Alternately seen as a rock band, an arts collective and a spirit, THE RESIDENTS have been regarded as icons in the world of experimental music for over forty years. In addition to their groundbreaking work in the areas of trance, world fusion, electronica, punk, industrial and lounge music, the group has also been credited with being among the originators of performance art and music video. Their early videos are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and their Freak Show CD-ROM was featured in MOMA's "Looking at Music 3.0" exhibition. Their four decade long career has also taken them into the world of film and television music, having scored numerous films and TV series as well as several projects for MTV. In addition, the group is also thriving in the world of digital media having released ten DVDs, and two internet series.
Recently, performing as Randy, Chuck & Bob, the World's Greatest Residents Cover Band, the group celebrated its 40th anniversary with a trilogy of tours: The Talking Light, Wonder of Weird and Shadowland. No longer content to merely impersonate a band, THE RESIDENTS unexpectedly morphed into a power trio, gleefully plundering their vast catalog of music to the delight to their fans. Not content to rest upon their justly lauded laurels, the group is currently reforming as THE REAL(?) RESIDENTS, a four piece combo that will celebrate its debut at the prestigious Blue Note jazz club in Tokyo, performing six shows from March 21-23, 2017.
Where do I start?
If you are new to The Residents, deciding where to start can be a daunting task. If you haven't already, we recommend seeking out the 2015 documentary Theory of Obscurity. It gives a broad overview of the group and doesn't delve deeply into any single project, but you may come away from it with an idea of which projects you'll want to explore further.
A survey of fans was conducted in 2014, and from that we learned (somewhat unsurprisingly) that the most popular albums are Duck Stab and The Commercial Album. Those are certainly fine places to start. The survey also asked for favorite musical artists other than The Residents, so you could look through the results, finding a group you already like, and see what albums other fans think are best (spoiler: it's probably Duck Stab). You can view the survey results here.
If you are the research type, perhaps you will want to read through the project descriptions in the Historical section of this website, finding something that strikes your fancy.
As for where to go after that, one method some newcomers have found helpful is to progress chronologically either forward or backward to somewhat ground you in whatever frame of mind The Residents were in at the time.
As you can imagine, with such a long history and large catalogue, not all Residents releases are currently in print. On our merch page we try to keep up with currently available products. For others, you'll need to seek out after market copies from used record shops or sites like eBay. Happy hunting!