The name was inadvertently coined by Warner Bros. Records executive Hal Halverstadt, when returning the group's 1971 demo tape The W***** B*** Album to the group, addressed to "Residents, 167½ 17th Avenue, San Mateo". The group were first credited as Residents, Uninc. on their 1971 demo tape B.S., and then on the Santa Dog EP in December 1972.
Beginning with the release of The Residents' debut album Meet The Residents in 1974, the Residents, Uninc. label was used primarily to denote the group's informal management, production and public relations organization (headed by the group's "unincorporated" collaborators Homer Flynn, Hardy Fox, Jay Clem and John Kennedy).
Residents, Uninc. officially became defunct on July 31st 1976 with the founding of The Cryptic Corporation, a more formal management and public relations company which has continued to manage The Residents to the present day.
- 1 History
- 2 Discography
- 3 Known live performances
- 4 See also
- 5 External links and references
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The group that would become Residents, Uninc. developed from a loose assembly of friends and collaborators who first met at high school in Shreveport, Louisiana in the early 1960s. After graduating, some members of the group went on to study at Louisiana Tech in 1965, where they met Hardy Fox, and formed an "anti-fraternity" known as Delta Nu.
The group separated for a while after completing college, eventually reuniting in 1969 when they moved into a small apartment in San Mateo, California. Here they made the acquaintance of Roland Sheehan, a talented guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who stayed for a few months and helped them record their first demo tapes, Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor and The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger, in 1970.
In 1970 the group were introduced to a visiting British guitarist and multi-instrumentalist named Philip Lithman, who quickly befriended and moved in with them. Shortly afterwards, another stranger appeared on the group's doorstep - The Mysterious N. Senada, an elderly Bavarian experimental composer and musical theorist who Lithman had met previously in Europe, where he discovered the eccentric composer recording birds in a forest. Lithman and Senada both became crucial collaborators, with Senada's theories in particular influencing them greatly in their later career as The Residents.
Their recording and artistic efforts became gradually more elaborate during this time, resulting in the compilation of a third demo, The W***** B*** Album, in 1971. This demo was compiled to be sent to Hal Halverstadt, merchandising director of Warner Bros. Records, who had recently been instrumental in signing Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band to Reprise Records. Halverstadt politely rejected the demo (later describing it as "okay at best"), returning it in the mail addressed to ""Residents, 167½ 17th Avenue, San Mateo". Finding significance in the "bland, colorless name", the group officially adopted the name Residents, Uninc..
The Boarding House performance and B.S. (1971)
Residents, Uninc.'s first known live performance was at The Boarding House in San Francisco in 1971 (though it is rumored that N. Senada also performed solo spoken word and saxophone improvisations at open-mic nights around this time). A performance at Lithman's wedding followed days later which would be known as the Party of '71.
That same year another demo tape was completed and submitted to Halverstadt, entitled Baby Sex - named after its disturbing cover art; a silk-screened copy of a photo blown up from an advertisement for a Dutch pornographic magazine that the group received in the mail, depicting a woman fellating a small child. This demo was officially released in 2019 as a Record Store Day exclusive (under the shortened title B.S.), and later featured on the compilation A Nickle If Your Dick's This Big alongside The W***** B*** Album.
The birth of Ralph Records and Santa Dog (1972-1973)
In late 1971, Residents, Uninc. relocated to 20 Sycamore Street, San Francisco; a studio they named "El Ralpho", which featured a completely open ground floor (seemingly ideal for a sound stage), allowing the group to expand their operations and also begin preliminary work on their most ambitious project up to that point, a full-length feature film entitled Vileness Fats, which would consume most of their attention for the next four years.
In October 1972, the group performed live again, this time at the birthday party of a friend named Chris. Around this time they formed Ralph Records as a small, independent label to release and promote their own work. To inaugurate the new business, Residents, Uninc. recorded and pressed the Santa Dog EP, their first recorded output to be released to the public.
Designed to resemble a Christmas card from an insurance company, the Santa Dog EP consisted of two 7" singles, with four songs between them. The EP was sent to handpicked recipients, including Richard Nixon (whose copy was returned marked "refused") and Frank Zappa (whose copy was also returned as he no longer lived at the address).
Birth of The Residents and foundation of The Cryptic Corporation (1973-1976)
Following the formation of Ralph Records in 1972, the group began to credit their musical performances simply to The Residents, with the release of their first studio album Meet The Residents in 1974. The album was derived from a series of recordings made by the group with their friends in 1973, during improvisational jam sessions held every Tuesday.
Around this time the group also recorded a musical suite entitled 1-10 (With A Touch of 11) with their mentor N. Senada. This recording would remain entirely unreleased until 2018, when excerpts appeared on the pREServed edition of Meet The Residents.
For two years after adopting the name The Residents officially in 1974 with the release of their first album, the group continued to use the Residents, Uninc. name as a production credit and as an informal management and public relations organization (with cover art being credited to the group's graphic design wing, Porno Graphics, headed by Homer Flynn).
On July 31st 1976, Residents, Uninc. was officially dissolved by the group and The Cryptic Corporation was founded in order to provide a public relations and management organization for The Residents, operate Ralph Records, and protect financier John Kennedy's assets. Shortly after, the group left the Sycamore Street space and moved into a much larger building on Grove Street, allowing the Cryptics and Ralph Records to expand their operations significantly.
The last Residents release to bear the Residents, Uninc. production credit was the single "Satisfaction" in September 1976. At least some copies of the single were supplied with a hand-written note reading "Bye Bye Residents Uninc".
Following the dissolution of Residents, Uninc., The Residents credited themselves as the producers of their work, beginning with the 1977 album Fingerprince and continuing until 1985's The Big Bubble, when they began to credit The Cryptic Corporation with production duties on all releases. Their final production credit as Residents, Uninc. was the "Aphids In The Hall" single by Schwump, released in September 1976.
Later reissues of The Residents' earlier releases have amended the production credits to replace "Residents, Uninc." and "The Residents" production credits with "The Cryptic Corporation". "Residents, Uninc." appeared once more as a production credit in 2019, on the pREServed compilation A Nickle If Your Dick's This Big (which included the demo tapes The W***** B*** Album and B.S.).
A t-shirt featuring the "Residents, Uninc." logo seen on the back cover of Meet The Residents (among other merchandise featuring designs from the Residents, Uninc. era of the group) was briefly available on The Residents' official website during the release cycle of the compilation album ERA B474 in 2012.
Production credit only
- Meet The Residents (1974)
- The Third Reich 'n Roll (1976)
- "Satisfaction" single (1976)
- "Aphids In The Hall" single by Schwump (1976)
- A Nickle If Your Dick's This Big (2019)
Known live performances
- The Boarding House - October 18th 1971, San Francisco, California
- Party of '71 - October 31st 1971, Arcata, California
- Party of '72 - unknown date, 1972, Redwood, California