Showing posts with label The Residents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Residents. Show all posts

Sunday, February 24, 2019

BEST OF 2018 ~ BACH IS DEAD ~ Goodbye Hardy Fox

Fall 2018 

"Fall is a time to say goodbye to summer as the days get shorter and living things prepare to embrace dormancy."

The warm, sun-heated concrete felt soothing on my bare back. It would have been far too hot to have done this a month earlier, but the sunlight was warm and comfortable today. It isn't as intense this time of year. 

I was in a semi-meditative mode and enjoying the warmth of the waning season, my mind turned to the news about Hardy Fox, who, for over four decades has worked under the radar as the mysteriously anonymous composer for The Residents. Last week, Hardy basically said goodbye to everyone. Apparently something to do with his brain.
Thoughts of hospital environments filled my head as I visualized the beeping and whirring of medical equipment and other unmistakable sounds associated with hospitals. In my mind's eye, I could envision his environment. I imagined him to be unconscious, but mindful of the many subtle and ambient sounds around him... the accompaniment to his transition from life to...?

I reflected on the fact that Mr. Fox would never compose again and wondered, how long he will endure before his time expires in this world. At that moment, a nearby raven intruded upon my meditation, and as if in reply to my mental query, it belted out the unmistakable words, BACH IS DEAD. I wondered, "Did I really hear that or am I just caught up in this mental exercise?" I kept my eyes closed, leaving my imaginations of the inhospitable hospital,  and began focusing intently upon the sounds around me. And, again, I heard the raven proclaim, BACH IS DEAD. The visitor* repeated his message a few more times, before flying off. That was weird.

Within a few days, it was announced that Mr. Fox had died and now I'm reflecting upon the impression that his compositions have made on me personally. I first discovered The Residents in 1979 and was immediately intrigued by the originality of the music and the mystique of the band's spooky and dapper persona. The music has been the soundtrack of my life since. I could go on and on about that, but others have memorialized Mr. Fox, therefore I'll forgo doing so here and recommend the NPR article by Jason Roth.  

Hardy Fox is a legend. A mostly unknown legend, but a legend nevertheless. His music will live forever. 


 Best Vinyl 2018

And with Hardy Fox in mind, none of this year's Best Of victors would exist without his influence. 

For 2018 we present a trilogy of unrelated, yet related records whilst giving special attention to originality and focusing on really neat special edition vinyl and unique presentation.


by The Residents

I doubt that The Residents have ever received a best of award for anything other than being named most weird or most unusual. That all just changed.

The Residents are appreciated for their indefatigable propensity for completely unique and intriguing material that is always surprising and possesses an edge of dark relevance in an ever changing world. The Residents projects are always on the cutting edge of technology, alchemically wedded to art. 

The Residents put the eye in idea and in 2017, announced their new project. As usual, it was something no one had ever done. The Residents invited their fans to submit their own versions of any Residents song. The favorites would be included on the I Am A Resident album. But the end result was nothing like anyone had imagined. 

The Residents received nearly 200 submissions of fans' cover songs and soon narrowed it down to fifty. The fans were allowed to vote for their favorites and a lucky handful made the final cut, including Chesty Vulva with three winning submissions. 

The final product was reinvented as a cohesive interwoven mish-mash of the cover songs with The Residents playing and singing along with these fans. It definitely sounds like The Residents too... whatever that means. 

The 12" vinyl version contains seven tracks: mix mashed versions of the winning submissions. Now that vinyl is the rediscovered popular thing again, The Residents bucked the trend by issuing an extra special CD version that contains an extra disc with 24 additional tracks. The tunes on disc two are entries that have not been tampered with by The Residents, a fulfillment of or return to, the original concept. 

The Residents kick started the I Am A Resident project with some Pledge Music incentives, one of which being a very special vinyl record; A Vast Fusion of Nice People, The Residents - Vinyl Art

There has never been a record anything like this one. Three pieces snap together to create a 12" one sided record - three tracks, (one per ring).... and there are only twenty-five of them, (records not sections. There are 75 of those). According to unconfirmed information sourced from an internet rumor mill, there are four different colored versions, green, red, blue and brown. But no one knows for sure. Not even Santa, (it didn't make his list). Here's a short video clip demonstrating this amazing record that I found on The Residents Bookface page.

