In 1981, The Residents suddenly got the bug to do live performances. They had done a couple of one-off shows over the past decade, but had been, for all intents and purposes, a studio-based band. But for the first time they were considering a tour.
To that end, they spent time in their studio devising ways to play some of their songs live, without the aid of post production. These rehearsals were recorded, but no show was produced because their energy got rerouted to Mark of the Mole, which did become their first touring show.
But The Mole Show was not as financially successful as all had hoped. Faced with debts and little time to raise money, Ralph Records began selling albums of existing material. Sometimes that took the form of compilations such as Ralph Before '84 or Best of Ralph, which consisted of previously released material, and sometimes they were comprised of unreleased or rare tracks, such as with Residue.
Assorted Secrets falls into this latter category. It collected some of the rehearsal tapes from the proposed show, as well as tests for The Mole Show. It was released only on cassette tape because it was cheaper to produce and easier to store.
Surprising everyone, most of all The Residents themselves, Assorted Secrets became a fan favorite in later years, fetching hefty prices on eBay. In response to the demand, Ralph America released it on CD, in packaging that made it clear that The Residents were not proud of the recording and would rather out be forgotten.