As The Residents have always operated under a veil of anonymity, much attention has been focused upon the mystery of their true identities.
Many rumors have come and gone over the years, some of which have been proliferated by the group themselves with the assistance of their management company The Cryptic Corporation.
Early rumors Edit
Possibly the most famous early rumor about the true identity of The Residents is that they were in fact The Beatles, casually recording experimental music after their break-up under an assumed identity (a similar rumor about the mid-1970s group Klaatu saw their debut album become a sales success).
Another rumor suggested that The Residents shared members with the obscure 1960s experimental band Cromagnon.
The Cryptic Corporation Edit
Since 1976, much of the speculation about the members' identities has been focused upon the four founding owners of their management company The Cryptic Corporation; Homer Flynn, Hardy Fox, Jay Clem and John Kennedy. All four founding Cryptics are listed as collaborators with the early Residents on the 2013 compilation album The Delta Nudes' Greatest Hiss.
The Cryptic Corporation has always been open about the fact that Flynn produces the bulk of the band's artwork, and that Fox, until his retirement from the company in 2016, was their producer and arranger, primarily responsible for engineering and editing the group's recordings for release. Despite this, the Cryptics have consistently denied being part of the core membership of The Residents, instead acting as their management and spokespeople (first Clem, and later Flynn and Fox), as The Residents themselves do not grant interviews.
It was admitted in Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents that during photo shoots and promotional appearances, the people in the costumes were not necessarily the members of the band themselves, and some tours have included dancers in costume in addition to the performing band.
The Big Bubble Edit
When The Big Bubble was released in 1985 with its album cover unusually featuring a photograph of four unmasked men, some fans questioned whether in fact these men (or some of them, or any of them) were The Residents. The Cryptic Corporation promptly denied that these men were members of The Residents, confirming that the four men were models hired to portray The Big Bubble, the fictional band represented on that album.
"Randy, Chuck, Bob, Carlos and Rico" and "Tyrone, Eekie, Erkie and Cha Cha" Edit
The group (under the guise of "The World's Greatest Residents Cover Band") "revealed" their identities to be Randy Rose, Charles "Chuck" Bobuck, and "Bob", as well as "Carlos", the departed fourth member, in 2010, prior to their Randy, Chuck and Bob trilogy of performance tours which continued until 2017. Rose, the long-time lead singer of The Residents, began Tumblr and video blogs, while Bobuck, the primary composer for the group since their inception, began a prolific series of solo recording projects (or "contraptions").
Over the course of Shadowland, the final Randy, Chuck and Bob tour, Bobuck retired from performance, and then from The Residents entirely in 2016, to be replaced by a new member named "Rico" for the remainder of the Shadowland tour. Bobuck would continue his solo career independently of The Residents, managed by Hardy Fox who was retiring from The Cryptic Corporation at the same time.
In 2017, The Residents debuted a new four person line-up: singer Tyrone, guitarist Eekie, keyboardist Erkie, and percussionist Cha Cha, and announced a new tour, In Between Dreams, as "The REAL Residents (?)". Despite this apparant dismissal of their previous identities as Randy, Rico and Bob, Rose nonetheless appears to feature in the group's upcoming film project Double Trouble.
Hardy Fox Edit
"The Residents just came through here on tour and they are still mysterious. I am not in The Residents. I have no reason to pretend to be mysterious."The Stone, Hardy Fox announced that he was the person known as Charles Bobuck, and thus, that he was the primary composer, arranger and producer of all of The Residents music from their inception until his retirement from the group in 2016.
Following this, Fox began to record under his own name, beginning with a self-titled album in early 2018. His prolific recording activity would continue independently of and alongside The Residents until shortly before his death in October 2018 following a series of illnesses.