STRANGER THAN SUPPER LINER NOTES
About the Songs
Intro/Somethin' Devilish In 1971 The Residents made what can only be described as a terrorist attack on a small club in downtown San Francisco. The band (with Snakefinger and N. Senada) invaded the club unannounced and pulled off a 20 minute surprise performance that has become legendary in the mythology of pranks. This tape has just been rediscovered and is planned to be included in its entirety on the upcoming Daydream B-Liver.
Teddy Bear The Residents appearance on NBC's Night Music attracted more calls and mail than any other artist that has ever been on the show. Needless to say, not all of it in a positive vein. However, the concluding shots of The Residents dancing with Conway Twitty while David Sanborn wails on his saxophone achieves high awards for surrealism on television. This is also scheduled for Daydream B-Liver.
Why Didn't I Think of That? (The History of Digital Music Part 3---early midi) Part One and Two appeared on Liver Music. Part Three is from its upcoming sequel -- Daydream B-Liver. The story goes that the band, (under an assumed identity), demonstrated the evolution of digital music for a junior-high school class by creating four pieces of music. This Third part also became the theme music for the TV show that never took off, "Why Didn't I Think of That?"
New Orleans This jam on a section of Black Barry from Cube-E show just sort of happened. That is sound man Tony Janssen sitting in on drums.
Lament The Residents wrote a series of pieces to honor Snakefinger following his death. Lament is one of the pieces performed at Snakefinger's wake, the Snakey Wake.
Die in Terror / Eva's Warning One of the most requested release ideas from UWEB members has been the complete 13th Anniversary Show -- Live in the USA. This project will finally see light in 1991, and will be a completely new EQ'ed and spiffy realization from the original tapes. This is one example of what to expect.
Suzanna This clever arrangement of Oh Suzanna was at one time to be part of Buckaroo Blues suite. It was kicked out because it didn't fit anywhere.
Land of 1000 Dances / Double Shot Rock `n' Roll is just in their blood. This tweaky twelve minute studio track gets into an erratic groove due to strange drum machine programming. This is one of the real treasures from the Buckaroo Blues CD.
Mr Skull's New Year's Eve Song This is a studio version of the tune that Mr. Skull played to welcome in the new decade. Imagine the stage all bare except for Ole Black Skull himself grumpily pounding out this cheery message for the 90's. This too is part of the much mentioned Daydream B-Liver.
This is a Man's World This studio recording of the Man's World live arrangement became the big alternative hit single in Australia, (where it was recorded), a few years ago. It appears on the first Liver CD, Liver Music.
A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR: Perhaps there is nothing more remarkable to note than the fact that the live opening track, "Something Devilish", and the live second track, "Teddy Bear", while similar in mood and style, are separated time-wise by over eighteen years, and by an observing audience difference of over 18 million people, thanks to the mighty power of television.
In the eighteen year span that all of these songs were recorded, The Residents have revealed themselves to be more to contend with than most expected. The flood of critically acclaimed albums, videos, and performances is truly unmatched by any artistic group in America. These projects only tell part of a very complex story behind the anonymous band. This is where Uncle Willie steps in.
While UWEB (Uncle Willie's Eyeball Buddies) shares many concepts with the traditional "fan club", the difference is that UWEB produces a series of compact discs by The Residents that delve into their world of experimentation through studio and live recordings. For example, when The Residents stepped onstage at Lincoln Center in New York in July of 1989 to perform "Buckaroo Blues" from the CUBE-E Show for the first time, UWEB members had been listening to the "Buckaroo Blues" CD for almost six months. As of this writing in July of 1990, "Buckaroo Blues" has still not appeared on any commercial release.
This CD is intended to share with the public some of the material that UWEB has released, or plans to release to members in the coming year. This is not an act of artistic mercy for you mis-led open-eared voyagers. I sincerely hope you will be encouraged to join me and other good people in this most unique experiment: UNCLE WILLIE'S EYEBALL BUDDIES. _________________________________________________________________
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
THE SNAKEY WAKE LINER NOTES
The Residents met Philip Lithman in 1969. They became immediate friends and began playing music together. Hippies tend to do that when they aren't growing hair or smoking bananas. It was, no doubt, some of those very bananas that caused a photo of Philip's hand playing a "fiddle" to be given the rubbery interpretation of "Snakefinger", a name which stuck despite Philip's reluctance to accept it gracefully.
But stick, it did, as did the friendship between these very different but obviously compatible humans. The number of appearances of Snakefinger on Residents projects, as well as the involvement of The Residents on Snakefinger's albums, bears testament to the strength and commitment of their visionary alliance.
1986 was a particularly good year for their working together. The 13th Anniversary Show had necessitated a tour of Japan, Australia, North America, and Europe. Plans were made to tour together again in 1989. Fate decreed otherwise. Snakefinger dies July 1, 1987 while on an European tour with his band, The Vestal Virgins... silenced by a heart attack.
Philip "Snakefinger" Lithman was buried in London. The word "Snakefinger" was never uttered as they lay him in the ground. His grave neglects the name by which he is loved by millions. The many friends in San Francisco consoled each other, but the death of a friend so far from home is difficult to accept. The Residents organized a party... a wake... for their lost friend. The party was called "The Snakey Wake". It was so named due to Mr. Fingers' strange form of speaking in double rhymes.
