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Disambiguation-sml.png This article is about the 1985 studio album.
You may be looking for the fictional band of the same name.

The Big Bubble is a 1985 album by The Residents. Part four of The Mole Trilogy, the album expands on the plot of the unreleased third entry in the series by featuring the music of a fictional Mohelmot band named The Big Bubble.

As the projected third, fifth and sixth parts were never completed, The Big Bubble is the last installment in The Mole Trilogy to date.


Following the financial failure of The Residents' Mole Show tour in 1983 and their near break-up, the third part of the group's ongoing Mole Trilogy was never completed or released. Instead, the group began a new project, The American Composer Series, with the release of George & James in 1984.

Returning to the Mole project after an extended hiatus in 1985 after the release of George & James, the band elected instead to move onto the fourth part in the projected trilogy of six, entitled The Big Bubble.

Similar to The Tunes of Two Cities, the album focuses on the music within the Mole culture rather than progressing the overall storyline of the series. In this case, the album presents songs by a fictional band called The Big Bubble. The band forefronts the Zenkinite movement, the Zenkinites being a crossbreed of the Moles and Chubs which were introduced in Mark of the Mole. The music on The Big Bubble is thus a synthesis of the Mole and Chub music found on The Tunes of Two Cities, performed using traditional rock music instruments. The album was the first to be produced by The Cryptic Corporation, who, up until that point, had only produced side projects for The Residents.

The Residents wanted a live sound to the album so they recorded the vocalist's lines first, and lay down the other tracks over that. A UWEB poll suggested that it was tied with Not Available as the weirdest Residents album.


The Big Bubble

The Big Bubble breaks from established tradition by having, for the first time, four unmasked people on the front cover. The Cryptic Corporation denied that these four men were The Residents, stating that they were in fact four unidentified models who had been hired to portray the fictional band The Big Bubble for the album art.

The first 450 copies of the album were pressed on marbled pink vinyl (meant to look like bubble gum). The album was released on Wave Records in Japan and was a success for The Residents, which lead to dates in Japan being included in The 13th Anniversary Show tour in 1986.

The ESD CD release of The Big Bubble also includes the suite "Safety Is The Cootie Wootie".


Following Wave's release of the album, it became increasingly popular in Japan, and as a result, a 4 date Japanese tour in support of the album was funded by Wave Records in October of 1985. The show would initially only feature one Big Bubble song, 'Cry For The Fire' performed as the finale to the show, but when a US tour was funded by Ralph Records, the last 11 minutes became dedicated to the album. The show toured from October 1985 to January 1987.

Track listing

Side One (19:19)

  1. Sorry (3:37)
  2. Hop a Little (2:47)
  3. Go Where Ya Wanna Go (2:38)
  4. Gotta Gotta Get (4:23)
  5. Cry for the Fire (5:54)

Side Two (19:03)

  1. Die-Stay-Go (3:00)
  2. Vinegar (2:22)
  3. Firefly (2:16)
  4. The Big Bubble (2:15)
  5. Fear for the Future (3:54)
  6. Kula Bocca Says So (5:16)

The Big Bubble / Safety Is A Cootie Wootie (1992)

In 1989 East Side Digital released an expanded version of the album, featuring 3 tracks recorded in September 1983 for their "Safety Is The Cootie Wootie" project.

  1. Sorry (3:37)
  2. Hop a Little (2:47)
  3. Go Where Ya Wanna Go (2:38)
  4. Gotta Gotta Get (4:23)
  5. Cry for the Fire (5:54)
  6. Die-Stay-Go (3:00)
  7. Vinegar (2:22)
  8. Firefly (2:16)
  9. The Big Bubble (2:15)
  10. Fear for the Future (3:54)
  11. Kula Bocca Says So (5:16)
  12. Prelude For A Toddler (3:40)
  13. Toddler Lullaby (2:29)
  14. Safety Is The Cootie Wootie (4:11)

2011 reissue

The 2011 Japanese release of this album featured a single bonus track, recorded in 1977.

  1. Sorry (3:36)
  2. Hop a Little (2:46)
  3. Go Where Ya Wanna Go (2:37)
  4. Gotta Gotta Get (4:22)
  5. Cry for the Fire (5:50)
  6. Die-Stay-Go (2:59)
  7. Vinegar (2:21)
  8. Firefly (2:16)
  9. The Big Bubble (2:15)
  10. Fear for the Future (3:54)
  11. Kula Bocca Says So (5:02)
  12. Ralph Records 1977 Radio Special Part 4 (From Eat Exuding Oinks!) (13:01)
    1. Whoopy Snorp
    2. Interview
    3. Walter Westinghouse

2019 pREServed Edition

The 2019 pREServed edition released in the Mole Box featured several demos, outtakes, and live tracks.

