Biography
Every great band has to start somewhere, and for the legendary and long-running experimental group the Residents, the Delta Nudes represent their earliest incarnation. The Delta Nudes is the moniker that has been used to identify the earliest known works from the artists who would come to be known as the Residents. Hardy Fox, a longtime "spokesman" for the Residents' business entites the Cryptic Corporation and Ralph Records, once wrote, "the Delta Nudes never existed. It was a loose assortment of people who got together and made noise, and never bothered with a name. The name was added only recently out of needing a convenient way to designate the time period. But found in that group were the people who were to become the Residents, the man who would later become Snakefinger, and a handful of other regulars."

Hard facts about the Delta Nudes are difficult to come by, which is not surprising, given that the Residents have never revealed their true identities in a career that's lasted over 40 years. But it's generally believed that the group first came together in the late '60s, when two friends with similarly adventurous tastes in music and art, Homer Flynn and Hardy Fox, left their homes in Texas and Louisiana and headed west to California, landing first in San Mateo and later making their home in San Francisco.

Teaming up with several fellow expatriates from the South and West, including Jay Clem, Palmer Eiland, and John Kennedy, the young men began working on an experimental film project, Vileness Fats, which was shot on sets they built in a former printing facility in San Francisco's Mission District. Along with the film, which would not be completed for many years, the group began making music, sometimes joined by guitarist Philip Charles Lithman (later known as Snakefinger) and a mysterious mentor dubbed N. Senada. In 1972, the group released its recordings to the public for the first time, a set of two 7" 45s titled Santa Dog. While the liner notes credited the project to "The Residents, Uninc.," each of the four songs was credited to a different group, and "Explosion" was alleged to be the work of the Delta Nudes. (The other "bands" on Santa Dog were Ivory and the Brain Eaters, the College Walkers, and Arf Omega, featuring the Singing Lawn Chairs.)

In 1974, the Residents brought out their debut album, Meet the Residents, and the masked bandmembers stuck by their chosen name from that point on. Hesitant to discuss their history, and communicating with the press through official representatives of their business entity, the Cryptic Corporation, the Residents have been particularly reluctant to talk about their work prior to their first album. However, in 2012, a digital album appeared titled Era B4 74, which featured ten tracks of pre-Residents recordings, and an expanded edition appeared on CD in 2013, credited to the Delta Nudes and titled Greatest Hiss. Delta Nudes material was reissued by the Austrian Klanggalerie label in 2016, this time under the title Before They Were the Residents, They Were.... ~ Mark Deming, Rovi




 
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