THE MARK OF THE MOLE (1981)
After the New Wave music press decided that The Residents were no longer interesting, the band started feeling angry, confused, and frustrated. Deciding that "a disaster was in order", they set about composing an album which told the story of a culture driven from their homes by a natural disaster and forced into a confrontation with another people. This album, The Mark of the Mole, was the first part of a planned Mole Trilogy, and draws on various stories from the Great Depression, such as John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
The Mark of the Mole opens with a radio broadcast of a warning about a storm brewing over the lands which contain the tunnels of the Mohelmot. The Mohelmot are strange, cloaked figures who live underground, and are known as "Moles" as a result. The storm floods the Moles out of their homes, forcing them to migrate across the desert to the sea, where the Chubs live.
The Chubs are a chubby, vacuous people who live for pleasure in a cozy pop culture. They embrace the arriving Moles, seeing them as a good source of cheap labour. However, the hard-working Moles soon alienate the Chubs, who complain about them taking all the good work and marrying the Chubs' daughters -- all the usual redneck complaints about other cultures, of which The Residents had heard plenty when they were back in Louisiana. The tension between the two groups comes to a head, breaking out in a short war. Afterwards, nothing at all has been resolved, and things revert more-or-less to where they had been before.
The band combined the story and music from this album with the second Mole Trilogy album, The Tunes of Two Cities, to create their first touring performance piece, The Mole Show -- which turned out to be as big a disaster for them as the storm and flood was for the Moles.
Shortly after I became interested in The Residents, I happened into a second-hand record store in Toronto, called Vortex. Quite to my surprise, I found an autographed copy of Mark of the Mole -- which I snatched up, along with an unlabeled Residents picture disk. It turns out that the autographed LP was a limited release Collector's Edition, of which only 900 were printed. They were pressed on caramel-coloured vinyl with silk-screened covers, and were signed "Mr. Resident", "A Resident", "Resident", and "Resident".
The CD release of Mark of the Mole includes Intermission ("With Guest Star Intermission", as the liner notes put it), a collection of the opening, closing, and intermission music from The Mole Show. _________________________________________________________________
The Mark of the Mole
* Hole-Workers at the Mercy of Nature 1. Voices of the Air 2. The Ultimate Disaster o Won't you keep us working? o First warning o Back to normality? o The sky falls! o Why are we crying? o The tunnels are filling o It never stops 3. Migration o March to the sea o The observer o Hole-workers new hymn * Hole-Workers vs Man and Machine 1. Another Land o Rumors o Arrival o Deployment o Saturation 2. The New Machine o Ideas o Construction o Failure/reconstruction o Success 3. Final Confrontation o Driving the Moles away o Don't tread on me o The short war o Resolution?
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
THE MARK OF THE MOLE LYRICS _________________________________________________________________
HOLE-WORKERS AT THE MERCIES OF NATURE _________________________________________________________________
Voices of the Air
People should be left alone Unless they have a happy home.
...to partly cloudy. The central part of the country, especially the Pit area, currently has clear skies but that condition could soon change due to an unusual influx of unseasonably cool winds sweeping down into the infamous Pit heat. Meanwhile here on the west coast the weather has continued much as it has for the last week.
When it was back when We would not pretend We were only friends.
We interrupt our regular program for this special announcement... Our telometer is reporting that a large storm has developed in the vicinity of the Pit area. Any travellers who might be headed towards that distant region are encouraged to delay further plans until this storm has passed. _________________________________________________________________
The Ultimate Disaster
Won't You Keep Us Working?
God of the nightfall, God of the shade, God of the deep it's you whose made All of the evening, all of the night, All of the motion without light.
God of the darkness, God of the soul, God of the deep dark friendly hole; God of the unseen, cloudy and dim; God of the hiding hear this hymn:
Won't you keep us working -- working, working, working; Won't you keep us working -- working down below. _________________________________________________________________
Back To Normality?
Harmony cannot be denied; Once again we are satisfied; Calm and quiet have been restored; So it is as it was before.