I Am A Resident is best appreciated by the most hardcore fans whose familiarity and personal attachment to The Residents make it a necessity, although anyone can enjoy it. Probably not most people, but some... maybe ~ maybe not


SUBJECTS by Chesty Vulva

As noted previously, three of Chesty Vulva's submissions were included as part of the I Am A Resident release. The Subjects record had been in the works before the I Am A Resident project and, as fate would have it, released on the same day as I Am A Resident, giving it some attention and momentum that it otherwise might not have received. And, the response has been great. People really like this record.

Subjects is a beautiful record. Beautiful in many ways, musically and artistically. From the first note you feel as though something profound is happening. And you WILL feel. 

Although Subjects is inspired by The Residents, it certainly doesn't sound like them and stands on its own merits. One of my favorite records in many ways.  

Wake up in a dream of flying monkeys, scarecrows and witches. One can't miss the overt Wizard of Oz theme which is emphasized on the cover art and lyrics.  

Subjects was released on CD, individually numbered, standard black vinyl and two special colored versions, green and yellow. Some of the yellow versions have streaks of green and red that create a lovely effect and contribute to the Wizard of Oz theme, (ruby red slippers and the Emerald City).
Chesty Vulva is the brainchild of artist, Brian Salazar, and Subjects is their first release on vinyl. Salazar ambitiously played all of the instruments on all of the tracks except one and wrote all of the songs with the exception of one. The name, Chesty Vulva, comes from the assumed lyrics of a Morrissey song. Salazar isn't even sure if the lyric is correct, but it seems to be the perfect name for his band, so Chesty Vulva it is. You can't unhear Chesty Vulva.

Chesty Vulva went the extra public relations mile sending Christmas cards to everyone who purchased Subjects. There are also T shirts, stickers, pins and magnets available at the official website

Subjects is an outstanding record that gets better and more interesting with each listen. It's one of those records that is easy to listen to. again and again.


INTRUDERS by The Residents

Released just weeks before Hardy Fox died, Intruders is an unexpected treasure of music and product. 

Psychofon Records released three very special vinyl editions of Intruders and its companion 7" single, The Intruder. The Die Hard Edition is limited to 111 hand numbered copies, The cover is printed on a transparent film and the vinyl glows in the dark. 

Another version of Intruders is pressed on special UV sensitive material that glows under black light. Absolutely stunning beauty ensues. 
 Last but not least is the yellow vinyl version - limited to 250 copies. 

Included with the Die Hard Edition is a one sided 7" single of the song, The Intruder; a track not included on the LP or CD.

Psychofon Records also released a lovely violet version of The Intruder single that includes a demo version of the song, Voo Doo Doll on the B side. Limited to 100 copies.

And, as if that isn't enough, Psychofon also released a mini CD of the single, The Intruder/Voo Doo Doll (Demo Version).

Keeping with the trend-bucking theme of presenting the compact disc as viable and attractive, the CD version of Intruders includes a nifty booklet in addition to three tracks that don't appear on any of the vinyl versions. 

Hardy Fox doesn't appear on Intruders and a keen ear can detect his absence. It has been suggested that some of Intruders was composed by Fox around 2012. Although Fox doesn't appear on Intruders, his influence is undoubtedly present. 

RIP Hardy, and long live The Residents.

*grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore"


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Randy Beware

By now, everyone has heard Bigfoot Beware, the hit single by Randy Rose, the singer for the Residents. 

Bigfoot Beware, is a sad story about Randy's dog, Sniffy, who was eaten by Bigfoot in 1963. Now, more than a half century later, Randy has sworn vengeance on Bigfoot and is actively pursuing the beast with the intention of killing him. 

Angelika Schwartz, a noted psychic medium and Sasquatch preservation enthusiast, has voiced concern over Randy's quest and has taken it upon herself to psychically communicate with Bigfoot.

