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Roland Sheehan (born ca. 1951)[1] is an American organist and guitarist based in Ruston, Louisiana, who has worked with groups such as The Alliance and Dyin' Dog and the Mongrels.

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

Early collaborations

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 1969, a nineteen-year-old Sheehan appeared at Hardy 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 not been officially released.

Sheehan stayed with the Pre-Residents until October 1971, when he returned to Louisiana and rejoined The Alliance.

Post-Pre-Residents

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.[2]

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.[3]

Metal, Meat & Bone

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".[3] 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.[2]

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.[3]

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.

Legacy

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."[4]

Appears on

See also

External links and references

  1. Somethin' Devilish 'It was June, 1970. Roland Sheehan, then 19'
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Residents Present Dyin' Dog" on YouTube
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Homer Flynn, "Homer Flynn (Spokesperson for The Residents) on WZRD Chicago 88.3FM" on Mixcloud, August 5th 2021
  4. "Nowhere near the 5th Resident. An early inconsequential brush with what would later be." - Nolan Cook, The Residents Facebook group, October 26th 2018
Wbrmx-sml-transparent.png The Delta Nudes / Residents, Uninc.
(1967 - 1974)
Rustycoathangers-painting-transparent-sml.png Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor
(1970)

Side A
"Improvisation" · "One Boy" / "Kids" · "Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor" · "Improvisation"

Side B
"Improvisation" · "Bringing in the Sheaves" · "Satisfaction" / "When Johnny Comes Marching" · "Let It Be" · "Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor" (reprise) · "Bo Diddley" · "Yesterday"

Personnel
The Delta Nudes · Roland Sheehan

Related works
"I Hear Ya Got Religion" · "Moonman" · The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger · Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents · Leftovers Again?!

Related articles
The W***** B*** Album · San Mateo apartment · Bye Bye Birdie · The Rolling Stones · The Beatles · A Nickle If Your Dick's This Big

Stuffedtrigger-photo-sml.png The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger
(1970)

Side A
"Satisfaction" · "Cherry, Cherry" · "Let It Be" · "The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger" · "Improvisation" · "Ecological Blues"

Side B
"Summertime" · "Improvisation" · "House of the Rising Sun" · "Summertime" (reprise) · "The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger" (reprise) · "When Johnny Comes Marching" / "Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)"

Personnel
The Delta Nudes · Roland Sheehan · Palmer Eiland

Related works
"I Hear Ya Got Religion" · "Moonman" · Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor · ERA B474 · The Delta Nudes' Greatest Hiss

Related articles
The W***** B*** Album · San Mateo apartment · The Rolling Stones · George Gershwin · The Beatles

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