Isn't it? Isn't it? Isn't it? _________________________________________________________________
The Sky Falls
Why Are We Crying?
Shrinking from the touch of darkness, moaning in the night; Sobbing into melancholy, weeping into fright; Graciousness is not forgotten and into its place, Whispering insinuation finds a fond embrace. _________________________________________________________________
The Tunnels Are Filling
It Never Stops
There is no home where we reside, if there is nothing down deep inside, Except a serpent sitting beside a promise of nothing except suicide.
I have been told, deep in my dreams, that there is hope, and that it seems All that we seek was seen by the sea; yes, Safety and comfort do dwell by the sea. _________________________________________________________________
March to the Sea
We are rising as the sun retreats into the trees; We're thinking of our destination as we start to leave; We're marching to the sea, marching to the sea.
Smiling from the gentle touches of the evening breeze; No one is unhappy now and no one is fatigued; We're marching to the sea, marching to the sea. _________________________________________________________________
I'm a tired old man in a tired old land Watching shadows moving across the sand; Now they move at night and I understand That they cannot see more than they can stand.
I have been deceived, I have murdered and I have seen the soul of an unborn lamb; It can burn a hole in a guilty man, But it cannot stand in a distant land. _________________________________________________________________
Hole-Workers New Hymn
We have left our lives, we have left our land, We have left behind all we understand, Now we must cry out, yes we must demand --
Let my children live in a land that's low, Where the holes are deeper than light can go; Let them have not pride but instead a soul That can see the shame of the hands that glow. _________________________________________________________________
HOLE-WORKERS VS MAN AND MACHINE _________________________________________________________________
I heard a rumor from the east That Pit Moles' battles with the beast Have left them mindless and sick, That west is where, their fingers say, Are new found sites that give them something to cling to. The rumors have them coming here Believing life is not so harsh.
Life not so harsh, indeed. A hundred thousand refugees?
The Pit Moles are coming, I heard just today; Our problems with labor have just been done away with.
The Pit Moles will work hard and we'll barely pay; So eager to get work, they'll do things just the way we want.
The Pit Moles are thrifty, their Gods reassure That poverty's blissful; they like being destitute. _________________________________________________________________
Deployment / Saturation
Need work? Need work? Sign here. Sign here.
Sorry! That's all we need now; Sorry! That's all we need. No... No... No more work now. The rest of you please leave. _________________________________________________________________
The New Machine _________________________________________________________________
Today I have declared myself to be a subject of the will of the people. Too long have my studies and research been for my own pleasures and distractions. Civilization needs the minds of its people. My first project will be the freeing of our underground workers. There is no reason why technology cannot be called on to meet this challenge.
A machine. A great machine. I see it now. Creatures! Seek your dignity! Scrap metal and I shall fight, and you shall be the winner! _________________________________________________________________
They lie about all through the day Thinking that they should be paid For all 'em knowing how to breed Producing more for us to have to pay for their food, too.
They'll steal our daughters for their brides Expecting more than life provides A huge ungrateful straw stampede... _________________________________________________________________
Failure / Reconstruction
Failure... Oh, my beautiful machine. My poor, poor beautiful machine. What have I done wrong? Where have I failed you? But give up? Never! Not as long as there are souls imprisoned in the dark life. Not as long as a whisper of life clings to my body. There will be freedom in the holes! All will hail the new machine! Yes! Yes! I think I've got it now. There, the spark leaps to live. The Golden Age quivers on the brink of creation. Live, my machine! Live my savior! You have my breath... You have my dream, my dream. _________________________________________________________________
Final Confrontation _________________________________________________________________
Driving the Moles Away
We don't want your arm, we don't want your hand, All we really want is for you to leave our land;
We don't want your foot, we don't want your toe, All we really want is for you to pack and go;
We don't want your necks, we don't want your backs, All we really want is for you to hit the tracks;
We don't want your nose, we don't want your lip, All we really want is for you to take a trip;
We don't want your skin, we don't want your hair, All we really want is for you to become rare;
We don't want your tongue, we don't want your ear, All we really want is for you to disappear;
We don't want your ankle, we don't want your knee, All we really want is for you to quickly leave;
We don't want your palm, we don't want your wrist, All we really want is for you to soon be missed;
We don't want your brow, we don't want your eye, All we really want is for you to puke and die! _________________________________________________________________
Don't Tread On Me
Hatred has hunger and hatred has eyes, Hatred has purpose and hatred has size, Hatred has honor but hatred hates lies!
Assailants of mercy with hate in your eyes, Do not disturb us, you might be surprised, We are not weaklings to tremble and die.
Hatred has dignity, hatred is clear, Hatred has courage and hatred is dear, Hatred has virtue and hatred is hear!
Odious enemy do not come near There is no pity nor tenderness here, There is no mercy just villainous fear! _________________________________________________________________
The Short War
Instrumental © 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
THE TUNES OF TWO CITIES CD LINER NOTES
The Tunes of Two Cities is the second part of The Residents' Mole Trilogy which began with Mark of the Mole. While the first part is an elaborately told story of political and social struggle, Two Cities is a documentation of the music of these two cultures as they were before fate threw them into turmoil _________________________________________________________________
The tracks on this disc alternate between societies. First one culture... then the other... making its point, not just by what is said... but by the listener's willingness to understand the globe wrenching power of "difference". _________________________________________________________________
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
THE MOLE SHOW (1981-84)
The Mole Show is the staged performance of music from The Mole Trilogy, a series of albums. It's the story of two societies, the Moles and the Chubs, and the conflicts between them.
After ten years of making music, The Residents decided to go on tour as a way of dealing with anger, confusion, and frustration in the band. Between the sudden rejection of The Commercial Album by the once-friendly New Wave press and internal problems in the group, they needed something new with which to work off steam. They had never toured before because their music depended on the studio so much, and they felt that it would not translate well to stage. The three live shows which they had done only seemed to reinforce this notion. However, the development of the Emulator by EM-U in 1981 was a big step beyond simple synthesizers. The Emulator was the first sampler, and allowed musicians to take all those sounds which just can't be produced by instruments and play them back with great precision and control. Vangelis used one in Blade Runner, and The Residents reportedly spent hours listening to a bootleg tape they had made of the film, working out how it was being used. They were so impressed that, ever the technophiles, they ordered one immediately. Their first one was Emulator #0005.
The Residents used the Emulator extensively on the second Mole Trilogy album, The Tunes of Two Cities, and started experimenting with using it to perform music from The Mark of the Mole live in their studio.
The Mole Trilogy was inspired by various stories of the Great Depression, such as John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. The first album, The Mark of the Mole, tells of how the primitive but hard-working Moles were driven from their homes and forced to live with the sophisticated and superficial Chubs, who used them as cheap, lower-class labour until the friction between the groups exploded into war. The second part, The Tunes of Two Cities, doesn't tell a story, but rather juxtaposes music from the two cultures.
Inspired by the story of the Moles, T.D. Wade wrote a (as yet unpublished) novel, and Matt Howarth created a series of of small comic books called The Comix of Two Cities. He has often used Mole characters in his Bugtown comics as well.
When The Residents decided that they wanted to tour, they knew that they didn't want to do the standard "rock concert" kind of show. They wanted something more theatrical, and considered reviving the Eskimo opera idea which they had been playing with, but it didn't seem right. They decided to go with the Mole stuff they were working on at the time, and used it to create a stage show.
The successes which they had been having with sales meant that their Cryptic Corporation was relatively well off, having grossed about half a million dollars in its eight-year history. With the capital from the company and the expectation that the tour would pay for itself, they went all out with the production. The set consisted of huge 21' x 18' backdrops flanking a burlap scrim, behind which the band played. Chubs and Moles were represented by cut-outs which were manipulated by stage hands in Groucho Marx glasses. The dancers, also in Groucho glasses, would act out the story in front of all this. To help get the audience through the story, and to give them someone who they could relate to, they got their friend Penn Jillette to narrate the story. They also tried to hire Graeme Whifler, who had worked with them on Vileness Fats and a number of videos, to direct. Whifler, who had never done a live show before, turned down the generous $1500/month offer.
With a second Emulator and help from EM-U (who were so taken with the band's enthusiasm that they named their R&D room after them), The Residents started putting a show together. They hired Kathleen French to do the choreography. Phil Perkins designed the lighting, illuminating the stage from below and behind. The only spotlight in the show was the one on Penn, who would come on between numbers to explain what was happening, sort of like a Greek Chorus.
The first performance was a warm-up at The House in Santa Monica on April 10th, 1982, in front of an audience of sixty. It was a music-only performance -- no dancers, narrator, or sets -- to make sure that the Emulators were up to the task. The official opening was on October 26th at the Kabuki Theatre in San Francisco. The band had two sold-out shows there, then moved on for four shows in Los Angeles and one in Pasadena.
The shows were well received, though the audiences didn't always know what to make of them. Everyone on stage wore Groucho Marx glasses, except Penn Jillette, who would take pot-shots at the show during his narration, poking fun at the limited special effects and the strange story. Towards the end of the show he (apparently) loses his temper, yelling at the performers and storming off stage. He's quickly brought back on, tied to a wheelchair, gagged and wearing Groucho glasses, and left like that for the rest of the show. All in all, in spite of its confusing nature, The Mole Show was a success. The only technical problem which cropped up was overheating in the Emulator disc drives due to the eighty-five disc changes necessary in the show, but this was minor. Confident after the successful shows in California, and reassured by their new business manager Bill Gerber (who had worked with Devo), The Residents were set to take the show to Europe, and that's when the real problems started.
In July, Jay Clem, the The Cryptic Corporation's business manager, left the company. He was apparently dissatisfied with the independent music business, and went on to establish his own management company. Then, after the Kabuki Theatre shows, John Kennedy (president of the Cryptic Corp.) announced that he, too, was leaving. He was tired of pumping money into the group without it going anywhere, and the expense of staging the Mole Show was the last straw. To make things worse, he took The Residents' building, 444 Grove St., with him. The entire production ground to a halt, and it was only with the help of friends and family that things could be restarted.
Then there was getting to Europe. The sets were so huge that only a 747 jet could carry them across the Atlantic, which was very costly. Then, with about twenty people to support as they travelled, expenses started mounting (and that was after dropping the number of dancers from four to three). In order to raise funds ahead of time, the band had sold the merchandising rights for $10,000. At the shows, the stuff sold amazingly well, making far more money than The Residents ever got. This cut deeply into the show's ability to pay for itself.
The performances themselves went very well, selling out all over Europe. The Mole Show was a critical success, but the touring itself was incredibly stressful. The English road crew the band had hired was very put out, since The Residents didn't have any of the sex & drugs which they were used to getting on rock-n-roll tours available. They didn't like having to wear the Groucho glasses and didn't get along at all with Penn, who is very strongly anti-smoking, anti-drink, and anti-drugs. In the end, the group had to segregate the busses, with the roadies in the Party Bus, and Penn in the other (the Library Bus). There were the usual accidents and thefts, which the band hadn't counted on, as well as Penn being hospitalized just before a show in Spain with some sort of stomach problem (they had to get their stage manage to cover the narration). On another occasion, someone rushed the stage and attacked Penn while he was tied to the wheelchair.
All in all, the tour was a nightmare. After the last show at Leicester Polytechnic, on July 1st, 1983, the band vowed never to tour again. They had lost so much money that Ralph Records was in danger of going under. The band was rescued at the last minute by an invitation to perform one last Mole Show as the opening performance of the November New Music America Festival in Washington D.C. At first they refused, but they couldn't afford to pass up the money offered.
