and when they took to the stage they found that it was rather difficult to play their instruments in such restrictive outfits.

Aside from that small oversight, the concert was planned out very thoroughly. Amazingly enough all the music was performed live, except for some pre-recorded backing vocals from the Pointless Sisters who couldn’t attend the performance in person. In addition to Snakefinger’s guitar and The Residents on an assortment of marimbas and xylophones, the band included Don Jackovich on drums and Adrian Deckbar on violin. Vileness Fats’s Arf & Omega put in an appearance performing Kick a Cat.

Bay Area readers, the Exploratorium is presenting the Residents’ Eskimo tonight!

A short video clip of “Oh Mummy! Oh Daddy!”:

 
Audio of the complete performance:

Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.16.2014
09:08 am
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The Residents covered Led Zeppelin in 1971!
06.30.2014
04:49 pm
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Although I suppose it’s better than being haunted by something by Cher, Kylie or Justin Bieber, I have to admit that I’m getting really sick of hearing Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” wherever I turn. In restaurants. At supermarkets. The gas station. At Trader Joe’s. The airport. At red lights being pumped out of someone else’s car… You can’t escape. I know those new Led Zeppelin remasters are out, but it’s not like this song was exactly scarce before that!

Yikes, I need some mental floss… wait, I know…

Long before they covered The Beatles, Cannibal & the Headhunters, James Brown, Elvis, George Gershwin or Hank Williams, in 1971, the Residents rudely took on Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” (rechristened “Holelottadick” and letting the intention of Robert Plant’s lyrics really hang out there) on their unreleased (but widely bootlegged) Baby Sex album.

Baby Sex was once broadcast in its entirety on Oregon radio station KBOO-FM during their “Residents Radio Festival” in 1977. The album’s second side is an astonishing studio collage piece titled “Hallowed Be Thy Wean” which includes a live recording of The Residents at San Francisco’s Boarding House in October 1971 with Snakefinger, the first time that “The Residents” moniker was employed by the group.

Baby Sex also features a ripping cover of Frank Zappa’s “King Kong,” that could almost be the Mothers of Invention themselves playing. The Residents’ direct musical and sonic debt to Zappa (and Pink Floyd’s “Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict,” for that matter, “sampled” at length in “Hallowed…”) becomes much more obvious after you’ve given Baby Sex a listen. (Original Mother Don Preston would later collaborate with The Residents on their epic Eskimo album).

Elsewhere on the album, the cryptic ones “steal this riff” from Tim Buckley’s “Down By The Borderline” (from Buckley’s Starsailor album, which was probably not so coincidentally released by Zappa’s Straight Records) and manage to sound like a geeky version of Santana!
 

 

The Residents live at The Boarding House in San Francisco, October, 1971

Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.30.2014
04:49 pm
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Residents reissue features never before seen photos of their early studio. We’ve got a few of them.
03.28.2014
11:41 am
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Superior Viaduct, the excellent archivist label from whom you got your copies of Hardcore Devo Volume 1 and Volume 2—you DID pick those up, right?—is taking pre-orders for their forthcoming 2xLP rerelease of 1984’s Residue of the Residents, the compilation of outtakes and rarities that housed Residents essentials like “Shut Up! Shut Up!,” “Diskomo,” and their cover of “Jailhouse Rock”. The track listing encompasses both the original release and the long list of bonus songs included in the 1998 CD version Residue Deux, and the package will also feature a fine treat for the übergeeks: a number of never before seen photographs from the group’s first studio in San Francisco, the laboratory/sanctum where the early “Santa Dog” 2x7” (also being reissued by Viaduct next month) and their albums Meet The Residents and Third Reich ‘n’ Roll were recorded. Their early films were shot there, as well.
 

 
For the Residents in the early ‘70s, a dedicated, personal studio was no mere luxury, it was integral to the group’s concept and identity. It’s not just that it offered them the ability to maintain their tightly guarded anonymity, and it’s not just about the obvious creative and commercial freedoms that come with ownership of the means of cultural production. It’s that the Residents were intrinsically studio creatures in a way that was almost entirely novel in that era. I quote here from Chris Cutler’s insightful essay in his essential File Under Popular (and I’m putting out the call here for all to see, to whoever I lent my copy of that book—give it back, dammit):

The Residents belong to the story of the investigation of what is productively unique in the medium of recording. They came, not as composers or performers seeking to extend their skills, but as artists, in a crucial sense musically unattached but able to see—indeed fascinated by—the largely ignored potential of the new technology. The Residents were a group born, educated and nourished in the recording studio. And not unconsciously; it was because they quickly recognized what a studio was and how it could be used to compose, construct and carry from conception to completion soundworks that had little or nothing to do with played music that, at the first opportunity, they built their own. It was this insight that gave birth to ‘The Residents,’ and it is an indispensable key to the understanding of their work.

So yeah, dear reader, the Residents are important for reasons that have nothing to do with eyeball masks. They were amid the front guard of a drastic values shift that, among other positive outcomes, cleared a path for the likes of Devo.
 

 

 

 
Astute readers who also happen to be Residents fans going back a ways may recognize that last shot. That set was used both in their abandoned film project Vileness Fats and in the intro to their video for Third Reich and Roll.

Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats?, part 1
 

Third Reich and Roll

Superior Viaduct on DM previously and previouslier

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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03.28.2014
11:41 am
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