  1. Sorry (3:37)
  2. Hop A Little (2:47)
  3. Go Where Ya Wanna Go (2:38)
  4. Gotta Gotta Get (4:23)
  5. Cry For The Fire (5:53)
  6. Die-Stay-Go (3:00)
  7. Vinegar (2:22)
  8. Firefly (2:16)
  9. The Big Bubble (2:15)
  10. Fear For The Future (3:54)
  11. Kula Bocca Says So (5:11)
  12. Jingle Bell (2:42)
  13. Untitled (4:08)
  14. Kula Bocca (2-Track Demo) (2:10)
  15. Die-Stay-Go (2-Track Demo) (1:46)
  16. Cry For The Fire Sketch (1:04)
  17. The Big Bubble (Live, 1986) (2:23)
  18. Hop A Little (Live, 1986) (3:13)
  19. Cry For The Fire (Live On Norge TV NRK) (7:09)
  20. Die-Stay-Go (Live In San Francisco, 2011) (4:45)

Liner notes

In the fall of 1981 The Residents released Mark of the Mole. This first record of the Mole Trilogy laid out the basic storyline for the first two parts of the story. One, the Hole-Workers battle against the ravages of nature in the form of a storm that destroys their homes; and two, their resulting conflict with a neighboring culture that is very different from their own.

The second part of the trilogy was released in spring of 1982. It featured examples of the music of both the Chub and the Mole cultures so as to more clearly illustrate the difference between these two societal forces.

The remainder of 1982 and all of 1983 was spent touring a large scale musical/visual presentation of these two albums that was known as The Mole Show. Upon returning from the European part of the tour, The Residents rested briefly and threw themselves into the job of completing the story.

Part three of the trilogy picked up on the story several decades after the great war. The survivors of the two cultures lived side-by-side in uneasy peace. The war had not resulted in any clear winner, but time had promoted those who had the appropriate appetite for power, and the Chubs were famous for their various appetites.

Many Moles and Chubs had blended socially so mixed marriages were common. Their offspring were refered to as "cross". In response to this a "Zinkenite" movement by traditional Moles, or "Mohelmot", had surfaced to encourage the establishment of a new Mohelmot nation. Surprisingly, many of the officials of the Zinkenites were "cross", as though the Chub genes had brought out a new aggression to the Mohelmot sense. One such official was a charismatic second generation cross named Kula Bocca.

Kula Bocca knew that if the Zinkenites were to succeed in reestablishing their society, they needed the energy, passion, and, above all, naivete of youth. He hired a local band to play for a rally at Elmwurst, and, although he did not think they were very good, the band immediately captured the heart of the crowd with a single song, "Cry for the Fire". The song even had a section that was sung in the original language of the Mohelmot which had been outlawed since the war. Few in the audience could understand what the singer was saying, but everyone immediately grasped that a deep link was being established with their past.

Kula Bocca could see the power that this band, "The Big Bubble", had on the public. At a later rally he arranged for the singer of the band to be "arrested" to stir up sympathy for the Zinkenites, and then he contacted Frinky DuVall of Black Shroud Records concerning The Bubble. Black Shroud supported the Zinkenites even though Mr. DuVall was a Chub, and agreed to release an album for the band.

So now The Residents proudly present Part Four of the Mole Trilogy... the Black Shroud album by the band that is shaking a nation... THE BIG BUBBLE.

Rarely in the history of popular music has a meteoric rise been seen equal to that of the band whose first album you are currently holding in your hands. Less than two years ago Ramsey, Paul, Alex and Frank started getting together in their Leone family garage to "play around" with some tunes that Ramsey and Frank had been writing together. One of these songs was a catchy riff named "The Big Bubble".

On their own the foursome raised enough money to release a single of "The Big Bubble" and the tune became an instant regional hit. However, since they had never taken a name for their band, and the lable of their single only read "Big Bubble", the name of the song was soon forced upon them as the name of the band as well.

Not until the political rally of Elmwurst did the band gain national prominence. Following a speech by Zinkenite spokesman, Kula Bocca, the band premiered a new composition, "Cry for the Fire". Twenty thousand people came to their feet, interlocked arms, and listened in stunned silence as "The Big Bubble" sang to the people in the ancient tongue of the Mohelmot, forbidden since the war.

"Cry for the Fire" became the anthem of the Zinkenites. In November at the Casema rally, Ramsey was arrested for singing in Mohelmot. The resulting riot and public outcry forced his release three days later.

At that time, Frankie DuVall, president of Black Shroud Records, called on the "Bubble" and stated that he was ready to back the group on an album that would include the Mohelmot vocals, the first time that the Mohelmot language had ever been recorded.

So here it is. The boys have re-recorded their first hit "The Big Bubble" (note the altered lyrics on this version), as well as ten other tunes, six of which use the Mohelmot speech including the controversial Zinkenite anthem "Cry for the Fire".

Hope you dig it.

Black Shroud Records


Additional Credits Featured on Later Pressings

Release history

Year Label Format Region
1985 Ralph Records LP US
Wave LP JP
1989 East Side Digital CD US
Torso EU
1998 East Side Digital US
Bomba Records JP
2005 Mute EU
2011 Hayabusa Landings & Birdsong JP
2019 New Ralph Too, Cherry Red, MVD Audio US, EU

See also

Buy Or Die

Listen online

External links


  1. 1998 Japanese CD