Unfortunately, the nightmare wasn't over yet. Their tour manager had failed to pay the English shipping agent, who was holding all of their sets and instruments in England until they could pay $16,000 for their return. The band convinced the shipper to take $10,000 up front and the balance after the Festival, but when they paid the agent kept holding out for the balance without sending the gear. The Residents ended up arriving in Washington without anything and had to rebuild all of the backdrops and sets from scratch. They hired dancers from a local ballet school, begged an Emulator from EM-U, and had to get their manager to do the narration because Penn couldn't make it -- all in the last two weeks before the show. They rehearsed at the local YMCA, and the dress rehearsal went so badly that they just had to stop. Finally, to add insult to injury, the missing equipment showed up from England just hours before showtime after Bill Gerber had threatened the shipper.
However, when the Uncle Sam Mole Show finally happened, it turned out to be the best performance of the entire tour. Afterwards, the Mole Show's costumes and sets became part of the permanent collection at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.
After the tour, The Residents left the Moles behind for a while. The project had been started to deal with frustrations the band had been feeling, and it ended up being far more frustrating than the original problems. They returned after a couple of years with the fourth part of the Trilogy, announcing that there were now to be six parts in total -- the odd ones telling the story, and the even ones exploring the music, of the two cultures.
Part four is The Big Bubble, an album of music by a half-breed Mole-Chub band. Part three has not, as yet, shown up. There are, however, several items out there (not all by The Residents) which announce that they are not part three.
The Mole Show: Live in Holland
This recording was made at the show in Utrecht, Holland. There are no liner notes on the CD package except for the credits and a strange question: "Who is UWEB?"
The tracks from The Mark of the Mole are linked to their lyrics page. The others are linked to the albums they come from. 1. Voices of the Air (3:05) 2. The Secret Seed (2:10) 3. narration (1:33) 4. The Ultimate Disaster (5:12) 5. narration (0:56) 6. God of Darkness (2:33) 7. narration (1:12) 8. Migration (7:54) 9. narration (0:41) 10. Smack Your Lips (3:55) 11. narration (1:09) 12. Another Land (4:20) 13. narration (0:58) 14. The New Machine (7:01) 15. narration (0:57) 16. Call of the Wild (3:20) 17. Final Confrontation (7:38) 18. narration (2:00) 19. Satisfaction (3:00) 20. Happy Home (4:18)
The Mole Show (The Roxy)
That time I found the autographed copy of Mark of the Mole LP I also found a Residents picture disk. It was in a clear sleeve, showing the "Classic Eye", with no indication of what it was a recording of. I bought it anyway, and it turned out to be another live Mole Show recording, The Mole Show (The Roxy).
The Roxy LP was originally a bootleg, one of two or three which were made of the Mole Show. The Residents bought up the tapes from the bootlegger (rumored to be Tom Timony, who ran Ralph Records for the band), and re-released it themselves as this picture disk. 1800 were printed with the Classic Eye on the A side and a close-up of the burlap scrim on the other.
The program is not the same as that of Live in Holland but similar. For one thing, it leaves off the narration bits, which have been almost entirely cut from the recording anyway. Many thanks to Mitch Goldman for sending me the liner notes.
This listen goes song-by-song, unlike that for Live in Holland, which is section-by-section. 1. Voices of the Air + Voices of the Air + Won't You Keep Us Working? 2. The Ultimate Disaster + First Warning + Back To Normality? + The Sky Falls! + God of Darkness + March to the Sea 3. Migration + The Observer + Hole Worker's New Hymn + Rumors 4. Another Land + Arrival + Deployment + Saturation + Construction 5. The New Machine + Failure/Reconstruction + Success + Song of the Wild + Driving the Moles Away 6. Final Confrontation + Don't Tread on Me + The Short War + Residents Rap / Satisfaction + Resolution? / Happy Home
Mole Show (1984)
In 1984, The Residents released a 27-minute long videotape of excerpts from The Mole Show, filmed at shows in Madrid and San Francisco and at the Uncle Sam Mole Show in Washington D.C.
The tape also includes Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats?, a 33-minute cut-down version of the group's unfinished film, Vileness Fats.
