Enter the name for this tabbed section: THE THIRD REICH 'N' ROLL
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First Release
LP - 1976 - Ralph Records - RR1075 - US
Somehow They Came Out Differently (The Third Reich ‘n’ Roll)

I forgot about Ralph Records again, because it’s been almost two years since their last release.  So now it’s been a full three years since Santa Dog, three years to follow that up with the destined to be classic debut album from Ivory & The Braineaters, and they give us… The Residents again.  This is a group that is already on the edge of acceptance, and the Nazi theme of this new album isn’t helping matters.  Ralph’s plans must somehow dictate only one release in even-numbered years, but they’d better step it up a notch.  Ivory is their flagship bandleader, not… whoever The Residents guy is.  Now that I notice it, there are no names associated with this band.  I don’t blame them; I’d probably keep my name off this stuff if I made it, too.
Like Meet The Residents and its changing structures, there is a marked difference between the tracks.  Side one, “Swastikas On Parade,” definitely sounds like a natural follow-up to the first album.  Piano, saxophone, percussion and voices are all mixed together in a frenzy of barely controlled chaos.  They even repeat the trick of placing other people’s recordings into the mix, this time with Chubby Checker and James Brown.  Is that allowed?  I guess they can get away with it as long as it’s a few seconds and not an entire song.
The second side, though, immediately hits the listener with the additional sound of orchestral strings.  There’s definitely been an upgrade in all aspects: instrumentation, competence, song selection and mixing.  As the second side is named “Hitler Was A Vegetarian,” perhaps The Residents are showing their support for vegetarianism, associating it with their musical progress.
The concept of this album seems pretty straightforward.  I imagine there was a meeting at Ralph Headquarters (which I’m starting to believe is less high rise in the city and more card table in someone’s garage) in which the heads of the label said “Hey, Residents, here’s the deal: we can’t sell your music.  We know that, you know that.  The only reason anybody bought your first album is because it looked like The Beatles and the only reason they listened is because there was a Nancy Sinatra song on it.  So we want you to do more of that.  It will be like those collections of mediocre versions of good songs that have names like ‘The Beat Sound of Liverpool.’  People will buy it because they recognize the names.  They’ll hate it, but they still bought it.  And we need to bring in money since it looks like Ivory is never going to finish his magnum opus.  We should never have let him meet Brian Wilson.”
The Residents failed to hear the insult in this, and only heard “record other people’s songs and make the public hate you.”  So we have an album filled with other’s people’s music called The Third Reich ‘n’ Roll.  Curiously, the song titles are not listed anywhere.  I can only assume there was some legal issue and Ralph Records was stuck with an album they couldn’t release as intended.  But they are a label that has had two releases in three years, so they can’t afford to just let something sit on the shelf.  If it’s done, put it out there.
But it’s at this point I read the insert, entitled “Why Do The Residents Hate The Beatles?”  In it, they mention a second album produced in total secrecy and a claim that it cannot be released until its makers literally forget it exists.  With two albums available, Ralph Records went with this, so I can only imagine how bad the other one is.  At least advertising it is a way to never forget and therefore never release it.  According to the insert, the second album is inspired by the band’s guru, N. Senada, and the back cover of the first album said that he disappeared years ago.  He probably stole a lot of money.  No wonder Ralph’s hurting.
This entry was posted in residents on February 20, 1976.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: credits - tracks
with guests
P Zeibak
P Honeydew
The former bass player from The Front Line
not appearing:
The Poodles

• Swastikas on Parade
• Hitler Was a Vegetarian

Enter the name for this tabbed section: additional notes
Note: In 1980 a Third Reich 'N' Roll Collectors Box was produced in a limited edition of 30 copies of which 25 were released. These came with a hand pressed red marbled vinyl edition of the record with silk screened sleeve and labels, in a velvet-lined black wooden box with a sliding panel featuring hand-screened version of the cover art. Also enclosed are two signed and numbered lithographs by Irene Dogmatic. The entire box was enclosed in a drawstring bag made from a piece of Christo's work "Running Fence".