Ms. Schwartz said that she induced herself into a deep trance and contacted Bigfoot to find out why he ate Randy's dog and to warn him of Randy's intentions. Schwartz documented the event by means of psychography (automatic writing), a technique in which an entranced person can write without being conscious of writing.

The result was startling. Apparently, Randy's dog, was quite a terror to the Squatch family, and had repeatedly scared off the wild animals they relied on for food.

Bigfoot also indicated that he's still keeping tabs on Randy, and that it is Randy who should beware. Apparently, Bigfoot doesn't take kindly to threats. 

To contact the great beast, Ms. Schwartz channeled Francis Bacon, to act as an intermediary, (Mmm bacon). Bigfoot's response therefore reflect an overtly Shakespearean English flare. Following, is the manuscript of Bigfoot's reply to Ms. Schwartz's.
This was the land of Squatch long before the walking skunk monkeys camest from across the great deep. We beheld the occupation of our land and our food supply dwindled at the hands of the invaders. 

Now, our Squatch families liveth in hiding as the dwellings of the skunk monkeys continue to encroacheth upon our lands of inheritance. These evil beasts hath displaced our tribe, and hath driven us into the shadows where we watcheth and waiteth for our day of deliverance.

I rememberest all that hath taken place.

Fifty-three solar cycles past, that little dog becamest quite a nuisance. The dog and its young skunk monkey, the one thou callest Randy, would recklessly tromp through the woods and frighten off our prey. 

And it came to pass, that one day, the dog had frightened away a jackalope that we were desiring to feast upon, therefore we resorted to locust larvae for sustenance.

And it came to pass that whilst we were feasting upon the locust larvae, I perceived a sweet odour lofting upon the misty air; the unmistakable scent of cooking flesh. And it came to pass that I departed from the wilderness to discover the source of the sweet odor and maybe find some food to bring back. 

And it came to pass that as I passed through an open field that I encountered an unsuspecting cat. Sustained by the stringy flesh of the feline, I pressed on toward the source of the smoky meaty odor.

And it came to pass that from the levy, I beheld a family gathered together, holding what appeared to be cattails over a fire. Intrigued, I crept closer and discovered that it was the one whom thou callest Randy and his elders cooking cattail shaped flesh fastened to the ends of long sticks.  

And it came to pass that as I hid myself in the shadows, I beheld that the vessels from which they were drinking were within my reach. I waited, silently, patiently and when the family was distracted by one of the meats falling into the hot coals, I put forth mine hand and sprinkled some dream powder into their beverages. 

And it came to pass that the adolescent skunk monkey retrieved the charred, ash covered meat from the hot fiery coals. Burning his fingers in the process, he, without haste placed the steaming meat upon a table next to the beverages. The meat looked and smelled so delightful, but I patiently refrained myself and moved not. 

And it came to pass that after inspecting his burned fingers, and determining that there was no significant harm done, the adolescent picked up the meat, brushed off some of the ash and bitest off a portion. And it came to pass that the meat was hot upon his tongue and without hesitation, he reached forth for his beverage and began drinking. And it came to pass that the family, humoured by the entertaining set of events, joined together in laughter. And it came to pass that they raised forth their beverage vessels in unison, uttered a celebratory chant, and consumed their drinks. 

And it came to pass that they fell fast asleep because of the dream powder I had administered unto them. And it came to pass that whilst they slept, I gathered together what meats I could carry, and departed back into the wilderness with my spoil.

And it came to pass that no sooner had I embarked, that I heardest the tumultuous noise of the little dog who was in hot pursuit. And it came to pass that the creature overtook me at the levy and began to nip at my heels. 

And it came to pass that I madest an attempt to dissuade the creature by offering some meat, but it persisted, leaving me no alternative but to quiet the annoying pest. Permanently. And it came to pass that I returned to my family in the wilderness with the spoils of the day.

And as for the one whom thou callest Randy, and his evil designs toward me, mayest I now speaketh directly unto him.

Whilst it is true that I ate thy neighbors cat, I didst not eat thy dog. I only ate its heart. I gavest the rest to my family, who delighted in the bounty of that fruitful day.

