Alternately seen as a rock band , an arts collective and a spirit, THE RESIDENTS have been regarded as icons in the world of experimental music for over forty years. In addition to their groundbreaking work in the areas of trance, world fusion, electronica, punk, industrial and lounge music, the group has also been credited with being among the originators of performance art and music video. Their early videos are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and their Freak Show CD-ROM was featured in MOMA’s “Looking at Music 3.0” exhibition. Their four decade long career has also taken them into the world of film and television music, having scored numerous films and TV series as well as several projects for MTV. In addition, the group is also thriving in the world of digital media having released ten DVDs, and two internet series.
The group celebrated its 40th anniversary with a trilogy of tours – The Talking Light, Wonder of Weird and Shadowland – performing as Rand y, Chuck & Bob, the World’s Greatest Residents Cover Band , an unexpected morphing into a power trio, gleefully plundering their vast catalog of music to the delight to their fans. Not content to rest upon their justly lauded laurels, the group reformed as THE REAL(?) RESIDENTS, a four piece combo that celebrated its debut at the prestigious Blue Note jazz club in Tokyo in early 2017.
The world’s oyster eating record is 528
If you pick a guinea pig up by its tail, it’s eyes will fall out
Elvis Presley never performed outside of the United States
Bonus: The best tomatoes in the world are never watered
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Boredom. The Residents were in their mid-twenties and saw themselves as rootless offal lying among the leaves of life. They were terrified of becoming bored as they aged and desperately sought focus, direction and engagement with the world. Realizing that holding down a straight job, eating hamburgers and watching TV wasn’t going to cut it, they looked within, soon realizing that they were huge music fans – but the music of the post psychedelic era had become boring and formulaic. Consequently, they decided to make their own.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
As implied above, The Residents were fans of the eclectic and adventuresome music of the psychedelic era but it didn’t take long for those groups to find their formulas for commercial success – soon after, the risk taking element that attracted The Residents was no longer there. Also at that time several rand om factors fell into place – a multitrack recorder, a friend with a trailer full of musical instruments, a lot of time and most importantly, desire. It was this confluence of circumstances that enabled them to start making music.
They also saw Sun Ra – the rest, as they say, is mystery.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Sax Pax for a Sax – Moondog
James Brown Live at the Appollo
Films of Violence – Ennio Morricone
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady – Charles Mingus
The Music You’ve Asked For – Frank and Clyde
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
The Residents have two primary associations with Berlin. The first is fairly obvious: they were in Berlin two weeks before the wall came down and then again six months after. They were proud to grab a hammer and join the masses chipping away away at the wall – one even gave a piece of the wall to his father as a Christmas present. The other was the first time The Residents came to Berlin in 1983. They were performing a midnight show at the Metropol. At that time, they always started their show stand ing behind a curtain where they could feel the energy of the audience. The last sound in the preshow music was a loud scream and as the voice blasted out through the PA, everyone in the Metropol screamed along with it. They loved it.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
The Residents are somewhat scattered now and don’t all live in the same town, but my guess is that each of them would say their favorite place is home.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Some of The Residents have referred to themselves as frustrated filmmakers, so they would probably make movies.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
The Residents recently discovered the music of Alamaailman Vasarat and bought several of their albums.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Unfortunately most of the people The Residents would like to collaborate with are dead – Moondog is at the top of the list.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
The Residents often say that five of their top ten live performances were by Sun Ra.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
The Residents say that creativity is life passing through you – it happens whether you want it or not. From the perspective creating
product, technology is obviously important but The Residents would always find a way to create SOMETHING without it.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
The Residents don’t discuss their careers with their siblings.
The Residents will perform at Columbia Theater on 16th November 2017.