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Hardy Winfred Fox Jr. (also known as H.) (March 29 1945 - October 30 2018) was the long-time producer, engineer and composer for The Residents, as well as a founding member of their management and production company The Cryptic Corporation, of which he was President from 1982 until his retirement in 2016.

Fox began a characteristically prolific solo recording career following his retirement from The Cryptic Corporation, which continued until shortly before his death on October 30th 2018 following a short battle with glioblastoma.

Biography

Hardy-25minusminutes

Hardy Fox as a boy

Origins (1945-1969)

Hardy Winfred Fox Jr. was born March 29th, 1945 in Longview, Gregg County, Texas.

He enrolled in college at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, Louisiana, in the early 1960s, where he was assigned to share a dormitory with Homer Flynn (who originated from Shreveport). The two became fast friends, forming a loose "anti-fraternity fraternity" nicknamed "Delta Nu" with a number of like-minded friends, including Barry and Palmer Eiland, John Kennedy, Jay Clem, and the people who would later become The Residents - Randy Rose, Charles Bobuck, and Bunny Hartley.

Fox began his career in music management in the mid-1960s, when he briefly managed a group named The Alliance, whose members included future collaborator and multi-instrumentalist Roland Sheehan. Around this time Fox met the members of Jefferson Airplane.

Fox and Flynn moved to San Mateo, California in the late 1960s, and Fox began recording the efforts of the fledgling "Delta Nu" group, who by this time included Sheehan, and were experimenting for the first time with musical improvisation and sound collage.

The Delta Nudes / Residents, Uninc. (1969-1972)

The Pre-Residents, recently reunited in San Mateo, recorded a number of rough, but promising demo reels including jams, chatter between the group, loose attempts at contemporary pop singles, and a number of coarse but charming originals. Two of these early tape items, known to fans by the names The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger and Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor, were completely unheard outside of The Residents and their friends for fifty years, until low-quality copies leaked onto the internet in the 2010s.

In 1971, Fox began a lengthy correspondence with Warner Bros. Records executive Hal Halverstadt, which began with the group sending him a copy of their demo tape The Warner Bros. Album. The unsuspecting Halverstadt, who had signed Captain Beefheart to Warner Bros. some years earlier, returned the anonymous demo tape (marked with an "A for Ariginality") addressed to "The Residents". The then-nameless group eventually would adopt this as their official name.

In 1972, Fox and Flynn assisted The Residents in releasing their debut EP, Santa Dog, by helping them to form Ralph Records in conjunction with Clem and Kennedy. This partnership would eventually lead to the creation of The Cryptic Corporation in 1976.

Fox helped to produce The Residents' unfinished feature film project Vileness Fats between 1972 and 1976, and took on various roles in its production, including set design and construction and the production of the original soundtrack recordings. Fox appears as various characters in Vileness Fats, notably delivering the film's closing moral as Uncle Willy.

The Cryptic Corporation (1976-2016)

The Cryptic Corporation was formed by Fox and Flynn with Clem and Kennedy in 1976, around the time of the release of The Residents' second album The Third Reich 'n Roll, when The Residents decided they wanted a management team to handle their business so that they could focus their efforts on developing their music.

Fox had already been acting as the group's engineer, producer and arranger for several years, and Flynn had been producing the group's album covers and promotional art through his graphic design company Porno Graphics. These efforts immediately were absorbed into the new corporation, as was the day-to-day operation of Ralph Records.

Fox continued his efforts producing, arranging and composing for The Residents (credited for his production work as The Cryptic Corporation) throughout the 1970s and 1980s, also contributing album cover art and design to Not Available in 1978 and The Commercial Album in 1980.

In 1982, founding Cryptics Clem and Kennedy left The Cryptic Corporation shortly prior to the start of The Residents' Mole Show performance tour. Fox became President of The Cryptic Corporation, a position he would maintain until his retirement in 2016.

