THE COMMERCIAL ALBUM (1980)
The Commercial Album is another manifestation of The Residents' whimsical relationship with pop music and their interest in music about music. The album is a collection of forty one-minute commercial songs -- their very own personal Top 40. Another way of looking at the songs is as one-minute jingles: the songs of commercials.
The Residents teamed up with Snakefinger, who not only provided guitar, but sings on Ups & Downs. The band also recruited Chris Cutler, who had worked with them on Eskimo, and Fred Frith. The liner credits also mention "Special Secret Appearances" by "?": these were Lene Lovich, who sang Picnic Boy, and Andy Partridge of XTC, who plays and sings on Margaret Freeman.
Working from September, 1979, to July, 1980, The Residents used a number of ideas which had cropped up during the recording of Eskimo but were inappropriate to that project. They would record the songs without worrying about the one-minute time limit, then cut them down to size.
The Commercial Album was the first Residential album to be licensed overseas, and was heavily promoted by the licensees. PRE Records in England even put out The Commercial Single, which contained several songs from the album plus two which had been left out because The Residents felt that they didn't fit. Phonogram and Celluloid Records financed a series of four short videos called One Minute Movies, featuring the songs Moisture, The Act of Being Polite, Perfect Love, and Simple Song. Meanwhile, in North America, the Cryptic Corporation bought forty one-minute commercial slots on KFRC-AM radio in San Francisco, and broadcast the entire album in bite-sized chunks.
The promotions worked, and the album sold quite well. Nevertheless, the New Wave music press, which had been so lavish in its praise of the albums from Fingerprince to Eskimo, decided that the recording was not at all interesting. Suddenly, The Residents were no longer the darlings of the alternative music world.
The ESD Classic Series re-release includes ten bonus tracks, called the Bonus Babies. These include the two extra songs from the Commercial Single, as well as various other songs from the same period. _________________________________________________________________
The Commercial Album
1. Easter Woman 2. Perfect Love 3. Picnic Boy 4. End of Home 5. Amber 6. Japanese Watercolor 7. Secrets 8. Die in Terror 9. Red Rider 10. My Second Wife 11. Floyd 12. Suburban Bathers 13. Dimples and Toes 14. The Nameless Souls 15. Love Leaks Out 16. The Act of Being Polite 17. Medicine Man 18. Tragic Bells 19. Loss of Innocence 20. Simple Song 21. Ups and Downs 22. Possessions 23. Give It To Someone Else 24. Phantom 25. Less Not More 26. My Work is So Behind 27. Birds In The Trees 28. Handful of Desire 29. Moisture 30. Love Is... 31. Troubled Man 32. La La 33. Loneliness 34. Nice Old Man 35. The Talk of Creatures 36. Fingertips 37. In Between Dreams 38. Margaret Freeman 39. The Coming of the Crow 40. When We Were Young
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
Created over a period of three years (work began shortly after The Third Reich 'N' Roll was released), Eskimo was unlike anything anyone had heard before. Instead of an album made up of songs, The Residents produced a series of acoustic landscapes. Each track is the sound of a story taking place, rather than a song about the story.
The idea for the album is supposed to have come from the band's former collaborator, the mysterious N. Senada, who had disappeared in the early 70s to search for music among the Eskimos (legend has it that he re-appeared during the making of the album with a tape of sound samples and a jar of arctic air to record). The Residents teamed up with drummer Chris Cutler and Don Preston (formerly a keyboard player for Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention), as well as their regular collaborator, Snakefinger. Inspired by such pieces of pop culture as the famous Santa Claus Coca-Cola ads, The Residents set about inventing an anthropological background for their Eskimos which doesn't necessarily bear much resemblance to reality, but was rather based on pop perceptions of the northern peoples (nevertheless, the USSR release was classified as a "cultural documentary"). Each track covers one story, which is also told in writing on the inside of the album's gatefold cover. The stories are progressively more complex and dig deeper into the fictional Eskimo culture, starting with a simple Walrus Hunt and ending with a confrontation with the spirit world and a Festival of Death celebrating the end of the six-month night.
The album shows, as did Six Things to a Cycle on Fingerprince, the influence of Harry Partch. Like Partch, The Residents invented their own language and instruments. Most of the fake Eskimo tongue is made up of highly distorted English and, as the album progresses, you can hear the slow invasion of American culture into the Eskimo lives as the nonsense language of the Eskimos becomes corrupted with phrases such as "Coca-Cola Adds Life" hidden in the chants.
