Sheehan was one of the earliest collaborators of the group who would later become The Residents, and appears on their earliest recordings. His 1975 demos with the band Dyin' Dog and the Mongrels would later inspire The Residents' 2020 album Metal, Meat & Bone.
Association with The Residents
Roland Sheehan met the group who would become The Residents while living in Ruston, Louisiana, in the late 1960s. While still a teenager he joined a group called The Alliance, managed by Hardy Fox. The Alliance released only one single, "Somewhere They Can't Find Me," in 1967 but performed locally for many years.
After leaving Louisiana in June 1970, a nineteen-year-old Sheehan appeared at Fox's San Mateo apartment with a U-Haul trailer full of musical instruments, quickly moving in with Fox and his roommates, who were also from Louisiana. Together, the roommates began spontaneously composing and recording songs. Some reel to reel items featuring Sheehan (including the demo tapes Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor and The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger) are known to survive from this period, but have never been officially released.
Sheehan stayed with The Pre-Residents until October 1971, when he returned to Louisiana and rejoined The Alliance. His last noted work with the group is the song "D For Doorknob", featured on their 1971 demo tape B.S..
Sheehan remained with The Alliance until 1974. In 1975, he formed a blues group called Dyin' Dog and the Mongrels after meeting its lead singer and songwriter, Alvin "Dyin' Dog" Snow, in a park in Ruston, Louisiana and bonding with him over the subject of blues music.
Dyin' Dog and the Mongrels recorded a series of demos with local label owner Stan Lewis, but the group ultimately disbanded in January 1976 when Snow suddenly disappeared following a series of personal setbacks.
Sheehan is known to have visited The Residents in San Francisco in 1977, at which time he saw the David Lynch film Eraserhead with the group. He remained in occasional contact with the group over the following decades; members of The Residents would occasionally meet up with Sheehan when visiting family in Louisiana.
In 2015, Sheehan was interviewed by filmmaker Don Hardy for the documentary film Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents. Around this time, a member of the group had a lunch meeting with Sheehan and told him of an idea for a blues album that The Residents had wanted to record for a number of years.
Sheehan happened to own the abandoned Gem Theatre in Dubach, Louisiana, a former rehearsal space for The Alliance and Dyin' Dog and The Mongrels, but which was by this time in "complete and total chaos". In 2016 he rediscovered the long lost Dyin' Dog demo tapes inside the theatre, and, remembering his conversation with The Residents, brought the tapes to the group's attention.
The Residents initially shrugged the discovery off, but after listening to the demos were "completely blown away", deciding to record an album featuring their own versions of the songs, and even going so far as to compose an additional six original songs inspired by the Dyin' Dog tapes.
The original Dyin' Dog demos were released for the first time in September 2019 on Psychofon Records, as a limited edition box set of five 7" singles entitled The Residents Present Alvin Snow, aka Dyin' Dog. They were issued again (with one additional demo not featured in the box set) alongside the resulting Residents album, Metal, Meat & Bone, which was released in July 2020.
Due to his early role in composing music for the group who would become The Residents and his presence on their earliest known demo recordings, Roland Sheehan has occasionally been referred to as "The Fifth Resident".
The designation of Sheehan as the fifth original member of the group was dismissed in October 2018 by guitarist Nolan Cook (a collaborator with the group since 1998), who insisted that Sheehan merely had "an early inconsequential brush with what would later be."
- The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger (1970, unreleased)
- Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor (1970, unreleased)
- B.S. (1971, released 2019) - writing credit
- ERA B474 (2012)
- The Delta Nudes' Greatest Hiss (2013)
- The Residents Present The Delta Nudes (2016)
- The Residents Present Alvin Snow, aka Dyin' Dog (2019)
- Metal, Meat & Bone - The Songs of Dyin' Dog (2020)
- Roland Sheehan at Discogs
- The Alliance at Discogs
- "Lost In The Blues: The Search For Dyin' Dog" by Paul Lyllyde at The Chiseler
- Somethin' Devilish 'It was June, 1970. Roland Sheehan, then 19'
- Something Devlish (Knipfel)
- Aaron Tanner, The Residents: A Sight For Sore Eyes, Vol. 1, Melodic Virtue, 2022
- "The Residents Present Dyin' Dog" on YouTube
- Homer Flynn, "Homer Flynn (Spokesperson for The Residents) on WZRD Chicago 88.3FM" on Mixcloud, August 5th 2021
- "Nowhere near the 5th Resident. An early inconsequential brush with what would later be." - Nolan Cook, The Residents Facebook group, October 26th 2018
|Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor|
|The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger|