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Uncle Willie's Eyeball Buddies, often referred to simply as UWEB, was a Residents fan club and record label formed in 1988 by noted Residents historian Uncle Willie.

UWEB remained active until 1992, releasing quarterly newsletters, t-shirts, yo-yos and other merchandise, as well as several EPs, albums and compilations of otherwise unheard (at the time) Residents music.

History

Uncle Willie's Eyeball Buddies (or UWEB) was founded by Residents fan Uncle Willie in 1988. Willie had been introduced to The Residents six years earlier. The nephew, knowing that Willie's taste in music tended to be adventurous, would often bring home records to try and shock his uncle, which Willie would take great pleasure in dismissing. On this occasion, the nephew brought The Residents' 1981 album Mark of the Mole, as well as two tickets to a performance of their Mole Show. After this, Willie was hooked.

Unlike the first Residents fan club, W.E.I.R.D., UWEB worked closely with the group, releasing exclusive material to club members that had been previously unknown to fans, even recording tracks especially for UWEB releases. The club released a quarterly newsletter which announced the latest news, explored the technology behind the music, and generally examined the world of The Residents.

The face which appeared on every UWEB release quickly became another image in The Residents' iconography. The image derives from a 1959 drawing of Harry and David Holmes, the founders of the Fruit of the Month Club. Designer Rex Ray took the original image, flipped and stretched it horizontally to produce the face of Uncle Willie. In October 2001, fan website RZWeb received a cease and desist letter from the Fruit of the Month Club lawyers, demanding that the UWEB logo and any images of the Holmes brothers be removed from RZWeb.

UWEB folded in 1992. Uncle Willie was finding that the logistics of running the club were overshadowing the enjoyment he got out of it; plans for a fan convention had fallen through for a variety of reasons, and The Residents had gotten upset with UWEB after Willie had reported on an album they were recording entitled Monkey On My Back. After the album was announced in the UWEB newsletter, The Residents felt that they could no longer develop the album with the innocent approach they had intended, and shelved the project entirely, although it is believed this project later became their 1992 album Our Finest Flowers. Apparently the group eventually moved on from their tensions with UWEB, as the last track on Our Finest Flowers is titled "Be Kind To U-WEB Footed Friends".

Uncle Willie had always meant to keep UWEB out of the notoriously secretive group's way, and the demise of Monkey On My Back led him to feel that the fan club was doing more harm than good. Another factor which contributed to the end of UWEB was the restructuring of Ralph Records into Ralph America and EuroRalph. After the club folded, Uncle Willie published the book and compilation album Uncle Willie's Highly Opinionated Guide To The Residents, joined the Ralph staff, and continued to write press releases and liner notes for the group into the beginning of the 21st century.

Releases 

UWEB released nine CDs in all, each featuring never before released material. One of them, Stranger Than Supper, was distributed commercially to attract people to the club, while the others could only be ordered through UWEB.

In 1999, Ralph America released a retrospective collection called Land of Mystery, which was compiled by Uncle Willie and featured tracks from the UWEB titles.

See also

External links and references

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