In 1991, following a chance encounter at a Zen retreat in Big Sur, Fox recorded a number of pieces with former Ralph Records labelmate Fred Frith, initially intended for a possible Residents/Frith collaboration album. Ending up with less music than would fill an album, the recordings would be shelved until 2018.

In 2008, Fox married his partner Steven Kloman.

Randy, Chuck and Bob and retirement from The Cryptic Corporation (2010-2016)

In 2010 The Residents began their Randy, Chuck and Bob trilogy of tours. in which the group took on the personae of Randy Rose (vocals), Charles "Chuck" Bobuck (keyboards) and "Bob" (guitar). The three tours, Talking Light, The Wonder of Weird and Shadowland, lasted a combined six years.

Bobuck also began a prolific series of solo recording works (or "contraptions") in 2011. These were projects which, for one reason or another, did not fit neatly as a work by The Residents proper. In 2015, Bobuck announced his resignation from live touring due to ongoing health issues. Despite originally intending to contribute to The Residents' studio work, in 2016 Bobuck retired entirely from The Residents.

At the same time, Fox announced his retirement from The Cryptic Corporation, and sold his share in the company to Cherry Red Records, handing The Residents' massive archive of material over to The Cryptic Corporation (eventually resulting in the pREServed series of expanded and remastered reissues).

Shortly after this announcement, Fox started a new management company, Hacienda Bridge, to represent his own work, as well as the continuing recorded work of Bobuck.

Hacienda Bridge and solo recordings (2016-2018)

In October 2017, Fox stunned fans by announcing at the conclusion of his serialized novella The Stone that he was the person previously known as Charles Bobuck, and by extension that he was the primary composer and performer of much of The Residents' music from their inception until The Ghost of Hope in 2017, and retired this persona.

Following this, Fox began to release music under his own name for the first time, beginning with the release of his self-titled album (also known as Heart) in 2018. This was followed shortly thereafter by the release of the recently-completed 1991 Fred Frith collaboration album, A Day Hanging Dead Between Heaven and Earth.

Fox continued to promote these and subsequent releases through his Hacienda Bridge newsletter. Two other album releases followed the self-titled debut in 2018, including Nachtzug, a short album derived from the original demo recordings used by The Residents in the creation of The Ghost of Hope, as well as Rilla Contemplates Love, a single album-length suite of music pieces, ostensibly composed by a computer simulating a gorilla's thoughts on love.

Illness and death

In September 2018, Fox was diagnosed with terminal glioblastoma. Fox changed his official website following his diagnosis to include his birth and presumed death years, with no further context, alarming fans. Shortly after this, it was confirmed by numerous sources (including The Cryptic Corporation) that Fox was still alive, although he was not well and that his prognosis was not good. It was later stated that Fox had made this change as a means of taking advantage of a rare opportunity - to announce one's death while one is still alive.

Following this, Fox made a public statement via his Hacienda Bridge newsletter, which said: "Hi from, me, Hardy. Yes got sick, making my pass out of this world, but it is "all" okay. I have something in my brain that will last to a brief end. I am 73 as you might know. Brains go down. But maybe here is my brain functioning as I'm almost a dead person just a bit of go yet. Doctors have put me on drugs, LOL, for right now. Anyway. Probably the last of seeing me. Thanks for checking in. Love you all" [1]

Fox succumbed to glioblastoma on October 30th, 2018. He is survived by his husband Steven Kloman.

Posthumous releases

Despite a statement on his official website stating that he would no longer record, Fox managed to complete one final project, 25 Minus Minutes, in late October 2018, a week prior to his death. This (and other recordings) were given to Fox's friend, collaborator and owner-operator of Klanggalerie, Walter Robotka, following his diagnosis.

25 Minus Minutes was released posthumously on Klanggalerie in February 2019. Another of the recordings he had submitted to Robotka prior to his death, Killing Time, has since been announced for release in 2020.

Work with The Residents (1972-2016)

Work with Charles Bobuck (2010-2017)

Work with Black Tar and the Cry Babies (2015-2017)

Discography

Posthumous

See also

External links and references

  1. Hacienda Bridge newsletter, September 23, 2018
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