The album almost didn't happen. When Duck Stab turned into a big success, the Cryptic Corporation started to promote it heavily. The Residents got nervous about things moving too fast, not to mention the possibility that the promotions might endanger their anonymity. When the Corp. re-released Satisfaction against the band's wishes, The Residents (who were already somewhat edgy that Eskimo might turn out to be dull and pretentious) grabbed master tapes and disappeared.
Desperate for some material to release (the band disappeared the day before the tapes were to go to pressing), the Cryptics pulled an old unreleased master off of the shelves and released that instead. It was an album which was originally meant never to be released, which they called Not Available.
It turned out that the group had flown to England and left the tapes with Chris Cutler. John Kennedy and Jay Clem of the Cryptic Corporation flew over to collect the tapes, which Cutler had been keeping at the National Safe Deposit Box Company in London. The New Wave press, which had become rather caught up in The Residents after Duck Stab, were quite keen on the whole "disappearing Residents" story, and so the Corporation had press release photos of the tape exchange made.
The Residents themselves weren't in England. They had apparently gone on to Japan, but reappeared in San Francisco shortly after the tape recovery, where they were presented with a gift as an apology from the Corporation: a new 16-track recording studio. To celebrate, the band recorded Santa Dog '78, which was pressed on a single along with the original and given away free to the people on the Ralph Records mailing list as a Christmas gift in a package which included the story of the disappearance.
When it finally did come out, Eskimo had one other eye-catching feature: it was the first cover featuring the Residents' newest costumes, the Eyeball heads. Originally, the band had wanted silver spheres for heads, reflecting the arctic mists, but that idea proved impractical. The eye-heads turned out to be a powerful image, though: the costumes were so incredibly identifiable that they became the trademark look for the band.
In spite of The Residents' fears about possible pretentiousness, Eskimo was a huge critical success. The music press in the UK loved it, hailing it as a huge milestone in the new music. Sales were phenomenal for an independent, underground album. The first pressing of (10,000 copies on snow-white vinyl) sold out, and the album went on to sell 65,000 in its first six years. That was more than all other Ralph Records releases -- of all of the bands they published, not just The Residents. After the first run ran out, the band re-pressed the album on black vinyl in a non-gatefold sleeve, with the stories written up on the record sleeve. To date, it has sold over 100,000 copies world-wide, and amazing figure for an underground album. For a time, The Residents were the single most successful independent band around, and even hit the charts in Greece. The enthusiasm around it all lead to the creation of a Residents fan club called W.E.I.R.D. -- We Endorse Immediate Residents Deification -- in June of 1981. One of the first things that the new club made available to members were genuine segments of the master tape for Eskimo, complete with certificate.
The praise and adulation was so strong, in fact, that the band made a spoof of the album: a disco version called Diskomo. The idea was to puncture any swollen Eyeball heads before they got too caught up in the album's success. Since then Diskomo has gone through a number of incarnations, and the latest version has as little to do with disco as the original Diskomo has to do with Eskimos.
The Classics re-issue of Eskimo includes The Replacement, which was The Residents' contribution to Subterranean Modern. _________________________________________________________________
1. The Walrus Hunt (3:45) 2. Birth (4:55) 3. Arctic Hysteria (5:50) 4. The Angry Angakok (5:34) 5. A Spirit Steals a Child (8:55) 6. The Festival of Death (10:22) [Next]
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
FREAK SHOW VIDEO LINER NOTES
The carnival lights have never been brighter than in this new eccentric album by The Residents. From its opening with a barker luring innocent bystanders into the mysterious tent to see the likes of "Wanda the Worm Woman," "Harry the Head," or "Benny the Bump," to its majestic conclusion, The Residents never fail to amaze and amuse with this collection of nine original compositions.
In this same spirit, The Residents have put together this short video featuring the song, "Harry the Head." "Harry" has been interpreted as a computer generated cartoon by designer/animator, Jim Ludtke, which truly dazzles the eye with its "flying camera" technique. The cartoon has been embedded in an unusual live video by director John Sanborn which shows The Residents roaming San Francisco with a slide projector and their collection of curious slides. © 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
FINGERPRINCE CD LINER NOTES
Recorded in 1976, Fingerprince is The Residents fourth album. However, when it was being recorded it was not called "Fingerprince". In 1976 it was called "Tourniquet of Roses" and was so long that it would have consumed three LP sides. The record company, Ralph Records, insisted that the record be cut back to the standard length of two sides, which was renamed "Fingerprince". The remaining side was eventually released in limited numbers as Babyfingers.
The two pieces to note here are "Walter Westinghouse" and "Six Things to a Cycle", which is a ballet. The plot outline was provided by The Residents reads: "Man, represented as a primitive humanoid, is consumed by his self-created environment only to be replaced by a new creature, still primitive, still faulty, but destined to rule the world just as poorly".
