Allegedly never to be released until its creators forgot about it, 1978’s Not Available became available due to 1977’s Eskimo being, ironically, unavailable until 1979 because of delays and arguments with management. Now, 45(ish) years later, Cherry Red Records are making Not Available available again, but this time with the 1974 X Is For Xtra recordings which were adapted, edited, remixed, and reprocessed into Not Available released by Ralph Records in 1978. The result is a ‘before and after’ that gives a captivating insight into the album’s production. And yes, it’s lunatic.
In the world that you and I, dear reader, are experiencing The Residents – this world, the one where you are (hopefully) reading this – The Residents, were they to reveal their identities, would be locked up in one of the many “benevolent places of care” that pride themselves on looking after those for whom the world has neither patience nor provision. Fortunately, as the bard says, all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players who all have their exits and their entrances and, you will remember, play many parts. The stage – or, rather, the world, as we should properly refer to it – is the home of the eccentric, the narcissistic, the conceited, the extravert, the fool that has the sheer audacity to challenge the norm, to point at and make fun of the real fools. It is that place where those that don’t or won’t fit elsewhere can play out their fantasies and infect the minds of those that dare to sacrifice but a little of their time and attention with impunity.
When I listen to The Residents – which has become increasingly frequent of late – I like to imagine a world where they top the charts, where their albums sell in their billions, where they sell out stadiums for performances that last longer than pregnancy, where the band appear on late evening chat shows and regale their host and audience with tales of interdimensional time travel, where devoted fans gather at the airport to line the runway with exotic flowers from the far flung corners of the world whilst they await the arrival of their heroes, and where the music of The Residents is sung by schoolchildren every morning before classes begin. That’s a world that’s much more entertaining and stimulating than the drab one that’s currently dying before our eyes, isn’t it?
That’s a world we need to make a reality. The first step is to get hold of this release and play it to kids in school every morning until the stylus wears the vinyl out. And when that moment arrives, the children will have little choice but to perform the songs again and again for fear of them being lost to the past. And when they grow up, they will become devoted workers in huge vinyl production factories that churn out billions of albums by The Residents. Then, those workers will spend every penny of their earnings on the singles and albums that they have helped to manufacture so that their heroes can remain at the top of the charts. And those same workers will devotedly go to show after sell-out show on the band’s interdimensional tour before said workers relax in front of the TV to laugh along with the genial host of the late evening chat show as she presents to the world once more, the one, the only, The Residents!
If they are available, of course…
Words by Jason Guest
- Not Available available here at Cherry Red Records
- Part One: Edweena
- Part Two: The Making Of A Soul
- Part Three: Ship’s A’Going Down
- Part Four: Never Known Questions Epilogue
X IS FOR XTRA (A CONCLUSION)
- Mehico Ron Devoo
- Theme From X (With Roman Overtones)
- Theme From X (Pt 2)
- Solome And Goiter
- New Mexico Dream
- Where To Begin?
- Fairly Well
- Love Sprong
- Ah Spare Us, Gus
- Slow Texture
- Tennessee Williams
- Little A (An Authentic Folk Song)
- Anaconda Montana
- Tune Of The Unknown
- Soundtrack Music Piece 17
- Solo Meow
- Mehico Ron Devoo Finale