The band also released an LP of excerpts from this tape, called the PAL TV LP, to celebrate the release of the video in PAL format. _________________________________________________________________
© 1996 Tzoq _________________________________________________________________
THE BIG BUBBLE 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 story line 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 label 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 _________________________________________________________________
ABOUT THE BONUS TRACKS:
Safety is the Cootie Wootie, was recorded in September of 1983, and made its first appearance in a Japanese cassette art magazine TRA, in February 1984. The song was later released in America in a shorter version as the b-side of the This is a Man's World single. The full version appears here for the first time. © 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
THE MARK OF THE MOLE CD LINER NOTES
In 1982 and 83 The Residents took The Mole Show on the road. The highly acclaimed work was offset by opening, closing, and intermission music that had been recorded by The Residents especially for the presentation. The music was eventually released on vinyl as Intermission. In adding Intermission here to Mark of the Mole, a sense of reflective "commenting" follows the bleak Mole tragedy. For those of you with a sense of more integration between these two independent recordings, try programing your CD player with selection 7 first, followed by selection 1-3. Then stick in 8, 9, and 10, and follow those with 4, 5, and 6. Finally, cap it all of with selection 11.
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
THE MOLE SHOW VIDEO LINER NOTES
The Mole Show
The Residents toured a large portion of the known world from the Fall of 1982 to the Summer of 1983. "The Residents' Moleshow" contains excerpts from shows in Madrid, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco plus computer animation and graphics. It is 27 minutes long. _________________________________________________________________
Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats?
From 1972-1976, during the height (or depth) of their "theory of obscurity" period, The Residents worked on a video movie called "Vileness Fats"; it was never completed. "Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats" is an edited version of several scenes from the movie plus a new soundtrack. It is 33 minutes long. _________________________________________________________________
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
THE MOLE SHOW PROGRAM NOTES
The Residents are four ordinary people who do extraordinary things. At least, that's what they would have you believe. Whether there really are four, are ordinary, and do anything closely related to extraordinary is subject to a wide range of opinions.
This short overview of the group is not intended to dwell upon this variety of opinions, but rather emphasize those facts that have actually been admitted to by enough people to be believable.
The people who compose this strange recording group settled in California in the mid 60's. San Francisco was a delight of visual and aural stimulation at that time. This heavily influenced The Residents musical style.
In order to realize their visions, The Residents first created their own record company. Then in 1972 they started work on a full length video musical named Vileness Fats.
While these projects were successful artistically, the public in the early 70's was not sympathetic to new ideas. Friends, operating as the Cryptic Corporation, took over running the business aspects and soon, Ralph Records became a respected member of the record industry. In 1982, after more than ten years of recording, The Residents again felt the need to emphasize their unique visual sense; also the idea of working on a massive multi-year project pleased them. So was born the current "Mole" period (1982-84). The project was conceived so as to stimulate activity in a variety of the creative fields: music, theatre, literature, painting/sculpture, dance, film/video, and computer programming.
The current European Tour represents the half-way point of these Mole Projects.
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
BOOKS INSPIRED BY THE MOLE TRILOGY (~1985)
The Mark of the Mole T.D. Wade (1985)
The Residents' The Mole Trilogy inspired at least two people to explore the cultures that the band had invented. In 1985, T.D. Wade wrote this novel which fleshed out the story of the album of the same name. The book has never been published but an excerpt from it was included in Uncle Willie's Highly Opinionated Guide to The Residents.
The Comix of Two Cities Matt Howarth
Matt Howarth is a long-time fan of The Residents and has even included them as guest stars in some of his books. After hearing The Tunes of Two Cities he wrote the first issue of The Comix "as a tangent of silliness which [he] felt compelled to pursue". It was sold at one of the San Francisco Mole Show concerts. Howarth went on to write a total of twelve issues, but only issues 1 through 6 were published (by Howarth's Howski Studios and Ralph Records together).
After the success of Stalking Ralph, Howarth approached AEON about the possibility of re-releasing The Comix, and AEON agreed. All twelve issues will be reprinted in a six-issue limited series starting in May, 1996. © 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12