5 Questions Interview



The Residents (illustration by Dennis Hockaday)

by Tony Armes and Ryan Meehan

The Residents have been creating their multifaceted brand of avant-garde for more than four decades without ever disclosing the identities of the group. Their given early history would have the members moving from Louisiana to California in the 60’s where they began working with Phil Lithman (Snakefinger) and their mysterious mentor N. Senada.  Although their albums, videos, and innovations have been many, The Residents remain mysterious and it is only recently that we find the names Chuck, Randy, and Bob associated with the Residents.  And we are proud to have Randy Rose of The Residents as our guest today in 5 Questions.

This interview was returned to me with the following preface:  Hey Ryan – I’ll do what I can with your questions, but mostly I don’t really think like this.

FOH-TA:  What courses in music and art did you appreciate most in college? Who was your favorite teacher?
RR:  Sorry, but I never took any music or art classes in college. I took engineering for a while, but that didn’t go so well so I switched to history and English, but that didn’t go so good either so I eventually dropped out. I felt like a real failure at the time, but it worked out okay. My favorite teacher was a guy who taught the history of western civilization. When he lectured, the most boring stuff was alive and funny. I think his name was Dr Cook.
FOH-TA:  What inspired my favorite Residents song, “Rest Aria”?
RR:  Well, Rest Aria was written by my buddy Chuck so I don’t really know too much about it. But as I recall, Chuck tried to gather up a bunch of people to play it, but it didn’t really work so he played most of the parts himself. He never talked about that stuff much so I don’t know what inspired him but he sure used to practice it a lot.
FOH-TA:  If Jim Henson were a member of The Residents (when he was alive) how would the Mole Show be different?
RR:  Jim Henson?  With The Residents?  Well, we would have had a lot more money to work with and the show would have been a lot cuter and who know, maybe it would have even been popular, but I doubt it.
FOH-TA:  Out of your entire body of work, what are you most proud of? 
RR:  To be honest, the thing I’m most proud of is the fact that we’re actually still doing this 40 years later and even still having fun.  It’s not like we weren’t serious about it, but considering the way we started, it’s kind of amazing that it’s still happening.  Whodathunkit, as they say?
FOH-TA:  What regrets do you have?
RR:   Since I work pretty hard at trying to learn from my (many) mistakes, I’m not a regretful person.
FOH-RM:  What’s next for The Residents in the twelve months to come?  Any big plans in the works that we should know about? 
RR: I thought it was supposed to be 5 questions and, as I count, this looks like 6, but I’ll throw in a bonus answer. There are a lot of things in the works and most of them I can’t really talk about yet, but here are a few. First there’s the WOW – Wonder of Weird Tour. It’s the 40th Anniversary Tour and it plays the U.S. in Feb, 2013 and Europe in April and May. And there’s the Bad Day on the Midway book I wrote and just came out. And there’s my solo show, Sam’s Enchanted Evening which will hopefully be playing Europe this summer. And there’s the UBS (Ultimate Box Set) infomercial. You can check it out here: https://vimeo.com/53441332

Randy’s Tumblr:  http://randyresident.tumblr.com/
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