From the small city of Shreveport, Louisiana emerged the monolithic avant garde music and multi-media institution that is The Residents. Famed for their pranksterism and relentless anonymity, The Residents bounce between caustic dissections/deconstructions of popular culture and complex conceptual creations, citing everyone and everything from Hitler to the Beatles and all points in between. While The Residents feast on yet are in awe of popular culture and love to toy with it, their initial influences were Harry Partch, Beefheart and Sun Ra.
They’re no strangers to controversy either – the cover of their debut, Meet The Residents, immediately led to legal threats from Capitol over its Dada-esque mangling of the Meet The Beatles cover, while Third Reich ‘n’ Roll, a set of popular oldies, features Hitler holding a big carrot.
The ongoing suppression of their true identities has caused huge intrigue in avant garde music circles, writers such as Simon Reynolds taking great pains to try to un-mask them. Of course no one cares about that stuff if they’re not fascinated by the music, and The Residents have entertained their audience with approaching 100 albums and many more other releases since their opening salvo in 1974. It takes something very special to get to that point in any creative career and there’s no doubt The Residents have that something in spades.