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The Warner Bros. Album (released as The W**** B*** Album) is a demo tape, compiled in 1971 by the group who would later be known as The Residents.

The Warner Bros. Album was compiled in order to showcase the talents of the then unnamed group to Hal Halverstadt, the record executive who signed Captain Beefheart to Warner Bros. Records. Halverstadt rejected the tape, but in doing so, inadvertently inspired the group's name by returning the tape addressed to "Residents, 167½ 17th Avenue, San Mateo".

The W***** B*** Album was first officially released by The Residents in April 2018, as a limited pREServed vinyl edition for Record Store Day. This newly remastered edition was then issued on CD, on the first disc of the 2019 compilation A Nickle If Your Dick's This Big.

History

The Warner Bros. Album is perhaps better known for its role in the history of the group who recorded it than for its contents (which are not considered by The Residents to be at all representative of their later direction).

The tape was compiled from recordings dating between September 1970 and May 1971, after the group had sent Warner Bros. Records executive Hal Halverstadt a P.R. "coupon" which was returned to the group with a note indicating that they were welcome to submit their demo recordings.

The group had hoped that Halverstadt, who had signed Captain Beefheart to the label, would appreciate their earnest experiments and, ideally, offer them a budget and a major label platform.

Cover art

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"Coupon" sent by the group to Hal Halverstadt, 1971

The demo features the earliest known album cover art by Homer Flynn's graphic design company Porno Graphics (here credited as "Punographics, Ltd."), who would handle the vast majority of The Residents' cover design from that time onwards.

The silk-screened cover features a Warner Bros. logo positioned prominently on the front (in a color scheme parodying the record labels the company were using at that time), with an image of a tap-dancing peanut Richard Nixon on the head of a smiling girl on the back. The liner notes include a pornographic image of a friend of the group performing fellatio on an unidentified man.

A variant of the cover art with a purple (rather than green) color scheme has circulated on the Internet for many years but is of unknown provenance - all versions of the cover art officially released by the group, despite some relatively minor variations (a seemingly rough, unfinished version features as the inner sleeve of the 2018 vinyl release) feature the usual green color scheme.

The original proofs for the front and back cover art designs were displayed publicly from April to June 2011 at Johansson Projects in Oakland, California, as part of an exhibition of the graphic work of Flynn and The Residents.[1]

Reaction

Hal Halverstadt was not overly impressed with The Warner Bros. Album (later describing it as "okay at best"[2]), but rejected it politely, with a short note on Halverstadt's letterhead returned with the reel, grading The Warner Bros. Album an "AXPp":

  • A - for Ariginality
  • X - for Xecution
  • P - for Presentation
  • p - for potential

The Warner Bros. Album was returned and addressed to "Residents, 167½ 17th Avenue, San Mateo," which led the group to take the name Residents, Uninc., and then after the birth of Ralph Records the following year, the group began simply referring to themselves as The Residents.

Availability

Both The Warner Bros. Album and Baby Sex were broadcast to the public in their entirety by the group's friend Bill Reinhardt on KBOO-FM radio in Portland, Oregon, during a Residents-themed radio festival in 1977.

Most versions of these two tapes that were widely available amongst fans are home recordings of this broadcast, although higher quality copies from an earlier generation copy since became available, in a limited series of bootleg CD-Rs.

It is said that the group's early reels were stolen from The Cryptic Corporation's archives by a former associate and later made available for profit, and as with their other early demo tapes and reels, The Residents and The Cryptic Corporation do not approve of their availability.

Excerpts from the original The Warner Bros. Album would first become officially available on the ERA B474 and The Delta Nudes' Greatest Hiss compilations in 2012 and 2013 respectively, before the tape's complete remaster and release in 2018 as a Record Store Day limited installment in the group's pREServed series.

WB:RMX (2004)

In 2004, a remix album, WB:RMX, was released by The Cryptic Corporation. This remix was created by The Residents as a direct response to the increasing demand for the original tape's release, and the fact that bootleg recordings of the tape were already being circulated on the Internet.

WB:RMX features radically remixed versions of a handful of the songs from the original tape, with a more modern production style.

Release

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The W***** B*** Album, 2018 pREServed limited vinyl edition

In April 2018, The Warner Bros. Album was finally remastered and issued in its original, unedited form for the first time by The Residents as a limited edition vinyl release for Record Store Day.

Released as The W***** B*** Album as a special entry in the group's pREServed reissue series, the LP features a black outer sleeve hiding the original cover art within. It was released in a limited edition of 1500 copies.

