The Residents: Third Reich’n Roll (pREServed)

❉ The Residents offer an invitation to the most disturbing ‘70s party it is possible to imagine.

“Over the course of two sides or “suites”, ‘60s rock and pop, bubblegum teenage high school music and garage rock are obliterated in a way only the Residents can. You could say the bubblegum has been spat out and trampled onto the studio floor here. It’s an invitation to the most disturbing ‘70s party it is possible to imagine.”

Originally recorded around the time of their near-mythical film Vileness Fats (more on that HERE), The Third Reich’n Roll (pREServed Edition) is the second in Cherry Red’s series of double vinyl album releases from those “theorists of obscurity” The Residents.

Originally released in 1976 with its controversial Dick Clark cover, The Third Reich’n Roll is basically a destruction of innocence where the Residents smash up and destroy the music of their youth whilst making uncomfortable and confrontational use of Nazi imagery. At the time this was recorded, World War II was only three decades in the past and the birth of rock and roll only twenty years gone. It seems that the Residents were making an analogy between the mass hysteria at the centre of these two events.

Over the course of two sides or “suites”, ‘60s rock and pop, bubblegum teenage high school music and garage rock are obliterated in a way only the Residents can. You could say the bubblegum has been spat out and trampled onto the studio floor here. It’s an invitation to the most disturbing ‘70s party it is possible to imagine.

Commencing with a German version of the Twist, opening side-long suite Swastikas on Parade is a waking nightmare of childlike percussion, synthesiser sounds and samples of diving bomber planes and car crashes, punctured by nearly 30 cover versions. The mash-up, or smash-up rather, of America’s Horse With No Name and the Swinging Medallions’ Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love) is particularly disturbing and sounds like how it must feel to suffer from the worst hangover ever before the party from hell has even started. It concludes with an equally nightmarish rendition of the Box Tops’ The Letter.   

Side two suite Hitler Was A Vegetarian is another monstrous medley, starting with Question Mark and the Mysterians’ garage band classic 96 Tears, segueing into a broken-up version of the Lesley Gore song It’s My Party. Their version of  Iron Butterfly’s In A Gadda Da Vita (a song I have always found disturbing anyway) sounds like it is sung by a serial killer and the side ends with overload of Sunshine Of Your Love/ Sympathy For the Devil and Hey Jude by their self-declared nemesis, The Beatles. The deconstruction of the Fab Four continue with the infamous sound collage, the extremely rare Beyond The Valley Of A Day In The Life, included as a bonus white label 7” single in this limited edition vinyl package.

What the Residents are doing in the studio on this album is genuinely innovative and includes help from cohorts Pamela Zeibak, Penny Honeydew, Gary Phillips and Snakefinger. There are nearly 30 “skeletal interpretations” here and it’s a fascinating if difficult listen. Produced with the involvement of the Cryptic Corporation and remastered by Scott Colburn, this double album vinyl release also includes the multi-track Groovy Greats RDX reinterpretation of Side 2 and the live Oh Mummy! Oh Daddy! Can’t You See That It’s True; What The Beatles Did TO ME I Love Lucy Did To You concert. It also includes a four page booklet that includes the liner notes from the 2018 pREServed edition.


❉ The Residents: “The Third Reich ‘N Roll – Preserved” Double Vinyl Edition (Cherry Red NRTLP003D) was released 10 February 2023 by Cherry Red Group, RRP £30.99. Click HERE to order directly from Cherry Red Records.

❉ Cherry Red Records have been releasing and reissuing the most innovative and independent thinking music since 1978. Follow them on Twitter or visit their site.

 James Collingwood is based in West Yorkshire and has been writing for a number of years. He currently also writes for the Bradford Review magazine for which he has conducted more than 30 interviews and has covered music, film and theatre.  His Twitter is @JamesCollingwo1

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