Randy! I watcheth thee at all times. And it shall come to pass that thy words wilst condemn thee, wherefore, that which thou sayeth, that shall be done unto thee.

Randy, be ye ware.




Monday, May 29, 2017

Strangers Have Left On Longer Trains Before - Ghost of Hope by the Residents ~ a Review... sort of

Well, the superintendents of the subterranean have done it again. Ghost of Hope, the latest release by the Residents, delivers everything fans have come to expect from the masters of storytelling... and more.

If you're reading this, then you probably already know about the Residents, therefore I'll forego an introduction here, but if you need more background, cheque out this link - The Residents or What Does Salt Smell Like?

Life is a Lonely Train

I waited a long time for this release and was so excited when my special order from Psychofon Records finally arrived. It was special because I received two different, limited edition pressings of the Ghost of Hope; the Die Hard Lenticular Set and the Collector Edition. The latter being black and red speckled over white vinyl. The Collector Edition is limited to 250 numbered pressings and includes a six postcard set. 

Photo credit N Ritchie

The Die Hard Edition is limited to 100 pressings. This package includes two one-sided clear discs with a distinctive red spot in the center. 

I collect medical X-rays and have a snazzy light screen for viewing them. When I noticed that the cover art on the Die Hard Edition is translucent and resembles X-ray prints, I couldn't resist taking a look. 

The label image is lenticular, meaning that it appears differently depending on viewer perspective. 

 3D images of lenticular label

Also included in the Die Hard edition is a 7" one-sided glow in the dark 45 rpm record featuring the song,Train vs Elephant
Photo credit Don Fickles

And, as if that wasn't enough, the Die Hard Edition also includes a 10" x 10" lenticular print of the album cover.
3D representation of 10"x10" lenticular print

Another limited edition version of Ghost of Hope was released a few weeks later. The Red Splatter version is limited to 100 pressings and may be the most striking visual of any of the versions.

 bright background
I'm not even going to mention the music on Ghost of Hope except to say that this record was produced by and features Eric Drew Feldman of Captain Beefheart, Snakefinger and Gong fame. Nolan Cook is credited for his contributions on guitar. Also noteworthy is the fact that this will be the last Residents record to feature the original Residents since Charles Bobuck recently announced his departure from the band. 
numbers 22

Good luck finding one

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bunny Boy Halloween

Where, oh where has Bunny Boy gone? 
Where, oh where can he be? 
Did he find his missing brother, Harvey? 
Did Bunny kill the Beast and save the world? 
Did good triumph over evil or did the corporations win? 

A whole lot of folks have been wondering.

Well, that's a whole lot of questions, and maybe it's no one's damn business what Bunny has been up to. But since you asked... the fact* is, Bunny recently turned up near the shores of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, behind the Zion Curtain. 

Apparently, Bunny had long overstayed his welcome at the old Balfour place in Erda where he had been staying as a guest of an old friend, Merdis. Bunny finally did find Harvey though. Maybe. Bunny said that he saw a guy who "looked an awful lot like Harvey" on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. He was passing out Book of Mormons, or Books of Mormon, (I'm not sure which). He looked a lot like Harvey. Bunny was almost 100% convinced it was him but was too scared to talk to him. The cat had his tongue. I'll bet that hurt.

Bunny was still fast asleep in the guest haus, (actually an old shed he shared with a wheel barrow and other burryin' tools), when Merdis arrived to evict him. Bunny got dressed and announced that he was heading to Santa Cruz, CA for Halloween and immediately departed on his long journey across two and a half states. 

Bunny saw lots of interesting things whilst walking across the desert; salt water, rocks, dirt, even some bushes. The Jack Rabbits were all unfriendly and didn't want to talk to him though. That made Bunny sad. 

Half way across Nevada, Bunny's feet were tired so he decided to take a rest at the Bunny Farm. It wasn't what he expected, and he didn't get any rest there, but he did get off his feet for a while. 

Bunny decided to hitch-hike the rest of the way and the nice folks at the Bunny Farm gave him a square of cardboard to make a sign. Bunny borrowed the official Bunny Farm magick marker pen and wrote upon the cardboard. Everyone figured he'd write "Santa Cruz" or something like that. But instead, he wrote: "Hi, I'm NOT crazy" so that people would know that he isn't crazy. That'd help him get a ride, he thought. 

