Re: santa dog '78
Re: santa dog '78
Date sent: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 07:17:29 -0600 From: a f KAY mountainway@JUNO.COM Subject: santa dog '78
Sr. Gianni Morelenbaum Gualberto,
santa dog was the residents' first record, released by ralph records in 1972. however, they revisited this chestnut in 1978 with a bit more polish and maturity for a christmas release. as a small token of thanks for tracking down the elusive horo stockpile, i'd like to send you a tape so you can hear for yourself their amusing sonic dadadadaieee qualities, which seem, upon relistening, very kindred to ra spirit tones.
This one I will talk about because I'm not on it, and I can tell you what is generally known about it among fans and give a few secrets away ....
Strictly speaking, the original Santa Dog EP was recorded before they were Residents. The original double 7" does not mention them except as the parent company. The legend reads "Season's Greetings from Residents, Uninc." ... it was packaged to look like a four-track compilation double 7" .....
The four tracks were:
"Fire" by Ivory and the Brain Eaters "Lightning" by Delta Nudes "Explosion" by College Walkers "Aircraft Damage" by Arf & Omega and the Singing Lawnchairs
500 were pressed, 400 are said to be usable but it's more like 350 tops. On most copies the cover was folder and the shrinkwrap was put on before the varnish had properly dried, so the package had to be ripped to be opened ... and this is why it's so tough to find one in good shape. I'd say there are maybe 30-40 decently collectible copies left at the most. Most have excessive ringwear on the inside of the gatefold because of the varnish screwup.
All of the songs (contrary to legend) were done for the original Vileness Fats, the Residents full feature length music video, which is a project that I really don't want to talk about for various reasons. The intent of the single was promotional for the movie, which was never finished in its original form due to the videotape revolution ... by the time 1977 came along and they were most of the way through it, their black and white footage looked really poor compared to what was available, so they gave up.
The record was sent out as a Christmas present to 300 people ... including Frank Zappa, Sunny, Harry Partch, and Richard Nixon. The other 50-odd languished until the last one was sold in 1977 or 1978, when the Residents hit in England with "Satisfaction" and they started pressing their records as something more than limited editions. I gave one of my two copies to Penn Jillette during the publicity stunt in which The Residents locked him in a hotel for a week and forced him to listen to Ralph Records day and night.
The song "Fire" is the one most frequently referred to as "Santa Dog" but its true title is "Fire." That was done in honor of the Beach Boys' song "Mrs. O' Leary's Cow" which would have been on Smile, but Brian Wilson got paranoid over it. That one is frequently referred to as "Fire" so the Residents thought it would be interesting if it were the other way around. Over the years they've heard many variations of the lyrics, all of which are pretty much correct, as it's gibberish, but as conceived the words to the chorus are: "Santa Dog says Jesus' foetus has no presents (has no presence in the future)."
I don't know if they had Ra in mind when they wrote it, but I do know that they frequently used to see Sunny in the late 60's and early seventies. What is interesting to note is that the Residents themselves if they were into talking about themselves is that almost no one who was ever in the band was truly a learned musician ... they were always more interested in sound as canvas. There have been exceptions to that though ..... :-)