The Residents arrived in black. More black net wrapped around their bodies and each carried an open black umbrella. They went to their instruments without introduction and hurled into an eerie version of Hank Williams', "Six More Miles to the Graveyard". A series of electronic renditions of old English laments followed as two of The Residents inflated several large black balloons with helium. These balloons were wrapped in more black net and open umbrellas. Then friends approached with mementos of Snakefinger and these items were combined into a package that was attached to the giant bobbing black mass. As the final lament was sung, the whole structure was launched into the clear night sky and watched by all until it was no longer visible.
The loss of this working companion has been difficult for The Residents, but the loss of Snakefinger as a friend is an empty space that will forever remain. _________________________________________________________________
THE SNAKEY WAKE
Music performed by The Residents to honor Snakefinger
August 24, 1987
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
VILENESS FATS (1972-1976)
Even before they made Santa Dog, their first published recording, The Residents began work on an incredibly ambitious project: a full-length film called Vileness Flats. The group had just moved into a studio at 20 Sycamore Street, San Francisco, which had a completely open ground floor -- just perfect, it seemed, for a sound stage. The Residents felt that film would be the ideal medium for the ideas which had been knocking around in their heads and jumped in with both feet.
The new studio was roomy, but not that roomy. In order to be able to fit sets into the ground floor space, the group made most of the characters in the film midgets. They aren't played by midgets, mind you -- the costumes were designed so that full-height people could scrunch up in them and waddle around.
The sets were very elaborate, done in a sort of German Expressionist style reminiscent of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. They were built mostly out of cardboard and the space limitations meant that each set had to be dismantled before the next one could be built. This, of course, affected the filming schedule and sometimes even the developing plot.
Like the sets, the story itself was built as needed. There was no pre-existing script, only a vague outline. The script grew as film progressed -- a system typical of the project. The Residents hired people as they found a need, grabbing Graeme Whifler to do the lighting and some directing and hiring J. Raul Brody, who was to become a good friend, to act.
The Residents may not have been organized but they were in control, something they felt was very important. Without a film company looking over their shoulders and telling them to make sure it would sell, they could do whatever they wanted to. They financed it all themselves, one of them selling his sports car for $1200, and could only work on it during evenings and weekends because of the jobs they were holding down to pay for it all. They used 1/2" black-and-white video tape in the filming, for a variety of reasons. They felt that video was the coming medium and wanted to be on the leading edge of the technology. With video tape, they could see the results of their work immediately after filming, which was useful as it let them get right on with re-shooting when necessary. Most importantly, they didn't have to pay for developing.
Unfortunately, the lack of direction and control on the project meant that it dragged on for years. By 1976, The Residents had fourteen hours of video filmed and were not even two-thirds of the way through what they had of the incomplete script. To make things worse, 1/2" B&W video tape had become obsolete due to the introduction of the Beta and VHS colour formats, so the footage looked incredibly dated even though it was brand new. There was no way that the video could be transfered to film and re-shooting the footage was out of the question. The space limitations were becoming too restrictive as well -- it took a full year to to build set for the night club scene and film it, for instance. Finally, shortly after they released The Third Reich 'N' Roll, The Residents abandoned Vileness Fats. Not ones to let even failed projects go to waste, they proceeded to tease the outside world with stills from the film, incorporating the mysterious film that never was into their mythology.
Because the film and script were never completed, let along released, the story of Vileness Fats is rather difficult to describe. It deals with the community of one-armed midgets called Vileness Flats (the film's name was changed to "Fats" later for no adequately explained reason, while the town retained the original "Flats") The synopsis here is deduced from a number of sources and may not be entirely accurate, but it should give you an idea of what's going on: _________________________________________________________________
Vileness Flats is being threatened by the Atomic Shopping Carts, armored shopping carts with huge drills on the front. A Bridge keeps the Shopping Carts away, but the villagers also hire the Berry Boy twins, a pair of Siamese tag-team wrestlers named Arf & Omega, to protect them. The twins fight off the Carts, saving Vileness Fats, and are given a banquet in their honor. The mayor thanks the pair and Steve, Vileness Flats' religious leader, gives a long, boring speech. The twins heckle him, throwing their dinner (giant broccoli) and he stomps off, depressed.
The defeat of the Shopping Carts leads to a new problem, however. The Bell Boys are a gang of midgets who live in the desert on the other side of the Bridge. They disguise themselves as meat and cross the now-safe Bridge to steal the real meat in the village, and their raids are depriving the villagers of necessary protein.
Steve has his own problems as well. No-one except his mother (played by Marge Howard) knows that he is really two people. He has a split personality -- not only is he Steve, religious leader for Vileness Flats, but he is also Lonesome Jack, the leader of the Bell Boys and mastermind of the raids. To complicate matters further, both Steve and Jack are in love with an immortal Indian princess, Weescoosa, who has been spending eternity searching for her true love. Whenever it looks like she has found him, however, he dies.
