Theories of obscurity: Separating the real from The Residents

by Leonard Pierce

In his entry on art-rock enigmas The Residents in the Trouser Press Record Guide, Ira Robbins speculates that the reason they chose to remain anonymous was to prevent any gossip about their personal lives, leaving nothing to contemplate but the music. As The Residents enter their 40th year with a Feb. 2 date at Stubb’s, it’s clear that just the opposite is true: The music has won them plenty of devoted fans, but what’s garnered the most attention is their total unwillingness to play it straight about who or what they really are.

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