Who are The Residents?: That’s a good question. No one knows their true identities. Since their strange origin in Louisiana in 1969, the many revolving members of The Residents have been able to remain anonymous. This is essential to understanding and appreciating their music–which is something talked about in length in Theory of Obscurity (a very flattering documentary about the underground legends).
For many years, the band would wear giant eyeballs with top-hats on their heads during performances and rare public appearances. Today, they tend to wear various other masks and headdresses.
What do they sound like? This is very hard to answer. Dark circus music spiced up with bizarro poetic narratives. Nightmare versions of generic songs you hear on the radio (it’s been said that The Residents would record themselves playing their instruments OVER popular songs–and would then proceed to cut the tracks containing the well-known song [so as to use the song as a template, and make art out of commercial filler]). I’m sure they would want nothing more than for you to put some headphones on and listen to find out for yourself.
Very few bands have released as many albums as The Residents (proper albums amounting to 44 in total). They have also released various compilation albums, live albums, and other multimedia projects.
And being that their identities are veiled, who knows how many other side projects each of the members has participated in over the years. It’s endless fun to speculate.
Interesting Fact: The Residents spent over four years attempting to film a film-length music video called Vileness Fats. It was never finished, and only less than an hour of it is viewable on the Internet.
Recommended Listening: “You Yesyesyes” off of the 1977 album Fingerprince.