"Walter Westinghouse", on the other hand, is noteworthy as a kind of mini-opera with characters and dialogue interaction, a trend which points towards much of The Residents later work.
Thanks to the convenient length of Compact Discs, we are happy to finally present the original "Tourniquet of Roses" as it was conceived. True, the title "Fingerprince" is still on the cover in attempt to prevent confusion, but this is the real thing, folks. Dig it.
--- The Cryptic Corporation _________________________________________________________________
Plot Outline for 6 THINGS TO A CYCLE A BALLET BY THE RESIDENTS (1976)
The curtain rises. Predawn blue spills across the sky silhouetting a jungle of thick vegetation. A fire burns in the foreground casting shadows upon a ring of strangely dressed and postured figures. The jungle breathes a primitive rhythm into the figures who become animated while watched by large birds who devour them as the sun rises. The birds form a line dancing from side to side as multi-colored geometric shapes fall from their mouths. The shapes grow until the jungle is pushed entirely off the stage and replaced by pulsating and occasionally flashing clouds of smoke.
The shapes revolve around a central axis which grows higher against a smoke-filled backdrop. On top of the central shape is a figure heavily draped with layers of bright silk cloth each slowly being lifted by invisible threads attached to the four corners and pulled tight so that each cloth slowly becomes a squared forming a backdrop for the dancer. As this happens other figures appear at the base of the shape and call to the mysterious image. As the figure is revealed in its true state, the geometric shapes open offering forth the dream of Utopia. © 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
THE 13TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR: LIVE IN THE USA (1985)
This two CD set is a re-release of a double cassette recording of the Minneapolis performance of The 13th Anniversary Show on February 10, 1986. Both the cassette and CD releases were limited pressings with 500 copies each.
The concert opens with a eulogy for the Residential Eyeball which was stolen from a dressing room earlier in the tour.
The emphasized song titles below are songs which appear on the recording but aren't listed in the program. _________________________________________________________________
The 13th Anniversary Tour: Live in the USA
* Intro * Part 1 (14:56) + Lizard Lady + Semolina + Hello Skinny + Constantinople * Part 2 (14:44) + Jailhouse Rock + Where is She? + Picnic in the Jungle * Part 3 (11:01) + Smelly Tongues + Eloise + Ship's Agoin' Down + New Machine + Tourniquet of Roses * Part 4 (17:10) + I Got Rhythm + Passing the Bottle + Monkey & Bunny + Theme for an American TV Show + Man's Man's Man's World * Part 5 (9:00) + Walter Westinghouse * Part 6 (13:59) + Easter Woman + Amber + Red Rider + Die in Terror + Coming of the Crow + Eva's Warning + Coming of the Crow (reprise) * Part 7 (13:18) + Big Bubble + Hop a Little + Cry for the Fire * Encore (5:22) + Diskomo [Prev] [Next]
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
FREAK SHOW CD-ROM LINER NOTES
These notes are a mix of notes taken from the booklet which came with the CD-ROM and a promotional booklet lent to me by the manager of the local CD-ROM store. There is some repetition. _________________________________________________________________
THE RESIDENTS FREAK SHOW
Dedicated to P.T. Barnum, whose legacy of "suckers" and "freaks" defined the yin and yang of outcast culture.
I don't see freaks. I see people. -- Federico Fellini _________________________________________________________________
HURRY, HURRY, RIGHT THIS WAY...
The Residents' Freak Show CD-ROM transforms your computer into an amazing animated twilight zone, unlike anything you've ever experienced. Meet Tex the Barker, Herman the Human Mole, Harry the Head, Wanda the Worm Woman, Jelly Jack, Benny the Bump, and those freaks of contemporary art, The Residents. See their incredible performances and navigate through bizarre backstage worlds.
Freak Show's Big Top offers amazing spectacles, but the freaks' stranger-than-fiction stories come magically to life when you sneak behind the circus tent and into their trailers. Discover fetishes, fantasies, rituals, and tragic secrets through photos, comics, music, music videos, and animation. You can even explore the history of freaks. Your fascination with "difference" will ultimately illuminate many other paths through this theme park of the imagination. Featuring spectacular animation designed by Jim Ludtke, Freak Show is a revolutionary new audio-visual experience, envisioning the future of interactive stories, music video, and digital art.
The Residents, based in San Fransisco, have created pioneering music, music videos and performance art since 1972. They are regarded as one of the world's most innovative audio-visual concept groups.
