After numerous solo releases under several pseudonyms, he released his first album under his own name, Hardy Fox (Heart). He also completed an autobiographical book called This before he died, which is available for free at hardyfox.com. In this book he mentions that Talking Light was his favorite tour (the one that introduced "Randy, Chuck and Bob"), but he was uncomfortable with Randy's onstage revelations about Chuck's private life:
"Randy (said) that Chuck was gay, lived on a farm, and was the composer of The Residents music," Hardy wrote. "Since these things were all vaguely true I only became more and more certain that I was this person and not a member of some anonymous music ensemble. The two were not compatible. It was a small death.
"It was the start of the end. Or maybe it was the end, and therefore a start. A start of a new expression of independence. I had to stop touring since it no longer worked for me, but I was not yet ready to be placed in the proverbial pasture. The Touring Residents went on their usual circuits without me. I stayed on the farm writing music that was not needed by the Touring Residents. After 2008, I made personal albums disguised as The Residents, as Sonidos de la Noche, as Chuck, and eventually as Charles Bobuck."
I saw The Residents only once, in 2010. I can't describe the sensation of seeing and hearing "the Singing Resident" in person. It was a voice I had known since my teens. The singer wore a mask that covered half his face. He called himself Randy Rose. It was a new way for The Residents to play with the ideas of identity and anonymity, public and private selves.
Hardy Fox's announcement of his own death drew another contrast between the lives we lead in public and in private. For several weeks, in music news and social media, he was Schrödinger's Fox: perhaps still alive, possibly already dead. Only his close friends and caregivers knew for sure.
"Despite any formal training," The Residents' official website curiously states in its obituary for Hardy Fox, "his musicality was nevertheless unique, highly refined and prolific." In Hardy's own words, "I don’t compose. I am a builder. I construct music from things both found and played. Music pieces are contraptions. Music is a well-told lie."
|photo by Leigh Barbier|
The Residents continue as an entity that records and performs music. A new album called Intruders was released in October; a 50th anniversary European tour called "In Between Dreams" begins in January.
Homer Flynn has allowed the mask to slip a little further. On Halloween, he appeared (uncostumed) at City Lights Bookstore to read from The Brickeaters, a novel credited to The Residents. In an April interview, Flynn said that he has "no intention of retiring."
Hardy Fox is gone, but the music (and the well-told lies) of The Residents will go on.