Before long, a blue Subaru, not sure what kind, (they all look alike), stopped and gave Bunny a lift. It was a nice woman named Edweena, and she was going to Santa Cruz too. She told Bunny that she's a yoga instructor there. Bunny told Edweena all about the bunny pose and made her promise to incorporate it in her own yoga routine. 

Bunny talked Edweena's ear off. He had a few stories to tell, and after hours of Randy this, and mama's boy Carlos that, Edweena had had enough and turned up the 70's TV theme music they had been listening to in an attempt to drown the chatter. Bunny talked louder. Edweena handed Bunny a case full of compact discs and asked him if there was something he might want to listen to. He thumbed through the selections, mostly crap, and then pulled out what he said was one of his favorites. They spent the next couple of hours listening to the throat singing selections of Chirglechin. Edweena was surprised that Bunny could sing along and knew all the songs. A mysterious bunny indeed.

Edweena dropped off Bunny next to Charlie Hong Kong's on Seabright Ave, and told him how to get to the bus stop. He was glad that Edweena hadn't murdered him in the desert for his lucky rabbit feet. They're a pricey commodity these days, and a big pair like Bunny's, would fetch buku dinero on the streets. In parting, Edweena presented Bunny with a nice card that depicted Sasquatch with bunny ears that she had attached with duct tape. Inside the card, she wrote, 
"Bunny, thanks for riding to Santa Cruz with me. You are an amazing bunny. Your yoga friend, Edweena" 
 Actually Bunny made the card, but he pretended that Edweena had given it to him.  

After a quick bus ride to downtown, Bunny found himself in his own habitat. He even met some nice bunnies there. Bunny reveled in, and relived memories of his glory days when he was big on the YouTube and starred in the Rez E Dents premier of the Bunny Boy at the Rio, right here in Santa Cruz. Those were good times. 

The next day, Bunny was out of his suit, and going somewhere. He didn't say where.

Bunny was last spotted eating chicken somewhere in remote Nevada, at these coordinates 
40° 21' 03'' N 
117° 20' 48'' W  

* and of course none of this really happened... or did it? 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

SHADOWLAND in 3D - Another Evening with the Residents at the Rio

Part Three of the Randy, Chuck and Bob Trilogy
 This is not a 3D photo

OK, I've seen the Residents perform probably more than most people should. And I've been fortunate to see the Residents perform at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, CA more than every other venue combined. That was easy to do when I lived in Santa Cruz, only a couple of blocks from the Rio, but now I live behind the Zion Curtain - a long thirteen-hour drive away.
3d photo of the Rio Theatre doors.

3D photo of a Hello Dolly record that Skinny found in the hall.

I go back home to Santa Cruz as frequently as possible and had been waiting for the Residents to announce US tour dates so that I could plan around that. One day, I learned through the grapevine that the Residents would be playing the Rio on March 12, giving me about three weeks to get time off, make travel arrangements and secure lodging. That's usually easy for me to do, but this time there were numerous obstacles to overcome... however, I made it.
I was pretty stoked when my tickets showed up in the mail. It was much easier when I could drop into Logos or Streetlight and buy tickets, but it was awesome that there was an on-line option. 

The long drive across Nevada was agonizing as usual. By the time I got to Auburn, I began to remember what it felt like to be alive again. My skin immediately responded to the wonderful moist air. So nice to be able to breathe. I sometimes feel somewhat suffocated out in the arid Deseret Territory. 

Revitalized! The wild mouse ride* from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz kept me awake and B4** I knew it, I was on Highway one, heading to my daughter's house in Pleasure Point where she and my son were waiting for me. All of us attended the show at the Rio the following night. My kids both grew up listening to the Residents and this was my 22 year old daughter's first Residents performance. Shadowland was my 25 year old son's sixth Residents show. He's been attending Residents performances with me since he was ten years old. Lucky lad!
Rio doors

There would be only two shows on this tour and when it was announced that Shadowland would be Charles Bobuck's final tour with the Residents, I was happy that I could attend to say adios to Chuck and wish him well. 
3d photo of the Rio Theatre ticket booth.

