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The Residents

Related: American music - experimental music

photo of The Residents


The Residents are an avant garde music and visual arts group. They started performing in the early 1970s and released their first album in 1974. [Aug 2006]

Throughout their 30+ year history, The Residents have always cloaked their lives and music in obscurity. The band members, who appear to be 4 or 5 in number, refuse to grant interviews, and do not identify themselves by name or even individual pseudonyms. Concerts and photo shoots are always performed in full disguise, most recognizably in white tie tuxedos, top hats and giant eyeball masks (in the mid 1980s, one member's eyeball mask was stolen, so it was replaced with a giant skull mask). Any interviews or PR work are done directly by the band's hired management team, known as The Cryptic Corporation, and despite speculation, the members of the PR group deny that they themselves are members of the band. It is believed that at least one member of the group is female, and it has been speculated that the group may include well-known musicians who, perhaps, are under contract to other record companies, which would necessitate maintaining some form of anonymity.

For their part, The Residents simply feel that artists do their best work without the influence of an audience, should only be judged by their work, and that a band members' genders, ethnicities, line-up changes, and most importantly daily life outside of the band, are irrelevant. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Residents [May 2005]

Meet the Residents (1974) - Residents

  • Meet the Residents (1974) - Residents [Amazon.com]
    The Residents' early work is perhaps their most bizarre and challenging. Mixing elements of Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, John Cage, and Sun Ra with their twisted sense of song structure, they craft an odd and often indescribable musical collage unmatched by anything that came before them. Allegedly, the band sent a tape (bluntly-titled "The Warner Bros. Album") to Warner Bros., who ended up passing on the record. Since no name had been written on the package, the rejection slip was sent to 'residents' at the return address. The group adopted the name and decided to put out their stuff themselves, forming Ralph Records in 1972. This album is much more primitive sounding, in both the music and the production technology, than their later synthesizer work. Most of the tracks utilize analog tape effects and more traditional instruments like piano, guitar and horns. The album's infamous cover, a defacing of "Meet The Beatles," enraged Capitol Records (although, supposedly one of the Beatles found it funny and bought a copy). This new re-release benefits greatly from the 20-bit mastering, clearing up much of the previously muddy sound. The original CD release had paired this record with the four songs from their first single, "Santa Dog," but they are no longer included (they can now be found on the 1999 Residents collection, "Refused"). Despite the proliferation of contemporary oddball acts that these guys have influenced (Primus, Ween, Mr. Bungle), this disc still sounds as warped and otherworldly as ever. --Myke O'Clock for amazon.com

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