Jim Ludtke, also based in San Fransisco, is an award-winning animator and illustrator whose work has been presented by a variety of venues including The Museum of Modern Art and Nickelodeon. _________________________________________________________________
Hurry, hurry, hurry, step right up to The Residents' Freak Show, a 3-D animated interactive CD-ROM based on the music and stories of the world's best-known unknown musicians. In their ever-unique style, The Residents, animator Jim Ludtke, and the Voyager Company, bring you Freak Show. _________________________________________________________________
And Now The Freak Show Cast...
More than anything else, The Residents Freak Show CD-ROM is a collection of interconnected stories about the down-and-out inhabitants of a fantasy freak show. _________________________________________________________________
HARRY THE HEAD
Harry the Head is dead. No one was too upset when he died, though. It seems that Harry, like a lot of little men, was a bully and no one is ever too upset when a bully dies, even one as pathetically dependent as Harry. His wife was the only one who had any positive feelings about him. Even though she didn't like him very much, she cherished the fact that despite his shouting and bluster, he needed her more than anyone ever had or ever would.
Harry did have one redeeming quality. He was a painter. Not a very good painter, but at least by attempting the act of art, Harry faintly reflected the possibility that poetry and romance must have existed somewhere in his dark soul. He painted sunsets with a brush that he held in his teeth.
Other than his painting there was only one thing people remembered about Harry. He always said that he wanted to be preserved in a bottle of formaldehyde after he died and that it would make him live forever. Harry got his wish. _________________________________________________________________
HERMAN THE HUMAN MOLE
Herman hides. He hates the light and he hates to be clean and he hates people.
Herman lives in a special trailer full of dirt with walls made of glass. Inside there are hollowed-out rooms connected by short tunnels. In one corner is Herman's bedroom which also contains his primary link to the outside world, a telephone. His living room with a TV is on the other side of the trailer, and in the middle is the smallest room of all. It's just big enough for a upright baby grand piano that he plays when he thinks no one is around.
Herman the Human Mole is a freak, but not the kind everyone thinks he is. He has a secret. _________________________________________________________________
WANDA THE WORM WOMAN
Wanda the Worm Woman was once a nun. Now she's middle aged and fat, but when she was younger and lived in a convent, Wanda was beautiful. Too beautiful in fact, because she attracted the attention of a handsome young priest. Though they tried to deny their yearnings, the cloistered couple could not keep from developing a passionate romance. After the affair came to a tragic end, Wanda felt so guilty that she left the convent, but the seeds had been sown for her lifelong obsessions: God, eating and worms.
Now Wanda is a geek. She's "Wanda the Worm Woman", who weighs 340 lbs and makes her living by letting people watch her suck worms. Her head is perpetually puffy from insect bites, but somehow she radiates a smiling peace that suggests Mother Theresa on Christmas morning.
Wanda is not a well worm woman, though. _________________________________________________________________
TEX THE BARKER
Tex doesn't like himself very much. Once a lion tamer, he lost his nerve and now thinks the whole world is just as dishonest and cynical as he is, only not quite as smart. His attitude is an armor against the world that no one ever penetrates, but it does have one little crack, one tiny hole. It's Wanda, The Worm Woman with her ponderous pile of unsightly flesh, and her easy, enigmatic smile. It's the smile of Buddha and the smile of Mona Lisa and a smile that traps Tex between desire and disgust as he stands paralyzed in the shadows outside her trailer. He doesn't remember how many times he's heard the soft sobbing sounds that faintly emanate from within.
Tex also loves to reminisce, if you pour him a few drinks. _________________________________________________________________
JELLY JACK THE BONELESS BOY
Jelly Jack is the most helpless and immobile freak in the show. Without a bone in his body, he's not only unable to move, he can't even speak. Like a human sponge he constantly soaks up his surroundings, but nothing ever comes back out. Jelly lives his life in a glass box, leaving it only when he performs.
His act is, of course, quite brief. After an appropriate introduction, he is poured out onto a platform and there he lies. The audience is at first stunned that such a freak of nature could exist, but quickly becomes bored and moves on to the next performer. Soon he's back in his box and back in his mind, which is the only world he can ever really know.
In this inner world Jelly sees a light so bright it burns his brain and becomes his God. In a low rumbling voice the light speaks to him of heat and saliva and fills his mind with the only passion and sensuality available to a lonely boneless boy. _________________________________________________________________
MICKEY THE MUMBLING MIDGET
It's Mickey's birthday.
But we discover that he's no longer in his cage and has apparently run away. Soon his scabby figure is discovered by a beautiful collie as he sleeps on a suburban lawn. At first she's confused, but soon becomes overwhelmed by his sensuous musky odor. Mickey, it seems, is not really a strange midget who has problems speaking clearly, but is actually a shaved baboon. The two quickly become engulfed by the waves of forbidden desire and ultimately have no choice but to run away together.