There were lots of familiar faces in attendance. Old Santa Cruz friends and folks I've met while waiting in line at other Residents shows. Residents people is good people.
3d photo of the Rio Theatre doors. 

The show opened with a 20 minute video that cataloged a short history of of the superintendents of the subterranean. Then after a short period of prelude music, (selections from Charles Bobuck's the Highway), the lights dimmed, and one by one, the Residents took the stage.
3D photo of projection orb. 

The first song of the evening was Rabbit Habit, from the Bunny Boy album. The singer was wearing a horned skull mask, white gloves, and a long-tail white jacket over a tight body suit made to look like muscles, veins and cartilage. He also sported a fancy golden codpiece.
Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly  

 Photo courtesy of Don Fickles

At the conclusion of Rabbit Habit, the singer ripped his mask off and revealed his face. "Surprise! It's me, Randy, singer for the Residents," he announced. We were all SO surprised.
Photo Courtesy of Don Fickles. 

Randy introduced Chuck as "my former friend, the despicable Carlos." I suppose it was a jibe in reference to Chuck's announcement that he was retiring from touring. Throughout the Randy, Chuck and Bob Trilogy, Randy has consistently bad-mouthed Carlos, the Residents former drummer, because he retired from the band. Get over it, Randy!
 Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly

 Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly

Dressed in white jackets, the residents delivered an up-beat Vegas style show. Bob, who is often found sitting, Fripp style, at Residents performances, stood tall to assume rock star position for this tour. I really enjoyed watching his tall lanky frame squeeze out every last squeak and scratch from his guitar. Incredible.
Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly

Photo Courtesy of Don Fickles. 

Shadowland is Part 3 of the Randy Chuck and Bob Trilogy and is all about birth and rebirth. The previous two shows on the Trilogy tours were about death and love, respectively. Therefore, the Randy Chuck and Bob Trilogy is "life in reverse" according to Randy. "What a concept" 

Shadowed Shadowlanders in 3D- life in reverse

3D photo of projection orb. 

Nifty images were projected onto a 5' diameter inflated orb as the power trio played their thematic musical selections of familiar tunes. Every few minutes, the lights would dim, and the Residents would stand at attention as short Shadow Stories were projected onto the orb.  

The Libertine - photo courtesy of Don Fickles

The Diver - Photo Courtesy of Don Fickles

Photo courtesy of Don Fickles

There were six Shadow Stories in all. The short monologues by the Butcher, the Libertine, the Garbage Man, the Diver, the Model's Mother, and the Engineer were humorous and a bit dark. Whenever I see a Residents performance, I'm reminded how dark they can be and I ask myself, "Do I really like this?"

The Residents chose Mourning Glories, one of my long time favorite songs, as an encore. The song originally appeared on the Not Available album which was my very first Residents record that I purchased at Cosmic Aeroplane way back in 1979.

As usual, there was some fancy schwag available for purchase. There were only 75-80 copies of a special edition Shadow Stories CD that were exclusively available at this show as part of the Shadowland CD debut. 
Limited edition Shadow Stories compact disc on fancy transparent wrapping shroud.

The limited edition Shadowland/Shadow Stories CD set came wrapped in a fancy transparent cellophane shroud that was easy and fun to unwrap & re-wrap. The Shadow Stories CD is made to look like a tiny record - black with grooves.
Shadowland/Shadow Stories CD's on shroud and backside of  Theory of Obscurity T-shirt.

From Santa Cruz, the Residents were off to premier their new documentary film, Theory of Obscurity at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX. The Residents will also perform at SXSW which will be the final show on this tour. 
Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly

I'm interested to see the Residents' next incarnation. Will there be a Randy and Bob duo? Will the Residents break up? Will Chuck be uploaded onto the Residents' main-frame and become an electronique participant at future tours? Unanswered questions. 

Special thanks to Rich O'Rielly and Don Fickles for allowing me to use their photos.

* Highway 17 

** Santa Cruz lingo