The raids by the Bell Boys are causing unrest in the village and fights are breaking out due to the lack of food. The villagers ask the Berry Boys to deal with the attacks, and they agree. Before they do anything, however, they head off to a local night club to relax. The first act is a performance of Eloise, a song from The Residents' unreleased album Baby Sex, which is followed by Peggy Honeydew, the night club's singer (played by Margaret Smik). Honeydew flirts with both of the twins, getting each jealous of the other. She is part of a plan to get rid of the two so that Lonesome Jack and his boys will be free to attack the village, and it works. The two become enraged with each other and have a knife-fight right there in the club, killing each other.
Steve, confused and worried about the whole mess, decides to jump into a local volcano to get rid of the problems. And that's about as far as things got. _________________________________________________________________
Vileness Fats dominated The Residents' lives for the four years that it was in production. Even when they were taking breaks from the film and working on other projects, Fats would creep in. Santa Dog mentions Weescoosa in one of the tracks and another song is attributed to "Arf & Omega, featuring The Singing Lawnchairs". Margaret Smik joined The Residents as Peggy Honeydew for the Oh Mummy! Oh Daddy! Can't You See That It's True; What the Beatles Did to Me, "I Love Lucy" Did to You performance in 1976, and the famous Land of 1000 Dances promotional video was filmed, for the most part, on the Vileness Fats sets using Vileness Fats props. _________________________________________________________________
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO VILENESS FATS? [NOTES] (1984)
In 1984, The Residents discovered that the state of video technology had advanced to the point where they could salvage their old 1/2" Vileness Fats work and transfer it to VHS. They created a half-hour video from their original fourteen hours of footage and recorded an almost almost-all-new soundtrack, calling the result Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats?. Only the vocal parts are taken from the original film.
The new video focussed on the Berry Boys' story, from the Shopping Cart battle to the twins' death at the night club. It also spends a lot of time with Steve's mother, but only touches on the Bell Boys, Lonesome Jack, and Weescoosa. Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats? has very little dialogue and doesn't worry too much about getting a coherent story across.
The videotape also includes half an hour of live footage from the tour of The Mole Show.
The band also released a soundtrack album of Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats?, which has recently been re-released on CD as part of the new "Film and Video Series" from ESD. The ESD release includes Eloise, which was not on the LP version. _________________________________________________________________
Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats? Soundtrack
The Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats? soundtrack album came out at the same time as the videotape. The first 98 copies were pressed on transparent red vinyl. 1. Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats? 2. Atomic Shopping Carts 3. Adventures of a Troubled Heart 4. Search for the Short Man 5. The Importance of Evergreen 1. Broccoli and Saxophone 2. Eloise 3. Disguised as Meat 4. Thoughts Busily Betraying 5. Lord, It's Lonely 6. The Knife Fight
PAL TV LP (1986)
When the Moleshow / Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats? video was finally released in Europe in PAL format, The Residents celebrated with the PAL TV LP, a collection of tracks from both videos.
The first 5000 copies of the album were pressed on red vinyl and had the side labels reversed. The Mole Show Live (previously unreleased) * Smack Your Lips (Clap Your Teeth) (4:15) * Final Confrontation (7:34) * Happy Home (2:53) Extract of Fats (from the Ralph LP) * Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats (4:09) * Broccoli & Saxophone (3:35) * Lord its Lonely (1:31) * The Knife Fight (8:00) _________________________________________________________________
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12
SANTA DOG '88 LINER NOTES
The band with the eye-ball heads believes that the only way to avoid a destructive lie is to lie creatively. While they may be right, that is not enough for people like me, or people like you. We need more.
And more is what you will find here in your Uncle Willie. Uncle Willie understands that reality has no shape, that love touches genitals where our leaders fear to tread, that hope means that each of us can really be. I bang my head against the vague, rococo dissonance of Residential puttering. I report what I know, what I believe, what I fear. This is the best I can do to turn this musical groups' excesses into some kind of dependable truth. Despite the pretenses of eliteness, they do have something worthwhile to say. I just don't know what it is. _________________________________________________________________
Santa Dog (aka Fire) The first song ever recorded by \eye for Ralph Records. It was recorded as part of a two-record set of 45's. The project was distributed free for Christmas.
Santa Dog '78 The Residents recorded this version of Santa Dog in response to their discovery of their growth beyond the innocence of their early work. It heralded the end of "the classic period" (though technically, one more record, The Commercial Album was recorded after this song was released). The project was distributed free to all mail-order customers of Ralph Records.
Santa Dog '84 (unfinished) In a first for The Residents , a track is here presented that was never completed. In original concept, The Residents had planned to record "Santa Dog" because it had been six years since the last recording and twelve years since the first. Besides, it was 1984. As work progressed, The Residents realized that recording "Santa Dog" should be done only as relating to changes in The Residents 's outlook. Part of this arrangement was pilfered for use in For Elsie. This recording was never distributed.
Santa Dog '88 This version now appears. It was recorded especially for U-WEB and appears only on this CD. This project is distributed free to all U-WEB members.
© 1996 Tzoq Last revised: 96-02-12