Theirs is obviously a doomed love but one in which both parties are compelled to follow this passion until the affair reaches its inevitably dark conclusion -- a conclusion best left to our imaginations. _________________________________________________________________
BOUNCING BENNY THE BUMP
No one knows exactly what the bump is. Its shapeless mass, not unlike a boneless cellulite- laden thigh, protrudes from the center of Benny's chest, droops downward and ends in a blobby nub just below his belly button. Since he's dimwitted, overweight and far from handsome, the bump is easily Benny's only outstanding feature. But he is at least bright enough to manage a decent income by performing a bare-chested bouncing dance that most find quite disturbing.
Benny doesn't plan on working in a carnival sideshow forever, though. Every night, just before he goes to sleep, he pulls out his collection of female wrestling magazines, looks at the pictures of his favorites and fixates on his dream. He dreams of someday making friends with his own lady wrestler and of how he'll hold his hooded honey's hand, even if she is a little mean sometimes. _________________________________________________________________
Biography: The Residents
The Residents hold a unique place in Western entertainment history, as they have been able to both predict and influence the music/performance/media movements of their time by simply following their own restless imaginations. An equally prominent fact is that the group's members have no public personalities, having decided at the outset that the personal details of the individuals were irrelevant to the group's work and its promotion.
This mystery begins around 1970 in San Mateo, California (20 miles south of San Francisco) when four non-musicians began experimenting with their favorite instrument, the multitrack recorder. Their first distributed product was the now legendary Santa Dog, a set of two 45 rpm discs sent as Christmas cards in 1972. Since that time the Residents have released nearly 20 album length discs, as well as many singles and EPs, that cover a vast range in both content and concept.
While breaking new ground musically might be enough for some groups, The Residents chose to make a pioneering step into visual media with the 1976 video, The Third Reich N' Roll. The Museum of Modern Art in New York later recognized The Residents as one of the inventors of the music video form and added that video and another, The Residents' One Minute Movies, to their permanent collection.
After 10 years of taking many directions in their music and video, The Residents felt it was time to challenge the boundaries of music theater and performance art. That first effort was the ambitious Mole Show, which toured Europe in 1982-83. Later performance tours were The 13th Anniversary Show and CUBE E: The History of American Music in 3 E-Z Pieces which took the group around the world including places such as Yugoslavia and Israel.
Over the years, The Residents have been asked to produce scores for a number of unusual film and video projects. Among them are the feature film, The Census Taker, the animated short, Slow Bob in the Lower Dimensions (for MTV), and the television series, Pee Wee's Playhouse. The Residents are currently working on the score for a 10-part series on predators for the Discovery Channel.
With over twenty years of creative experimentation behind them, The Residents continue to break new ground with the Freak Show CD-ROM. Solidly pointed toward the future, their prolific energy shows no sign of diminishing as they confidently plan new projects that will take them well into the next millennium. _________________________________________________________________
Without the participation of animator and designer Jim Ludtke, and publisher The Voyager Company, The Residents' Freak Show CD-ROM would not have been possible.
Biography: Jim Ludtke
Jim Ludtke, primary designer and animator of The Residents Freak Show CD-ROM, has been winning awards and the accolades of his prominent clients since the mid-1970's. His career as an illustrator began with work for Playboy Magazine while he was still attending the Chicago Academy of Fine Art. Over the years he has created print work for Sony, Newsweek, Macworld, MacUser, Digital Equipment corporation, canon, Nintendo, AT&T, The New York Times and Macromedia, among many others. His animation clients include Nabisco, Nintendo, MTV, Time Warner New Media and The Voyager Company.
As a leader in the computer imaging field, Jim is frequently asked to lecture and present his work. Recently he was a featured speaker at the Macworld "Image and Tools" conference and an Apple-sponsored guest lecturer at the AIGA "More" conference. His San Francisco studio also operates as a Beta site for many Macromedia products and for the Electric Image Animation System.
Jim's animation has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at Nicograph in Tokyo. His illustration work has been featured at the Bunkamura Gallery in Tokyo and in a San Francisco group show sponsored by Adobe. He won First Place Animation honors in the 1991 and 1992 Macworld Magazine MacMasters contests and also earned a 1991 Pantone Color Award for his illustration work.
The Freak Show CD-ROM is Ludtke's second collaboration with The Residents. The first was the 3D animated music video, Harry the Head.
