An avant-garde rock group that have released over 100 albums, helped pioneer the modern music video, and produced some of the creepiest songs, both original and covers, for about 4 decades, all while staying anonymous to the public.
Originally named "Residents Unincorporated", the group changed their name shortly before releasing their first album, Meet the Residents. After this, The Residents released several more albums, including, but not limited to, Third Reich 'n' Roll, which consists of two medleys of warped pop songs, Duck Stab/Buster & Glen, which is considered the group's most accessible work, Mark of the Mole, which would followed up by two albums in the same series and a tour, The Commercial Album, made up of 40 one minute songs, Freak Show, the soundtrack to the CD-ROM game of the same name, Wormwood, songs based on the darker stories of The Bible, and most recently, The Bunny Boy.
- Acceptable Targets: They don't like The Beatles.
- Adult Child/Man Child: Interviews suggest that they used to be such.
- Appropriated Appellation: Before they had settled on a name, they sent out a demo tape to Warner Brothers. Because the return address didn't include a name, their rejection letter was simply addressed to "Residents".
- As the Good Book Says...: Discussed and deconstructed on Wormwood.
- Black Sheep Hit/Germans Love David Hasselhoff: "Kaw-Liga", a dance/house-style cover of a Hank Williams song with the bass line of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" was a minor club hit in France. One could say that they don't really have a consistent style to be at odds with really, but it's a lot more poppy than what they usually do.
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma: "Om Is Where The Art Is," off The Warner Brothers Album.
Seattle wasn't built in a day,
Did you know that? I bet you did.
I have to be right, I cannot be wrong,
After all, Jesus wasn't built in a day.
- Bunny Ears Lawyer:Their "managers" (more or less friends of theirs that they have handle the business side of the music business, who may or may not BE them) have described working with them as more or less baby-sitting, but are basically willing to put up with it because they make awesome music.
- Canon Immigrant: The Residents have shown up as characters in Matt Howarth's assorted comic-books, usually as musical wizards.
- Concept Album: - Most of them
- The Cover Changes the Meaning
- Darker and Edgier: Nobody can agree when exactly, but after a certain point, their albums became progressively heavier and bleaker.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Seriously, good luck comparing Meet The Residents (or any of their demos) with anything they've put out since Not Available got released.
- Executive Meddling: The "Disfigured Night" show was hosted by Marlboro, who insisted that Mr. Skull not wear his trademark headpiece for fear of associating their trademark product with death.
- The Faceless: The band always performs masked, leaving their true identities to speculation.
- The most popular theory is that their "managers"/spokesmen of their Cryptic Corporation, Homer Flynn and Hardy Fox, are likely founding and current members of the band. The two are listed in BMI as the composers of all Residents songs and Flynn's talking voice is very similar to Mr. Skull's distinctive singing voice. On the other hand, Flynn and Mr. Skull could just happen to have similar accents, and keeping their reclusive tendencies and alleged flightiness in mind, maybe it was decided things would run more smoothly if their managers got the royalty checks, then parceled out the money to the band members.
- Faceless Eye: Their signature masks.
- Skull for a Head: Mr. Red-Eye became Mr. Skull after his eyeball was stolen and returned in a state of disrepair.
- Fake Guest Star: Oh, so many of them. Notably instances include Snakefinger, Carla Fabrizio, Molly Harvey, and Nolan Cook.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Possibly the only reason they got away with the artwork (NSFW) for Tweedles! was the way that they packaged it.
- He Also Did: These days, the identities of the members of the band Cromagnon is common knowledge to those who've actually heard of it, but back in the day it was rumored that bits of the band had moved onto help form The Residents. Also, people thought they were The Beatles briefly. It ALMOST makes a twisted sort of sense, but not really.
- I Am the Band: Mr. Skull, the band's singer, is rumored to be the only remaining original member, and supposedly has been for some time. Word of God and friends of the band say otherwise, (there is suspicion that not even he is an original member) but it's quite widely believed. Either way, he is definitely the oldest, having been around as early as 1971.
- In the Style Of
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Several of their earliest known recordings, while never properly released, are constantly being distributed online.
- Little Boy Blue Note: Subverted; the child singing on some of the Demons Dance Alone tracks was actually collaborator Molly Harvey. She did such a good Creepy Child impersonation that it was once thought that a child did the vocals.
- Miniscule Rocking: Commercial Album.
- Missing Episode: Baby Sex, The Warner Brothers Album, Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor, The Ballad Of Stuffed Trigger, and possibly more.
- No Name Given: Generally, any sound not clearly given to a guest is called the "Foo Resident". Most notably the Singing Resident.
- N-Word Privileges: Averted. Once.
- Opinion Myopia: The Wormwood tour, based on an album which dealt in the Darker and Edgier stories of The Bible, was accused of panning it. This got it a lot of backlash--perfectly well-selling shows would get cancelled out of nowhere, objects would get thrown at the performers, Nolan Cook even had to leave a show in Athens, Greece after taking a rock to the eyeball-mask.
- Precision F-Strike: Their songs are usually rather clean, but they will belt out an expletive every now and then.
- Pun-Based Title: The Third Reich 'n' Roll
- Reclusive Artist: Taken to its Logical Extreme--They rarely even get their mail there.
- Rock Opera:Though they've never been referred to as such, most of their concept albums could technically be this.
- Stylistic Suck: Their cover of The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" isn't called the "most intentionally repulsive song" for nothing.
- The Big Bubble, a Self-Titled Album by a fictional band.
- Surreal Music Video: Every music video they've ever made.
- Unperson: Mr. Red Eye is a subversion. While reissues (and recent music videos) of work he did before becoming Mr. Skull still show him as Mr. Skull anyway, they still issue videos that featured him (including the old "This Is A Man's World" cover and the One Minute Movies.)
- Updated Rerelease: Subverted: WB:RMX would be one--if the original ever saw release.
- The Voiceless: They never speak in public, instead having a "spokesperson" do the interview. Usually, the Residents are left to wander in the background, and the result is often hilarious.
- Those Wacky Nazis: The Third Reich 'n' Roll has only two tracks, each called "Swastikas on Parade" and "Hitler Was a Vegetarian." The cover art depicts Dick Clark in a Nazi uniform surrounded by drawings of Hitler dancing.
- We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: When it's invoked, it's Played for Laughs.
- Word Salad Lyrics
- Written in Infirmity: The basic concept for "Our Finest Flowers" was allegedly thought up after a bandmate retched all over a list of songs for the "greatest hits" compilation they would have released.