Monday, November 03, 2008

Punk Single of the Week: The Residents

The Residents - Satisfaction
The Residents - Loser = Weed

The Residents, the world's weirdest band, released the Third Reich and Roll LP in 1976. The album consists of two side-long suites of fucked up covers of 60's hits. Their cover of the Stones' "Satisfaction" doesn't appear on the album, but was released as a single at about the same time. Probably the noisiest thing they've ever recorded. The Residents take the frustration expressed in the Stones' original, and amp it up to homicidal psychosis. I picture the singer (possibly resembling the gorilla on the artwork) clenching his teeth, turning cartoon red, and finally turning into The Hulk, an effect emphasized as the vocals go further into the red, becoming indecipherable noises.

I prefer the B-Side, personally. "Loser = Weed" is maybe my favorite Residents song (although there's tough competition from "Godsong," "Moisture" and their cover of Zappa's "King Kong") for the way it completely ignores any accepted concept of how to write a pop song. I should point out that it's not actually an "equals" sign, but an "is congruent to" sign, which isn't on my keyboard. My friend Dan told me that he once spent the better part of an acid trip listening to that ending over and over, trying to figure out the lyrics.

This isn't the very rare 1976 issue, but a much easier-to-find repressing from 1978. The REALLY collectable Residents single is the Residents Play the Beatles/Beatles Play the Residents 7". A copy of that one recently went for $255 on eBay. Oh, how I covet it!

Some CD pressings of Third Reich and Roll contain both singles as bonus tracks. Here's an amazing video The Residents made for an edit of some of the tracks from TRaR:

The video was filmed in color, in a warehouse where everything was black and white. You have to be careful--some VHS anthologies of Residents videos cheaped out and reproduced it on black and white stock. Don't be ripped off! Get it on DVD so you can see it in glorious color that happens to be black and white!


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