Some Media Bites
"...it took The Residents to transform CD-ROM from simply a "new medium" to an art-form." -- NY Press
"the most arresting and innovative interactive CD-ROM... a multi-media masterpiece." -- CD Review
"Perhaps the most fully developed interactive experience..." -- Wired
"...Freak Show has an artfully eerie feel... the only CD-ROM with a worm-eater on it." -- TIME
"...the most elaborately worked out of the (CD-ROM) discs..." -- Esquire © 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
SANTA DOG '72 LYRICS
by Ivory & The Braineaters
Santa Dog's a Jesus Fetus Santa Dog's a Jesus Fetus Santa Dog's a Jesus Fetus Has no presents, Has no presence In the future... ...In the future
A fleeting and a sleeting scene of snowness and of sleeves A fleeting and a sleeting scene of snowness and of sleeves A fleeting and a sleeting scene of snowness and of sleeves A fleeting and a sleeting scene of snowness and of sleeves A fleeting and a sleeting scene of snowness and of sleeves
A fleeting and a sleeting scene of snowness severed sleeves Bing, Bing, Bing, Bong, Bong, Bong, Snowness severed sleeves
A fleeting and a greeting scene of effervescent eves Bing, Bing, Bing, Bong, Bong, Bong, Effervescent eves
Greeting and a meeting team of hoarse and frosty words Bing, Bing, Bing, Bong, Bong, Bong, Hoarse and frosty words
A greeting and a cheating team and other noxious herbs Bing, Bing, Bing, Bong, Bong, Bong, Other noxious herbs
A fleeting and a sleeting scene of snowness and of sleeves A fleeting and a sleeting scene of snowness and of sleeves
Santa Dog Has no presents Has no presence In the Future! _________________________________________________________________
by Delta Nudes
by The College Walkers
When everyone lives in the future, The present is au revoir When everyone lives in the future, The present is au revoir When everyone lives in the future, The present is au revoir When everyone lives in the future, The present is au revoir
Something pale and mercenary Left a pile of turkey Very near a little Spanish town And every day the big cranberries Peer into the mouths of all the Marys Being held for nothing more Than being what was there before All this happened. _________________________________________________________________
by Arf & Omega featuring The Singing Lawnchairs
This song comes directly from the original film of Vileness Fats (as opposed to the cut-down and re-scored Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats. It is a chant Arf & Omega use to try to summon the Indian princess Weescoosa to help them save the town of Vileness Fats.
A lot of the text here makes no sense and looks like I've inserted (near-)homonyms in for the proper words: for example, "eyes are big for what they wait" instead of "weight". In fact, the homonyms are in the original script, put in by The Residents themselves, deliberately messing around with phonetics to add to the confusion.
Arf & Omega: Weescoosa! Weescoosa!
Arf: New Mexico delivers --
Arf & Omega: Weescoosa!
Omega: But the message must be anyway;
Arf: Adenauer's gilded flower's towered over me for years,
Omega: But now I need a new excuse;
Arf & Omega: Weescoosa! Weescoosa! Weescoosa...
Arf & Omega (staggered): ...knows the way!
Arf: She'll free that tree strewn river gravy --
Omega: Rushin' down the animal death knoll stream;
Arf & Omega: Feeding mouths with wings of trouts and wheeling trays of peppered snouts
Arf: To inside civil eyed horny totin' baking pies;
Omega: Eyes are big for what they wait.
Arf: They stand on backs too weak for stakes
Omega: The game will have to change before the effervescence is real.
Arf: And I don't even care!
Omega: Oh boy! Hamburgers... Mayonnaise... Mustard... Kicking cats and Vileness Fats for caviar --
Arf: Do you ever?
Omega: Do you ever
Arf & Omega: Wonder who you are?
Omega: Well, Kick a cat --
Arf: Kick a cat --
Arf & Omega: Kick a cat today!
Omega: Fish are dumb --
Arf: Pluck an eye from one
Arf & Omega: Kick a cat, Kick a cat, Kick a cat today; Fish are dumb, pluck an eye from one!
[Repeat, slowly joined by The Singing Lawnchairs]
The Singing Lawnchairs: Weescoosa Knows The Way...
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-01-16
THE EYES SCREAM (1991)
Narrated by Penn & Teller, this documentary covers the career of The Residents. It includes clips from videos, live shows, and interviews with people who work with The Residents, such as Homer Flynn and Hardy Fox of the Cryptic Corporation. (There are no discussions with the Eyeball Guys themselves -- they don't like to talk.) The video contains parts from most of their videos as well as excerpts from various TV appearances, such as the performances of From the Plains to Mexico and Teddy Bear from their appearance on David Sanborn's Night Music.
The Eyes Scream was directed by John Sanborn, who also directed the live sequences on the Freak Show Video.