Rather than featuring extensive historical liner notes like other reissues in the pREServed series, this release includes the previously unseen (and pornographic) original liner art for the tape as sent to Hal Halverstadt, as well as previously unseen artwork on the labels of the record.

This release was followed by B.S. on Record Store Day in April 2019. Both of these new remasters were compiled on CD in their entirety (with live recordings from the same era) in November 2019 as the compilation A Nickle If Your Dick's This Big.

Track listing

Warnerbrosalbum-backart

Original back cover art proof for The Warner Bros. Album by Porno Graphics

  1. Strawberry Fields Forever (Lennon/McCartney) (0:27)
  2. The Mad Sawmill of Copenhagen, Germany (1:08)
  3. Baby Skeletons & Dogs (1:28)
  4. Bop Bop Shu Bop Bop (0:38)
  5. Stuffed Genital (0:27)
  6. Christmas Morning Foto (0:06)
  7. Every Day I Masturbate on A Merican Fag (1:15)
  8. Oh Mommy, Oh Daddy, Can't You See that it's True? (0:51)
  9. Baby Skeletons & Dogs #2 (1:52)
  10. The Mad Sawmill of Copenhagen, Germany (0:28)
  11. Going to Arcata Blues (1:56)
  12. The Mad Sawmill of Copenhagen, Germany (0:06)
  13. Black Velvet Original (0:13)
  14. The Mad Sawmill of Copenhagen, Germany (0:08)
  15. Jimi Hendrix Dildo (0:39)
  16. The Mad Sawmill of Copenhagen, Germany (2:01)
  17. In the Still of the Night (0:19)
  18. Maggie's Farm (Dylan) (1:23)
  19. Snot and Feces Live at the Grunt Festival (0:49)
  20. Sweet Meat (2:29)
  21. Oh Yeah Uhh Bop Shoo Bop (0:45)
  22. Ohm is Where the Art Is (3:03)
  23. Concerto in R Flat Minor (1:23)
  24. Gagagapiggaeioupe (0:38)
  25. Sold American (0:39)
  26. Love Theme from a Major Motion Picture (0:38) (Whitaker)
  27. Prelude for Accordion, Sousaphone and French Horn (0:30)
  28. Oh God You're a Pie in the Sky (0:55) (Tangney)
  29. Short Circuit Comes to Town (0:13)
  30. Marching Toward AEIOU Blues (0:47)
  31. In the Still of the Night Again / Rumba (2:01)
  32. Oh Mommy, Oh Daddy, Can't You See that it's True Again (1:05)
  33. Art the White Elephant (1:11)
  34. Psychedelic and Orgasmic Finale (5:58)

Liner notes

Original tape (1971)

Musicians think they own sound.

Art has long been smudged by the craftsman.

Many people think art is based on knowledge and our culture has tended to make people feel 
stupid (and obviously they are because they believe it) actually knowledge is a hindrance to 
free expression.

We love sound.

"Music" is one of our favorite sounds.

Our taste in "music" is as varied as "music" and extends well into "non-music".

We are frustrated "musicians".

We never learned to play a "musical instrument".

All our "musician friends" told us we couldn't play until we learned notes and chords and 
things.

We quickly realized in ten years we would be able to play as well as people do now.

Bullshit!

In ten years we intend to play better than people do in ten years.

We decided we would never become "musicians" we would reanalyze interesting sound to see what 
we could do with any "musical" training.

Except that two albums later our funds had been nearly depleted between recording equipment 
and buying enough musical instruments to equip a junior-high jazz band.

All of our literate friends thought we were crazy except for a piano player who has been 
studying "jazz" for twelve years who thought, "they are more interesting than any band I have 
played with".

Thus began our concept of commercial potential which has led to The Warner Bros. Album this 
album is not too commercial but represents the direction in which our sounds are moving yes we 
are on our way (or have to go) towards becoming craftsmen in what we do and expect to smudge 
the name of art even more someday.

After all, this is 1971 and art is just a little old-fashioned.

LONG LIVE THE MEDIA
Previous releases: Rusty Coat-hanger for the doctor / The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger

"The chicken crosses the road so that he might obtain the other side."

Credits

pREServed limited vinyl edition (2018)

Trivia

See also

Listen online

External links and references

  1. The Residents/Homer Flynn exhibition at Johansson Projects
  2. Uncle Willie's Highly Opinionated Guide To The Residents
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