A censored version of the cover art was created for 2500 copies for export into Germany where Nazi symbolism is illegal.

Mute skirts the Swastika ban in Germany

Euro Ralph skirts the Swastika ban in Germany
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Liner Notes

This album is the first published example of two things for which The Residents became known: the concept album and music about music. Considered by some to be the cornerstone of The Residents' reputation, The Third Reich 'N' Roll consists of two tracks (one on each side of the LP), each a medley of deconstructed (dismembered?) covers of popular songs from the '60s.

In the original album liner notes, The Cryptic Corporation calls The Third Reich 'N' Roll The Residents' "tribute to the thousands of little power-mad minds in the music industry who have helped make us what we are today, with an open eye on what we can make them tomorrow." The ESD Classic Series CD liner notes call the album a "scathingly satirical look at '60's bubble-gum rock somehow twisted into shocking '70's bubble-gum avant-garde". Other descriptions included "Pop meets Dada", "the 60's as done by the 70's German avant-garde". Uncle Willie describes the album as "[taking] all your favourite bubble gum riffs from the sixties, dress[ing] them up in avant-guard drag, and send[ing] them into the streets to break windows".

The Residents put a lot of effort into the packaging and promotion of the album. In keeping with the "Third Reich" theme, the promotional photos featured men in swastika glasses and wearing giant swastika collars. The Nazi references and swastikas were a problem all through the album's history.

In fact, the album couldn't be released in Germany at all because the swastikas in the cover art are banned there. The band put out a "censored" version of the album cover in responce.

The Residents also made a short film to promote the album -- one of the very first music videos. It is in two parts. The first features The Residents, in newspaper costumes, dancing around to the album's version of Land of 1000 Dances in a newspaper world the band created in their studio. In the second half, a newspaper man is joined by an Atomic Shopping Cart, giant pork chops, and various other props from the Vileness Fats movie in a pixelated dance. The newspaper costumes caused more publicity problems for the band, though, since the tall, conical hoods led some of people to think that the group was promoting the Ku Klux Klan. In actual fact, the costumes were made that way because that was the simplest way to make a head-covering out of newspaper.

Ralph Records also released a special limited release of twenty-five The Third Reich 'N' Roll Collector's Boxes in 1980. The packaging was very elaborate: the disk was "hand pressed" in red marbled vinyl with a silk-screened sleeve and labels, all wrapped up in a black, velvet-lined wooden box. The box opened by a sliding panel which was hand silk-screened with the cover art, and contained two signed and numbered lithographs. The whole thing was bundled up in a draw-string bag made of fabric left over from a Christo's art project.

Pop meets Dada on The Third Reich ‘N’ Roll. Has rock ‘n’ roll been distracting us from (or lying to us about) the ugliness of the real world, seducing us with the music’s inherent mad little power fantasies? In 1975 The Residents released their first great parody album. It consisted of two LP-side-long suites, constructed out of almost unrecognizably ugly cover versions of rock classics of the 1960’s. The first suite was called “Swastikas on Parade”, the second was “Hitler was a Vegetarian.”

The album kicks off with a Resident imitating Adolph Hitler imitating Chubby Checker singing “Let’s Twist Again, Like We Did Last Summer.” There’s a rendition of “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” sung in German, and recognizable only for its short blasts from a horn section. There’s a wistful “Judy in Disguise,” a tribute to their fellow Louisianian, John Fred.

There’s a Kabuki rendition of “Gloria,” a comatose version of “Good Lovin’,” and an ugly “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love” (a song which would take on major importance in their music many years later) among dozens of others.

This is certainly an album from their early, primitive period. Most of the songs’ segues seem to have been created through tape editing. However the album culminates in a very sophisticated medley, musically combining “Inna-Godda-Divida,” “Hey Jude” and “Sympathy for the Devil” into a seamless whole.