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
THE EARLY PERFORMANCES (1971-1976)
The Boarding House (1971)
On October 18th, 1971, The Residents (joined by Snakefinger, the mysterious N. Senada, and Margaret Smik playing the part of night-club singer Peggy Honeydew) crashed Audition Night at The Boarding House in San Francisco. They put on a half-hour show featuring their music, with N. Senada reading poetry and playing saxophone. Most of the performance became the second side of Baby Sex, their last unreleased album before they started to publish their work.
The performance was videotaped, though the quality of the image is reported to be poor. Most of the show appears on the Stranger Than Supper and Daydream B-Liver collections from UWEB. Rumor has it that the person introducing Something Devilish is N. Senada himself.
It was at this performance that the infamous photo of Snakefinger playing violin was taken. The Residents thought that his pinky in the photograph looked like a snake about to strike at the instrument, and it was then that Philip Lithman was nicknamed "Snakefinger". _________________________________________________________________
The Party of '72 (1972)
Matt Groening's The True Story of The Residents refers to a concert on Halloween, 1971, but the listing for the second live show in Uncle Willie's Highly Opinionated Guide To The Residents is of a concert on on December 2nd, 1972, in Redwood City, California. Other than that, I have no information either way on the second show. _________________________________________________________________
Oh Mummy! Oh Daddy! Can't You See That It's True; What the Beatles Did to Me, "I Love Lucy" Did to You (1976)
Oh Mummy! Oh Daddy! was a special show put on for the fifth anniversary of Rather Ripped Records on June 7th, 1976. The Residents showed 16mm clips from their ongoing Vileness Fats movie project, as well as the Land of 1000 Dances video which they had made to promote The Third Rock 'N' Roll. The band was joined by Snakefinger and Ziebak in performances of short versions of Satisfaction and Six Things to a Cycle from Fingerprince. For the performance, The Residents wrapped themselves up in bandages like mummies and Snakefinger dressed as a giant artichoke. These costumes proved to be a problem, as they'd rehearsed without them, and when they got on stage, they found that it was rather difficult to play their instruments while dressed up like this.
Aside from that small oversight, the concert was planned out very thoroughly. Most of the music was pre-recorded, played behind the vocals and Snakefinger's guitar. Vileness Fats's Arf & Omega put in an appearance performing Kick a Cat, and excerpt from Santa Dog. This track appears on UWEB's Liver Music collection. Some video footage exists, but is not available commercially. © 1996 Tzoq
THE THIRD REICH 'N' ROLL (1976)
This album is the first published example of two things which The Residents became experts at: the concept album, and music about music. Considered by some to be the cornerstone of The Residents' reputation, The Third Reich 'N' Roll consists of two tracks, one on each side, each track a medley of deconstructed (dismembered?) covers of popular songs from the 60s. It is another expression of the Theory of Obscurity: where Not Available is a demonstration of what can be accomplished by removing the audience, The Third Reich 'N' Roll tackles music which was overly influenced by the potential audience and the high sales figures demanded by the "fascist music industry", represented on the album's cover by Dick Clark dressed in a Nazi uniform and holding a tempting carrot. Rumor has it that Clark thought the cover was hilarious, and has a copy framed in his office.
In the original album liner notes, The Cryptic Corporation says it's The Residents' "tribute to the thousands of little power-mad minds in the music industry who have helped make us what we are today, with an open eye on what we can make them tomorrow." The Classic Series CD liner notes call the album a "scathingly satirical look at '60's bubble-gum rock somehow twisted into shocking '70's bubble-gum avant-guard". Various other people have called it "pop meets dada", "the 60's as done by the 70's German avant-garde", and (as Uncle Willie put it), "taking all your favorite bubble gum riffs from the sixties, dress them up in avant-guard drag, and send them into the streets to break windows".
The album was recorded (for the most part) over two one-week sessions, the first in October, 1974, and the second one year later. The Residents would take a recording of the original song being covered on one track with their band-new Tascam 8-track, then lay down the band's tracks over top, one by one. When the cover was complete, they erased the original. For the most part, the songs appear one after the other, in a simple medley format, though there are some overlapping numbers. The whole thing ends with a quodlibet (multiple songs played simultaneously and harmonizing) of Inna Gadda Da Vida, Hey Jude, and Sympathy for the Devil. They were joined on the album by Gary Phillips, as well as their favorite guitarist, Snakefinger.
The Residents put a lot of effort into the packaging and promotion of the album. Unfortunately, many of their ideas backfired. In keeping with the "Third Reich" theme, the promotional photos featured men with giant swastikas around their necks, sometimes at large board meeting type tables. (One photo also features the first appearance of a giant skull, which would one day replace a Resident's eyeball head.) The Nazi references and swastikas were a problem all through the album's history (which isn't really all that surprising). The album couldn't be released in Germany at all until Ralph Records had designed a completely new cover, since swastikas are illegal there. The band had 2500 copies of that release printed.
