Interview: The Residents

Is the world more crazy today or when you kicked off The Residents, 40 years ago?As The Residents' spokesman, I can only give my own opinion for a question like that, but it's my feeling that the world is no crazier now than it's ever been. The difference is that with emergence of mass communication, the craziness is more obvious, consequently people are more aware of it.

Can art change the world? Or does the world just not want to be changed.

I don't think art alone can change the world. Art reflects change.

48 studio albums, plus the compilations, the live albums, the singles, the EPs, the multimedia projects, the touring. So many things in such little time takes a very strict schedule, I imagine. So, describe a typical day for The Residents.

A typical day for The Residents is not that much different from most people. They get up, have breakfast and go to work, have lunch, go back to work, etc. They are very disciplined, so by keeping up that schedule of 40 years and working exclusively for themselves, they have accomplished quite a bit.

With so much music under your belt, do you listen to your previous releases?

In general, The Residents are always moving forward, so they pay little attention to the past unless they are reworking material from an earlier album. Even then, they usually try to change or re-interpret it as much as possible rather than trying to be faithful to the original.

What are the most valuable lessons this 40-years-in-the-musicbusiness-trip has taught you?
I think the most valuable lesson is that things change, so one should never become to comfortable with the status quo. But this is more of an overall life lesson and not just about the music business. The Residents like to keep moving forward.

A tour for the 40 years of The Residents. Should we expect some of "the hits"?

Since The Residents don't have any "hits," they aren't burdened by the obligation to play them. All of the material they have chosen for this tour is from their catalog, but most is fairly obscure; also they have drastically rearranged it, so in many ways the material often sounds like new songs.

You return to Athens once more. What have you associated Athens with?

The Residents mainly have positive associations with Athens, although there was an incident back on the Wormwood tour in 1999 when someone in the audience threw a rock and it hit Bob, the guitar player, in the head. Luckily Bob was wearing an eyeball mask at the time and it protected him, but he still had a serious cut. But The Residents have mostly had good times in Greece.

Has the Ultimate Box Set found a buyer yet? If no one comes up with the 100K, is there a plan-B for this project?

So far there has been one buyer of a U.B.S. (Ultimate Box Set). It's a young man in Indiana who is building a recording studio and wants to make the U.B.S. the centerpiece of the studio. There has also been a serious inquiry from a contemporary art museum in Romania, but this happened just before the tour started, so we haven't been able to follow up on it yet.

Name one thing in life that isn't negotiable.

The Residents will bring their Wonder of Weird tour this week in Athens (24/5 @ Fuzz Club). 

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