Releasing cover versions of other people’s hits quickly became a major part of The Resident's repertoire. On their early interpretations, whether the songs are innocuous (”Flying,” “The Hanky Panky,” “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To”) or anti-social (”The Ballad of the Green Berets,” “Psychotic Reaction,” “Talk Talk,” “Sympathy for the Devil”) the lyrics are unintelligible or non existent–suggesting that it is not the lyrics, but the mindlessness of rock culture which is tipping us on the brink of fascist apocalypse.

In the Eighties, The Residents would take the opposite approach. They would make the lyrics very clear–proving that pop songs always have blatantly manipulative lyrics, but we never notice because we’re too distracted by a bitchin’ beat, and the good looks of groovy-guitar playing guys.

The Third Reich ‘N’ Roll’s somewhat controversial cover art depicts Dick Clark dressed as a Nazi, clutching a tantalizing carrot. He dangles the carrot before the youth of America, just as Snuffy Smith had dangled a carrot before the nose of Barney Google’s horse while leading him to the glue factory.

- Sinister Scratcher

Liner Notes

First CD Release

"Why do The Residents hate The Beatles?"
That was a popular question several years ago when Ralph Records released The Residents' first album, Meet the Residents. Not everyone appreciated seeing their Beatle-Gods treated so non-seriously. The real Beatles, obviously being more intelligent than their fans, thought it was hilarious. Capitol Records, predictably, thought the cover should be changed, so it was.
Then there was the second album, Not Available. Produced in total secrecy, the album is a conceptualization of the theory of obscurity, as applied to phonetic organisation, as originally put forth by the Bavarian avantguardist, N. Senada, with whom The Residents worked in the late 1960's. According to the theory of obscurity, the album was not to be released. However, in 1978, four years later after completion, the LP was released to fulfill contractual obligations.
In a more traditional vein, The Residents announce the release of their third LP, The Third Reich 'n' Roll. Already people are speculating whether The Residents are hinting that Rock 'n' Roll has brain-washed the youth of the world. When confronted with this possibility, they replied, "Well, it may be true or it may not, but we just wanted to kick out the jams and get it on."
The Third Reich 'n' Roll consists of two suites, Swastikas on Parade and Hitler was a Vegetarian. Both are semi-phonetic interpretations of top fourty hits from the sixties. "Our roots", say The Residents, a bright orange carrot clutched lovingly in their extended hands.

Album credits
The Residents play all the instruments except for additional vocals by Zeibak and Peggy Honeydew, and some fancy guitar by Gary from Beserkely. Produced by The Residents 1974-75.

Important Message: The Residents freely admit that the riffs, words, and even sometime the arrangements found on The Third Reich 'N' Roll were shamelessly lifted from their memory of top forty radio of the sixties. We, as the parent company, support The Residents in their tribute to the thousands of little power-mad minds of the music industry who have helped make us what we are today, with an open Eye on what we can made them tomorrow. -- The CrypticCorporation / Ralph Records

Euro Ralph Re-Release CD Release
When The Third Reich 'n' Roll first came out in 1976, it was the third album-length project of The Residents. Actually, this re-release is the third product on Euro Ralph. Due to legal problems in Germany, the original cover with swastikas being part of the cover-art, led to a situation where this masterpiece was not for sale legally in Germany. The de-swastikafied CENSORED LP version of the Third Reich 'n' Roll for the German market is now a collector's item and proves that the cover problem has been around for quite a while. Euro Ralph feels the time has come to bring this issue to an end and as a result you hold the third artwork for the Third Reich 'n' Roll in your hands. Since the layout had to be adjusted to DIGIPAK sizes Euro Ralph took the opportunity to change the front illustration of the cover which is now 100% swastika-free. More than that, we have put effort into the sound too. The original tapes have been digitally reworked by Tony Janssen and yes, they do sound better. Anyway, we hope you enjoy our product. Euro Ralph, autumn 1993

ESD Classic Series CD Re-Release
The Residents third album was released in 1976. The love/hate relationship the Eyeball-Ones have with pop music has, perhaps, never been better stated than in this scathingly satirical look at '60's bubble-gum rock somehow twisted into shocking '70's bubble-gum avant-guard. With a swift kick in the balls, The Residents leave rock and roll as fodder for tomorrows' dough-brains.