The Residents also made a film to promote the album -- one of the very first music videos. It involved The Residents in newspaper costumes, dancing around to the album's version of Land of 1000 Dances in a newspaper world they created in their studio. The second half of the film consists of pixelated animation of a newspaper man, an Atomic Shopping Cart, and various other props. The newspaper costumes caused more problems, though, since the tall, conical hoods led some of people to think that the band was promoting the Klu Klux Klan. In actual fact, the costumes were made that way because that was the simplest way to make a head-covering out of newspaper.
In spite of the difficulties with the promotional material (the photos weren't used, and the KKK speculation didn't hit until later), the album did fairly well, selling out the 1000 copies printed. This was a big improvement over Meet the Residents, the last album which The Residents had marketed (the album before The Third Reich 'N' Roll, Not Available, hadn't been released yet), and the success of the new album helped revive sales of the older one.
The band performed several parts from the album at the 5th Anniversary celebration concert for Rather Ripped Records, called Oh Mummy! Oh Daddy! Can't You See That It's True; What the Beatles Did to Me, "I Love Lucy" Did to You. As a further promotion, Ralph Records released a special twenty-five copy The Third Reich 'N' Roll Collector's Box in 1980. The packaging was very elaborate: the disk was hand pressed in red marbled vinyl with a silk-screened sleeve and labels, in a velvet-lined black wooden box. The box opened by a sliding panel which was hand silk-screened with the cover art, and contained two signed and numbered lithographs. The whole thing was bundled up in a draw-string bag.
The Classics re-issue of the album also includes four tracks from two singles, Satisfaction / Loser=Weed and The Beatles Play The Residents and The Residents Play The Beatles.
Satisfaction was another promotional piece for The Third Reich 'N' Roll, and applied the album's deconstructive approach to the Rolling Stones' famous song. The Beatles Play The Residents and The Residents Play The Beatles took a slightly different approach: the first side consists of cuts and segments from various Beatles songs, strung together to make a huge mess of sound (The Beatles playing The Residents). Side two is a Reich-esque cover of Flying, chosen for the treatment because it was the only song which the band could find which cites all four Beatles as writers.
Each side of the original album was one track -- making the program listing very short. I've padded it out here with lists of the songs which appear on each side. Thanks to Keith Roberts for improving on my version of the list, and to Larry Brown for filling in some of the remaining gaps. If you can add anything to the list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! _________________________________________________________________
The Third Reich 'N' Roll
1. Swastikas On Parade (17:30) + (00:00) Let's Twist Again (German Version) -- Chubby Checker (sampled) + (00:28) Land Of 1000 Dances -- Chris Kenner (also Cannibal & The Headhunters) + (02:23) Hanky Panky -- Tommy James & The Shondells + (04:29) A Horse With No Name -- America (played over Double Shot) + (04:21) Double Shot Of My Baby's Love -- The Swingin' Medallions + (06:30) The Letter -- The Box Tops (also Joe Cocker) + (08:28) Psychotic Reaction -- Count Five + (10:15) Hey, Little Girl -- Syndicate of Sound + (11:33) Papa's Got A Brand New Bag -- James Brown (sung in German) (samples from the original at 12:03 & 12:25) + (12:50) Talk Talk -- The Music Machine (also Erik Lindgren or Alice Cooper) + (13:50) I Want Candy -- The Strangeloves (also Bow Wow Wow) + (14:22) To Sir, With Love -- Lulu + (14:37) Wipe Out -- The Surfaris + (14:23) Heroes And Villains The Beach Boys 2. Hitler Was A Vegetarian (18:27) + (00:00) Judy In Disguise (With Glasses) -- John Fred & His Playboy Band. + (00:46) 96 Tears ? And The Mysterians + (01:41) It's My Party -- Lesley Gore + (02:50) Light My Fire -- The Doors + (03:33) Ballad Of The Green Berets -- Sgt. Barry Sadler + (05:12) Yummy Yummy Yummy -- Ohio Express + (08:24) Rock Around The Clock -- Bill Haley & His Comets + (09:02) Pushing Too Hard -- The Seeds + (10:02) Good Lovin' -- The (Young) Rascals + (11:45) Gloria -- Them featuring Van Morrison + (12:51) In A Gadda Da Vida -- Iron Butterfly + (14:02) Sunshine Of Your Love -- Cream + (15:01) Hey Jude -- Beatles + (17:54) Sympathy For The Devil -- Rolling Stones