' original record label
the name coming from the somewhat colorful phrase "calling Ralph on
the porcelain telephone."
founded in 1972, shortly after the
group had moved to San Francisco, when the band realized that they were the only
people who would be willing to publish their work.
"unincorporated" themselves as The Residents Uninc. and managed the
new company under that name. One of the group's members could draw, so
they gave the company a graphic design wing called Porno Graphics,
aka Pore-Know Graphics, aka Poor No Graphics, aka Porneaugraphics,
etc., and the whole operation was run out of their new two-story
building at 18 Sycamore St. in the Mission District.
They named their studio El Ralpho, spoofing
who had named his El Saturn.
Ralph's first release was December 1972's Santa Dog
(RR-1272), a two-disk single which
was mailed out for free to about three hundred people — friends,
radio stations, even Richard Nixon
were sent copies (though
Zappa's was returned—he had moved). This was followed by the band's
first album, Meet the
(RR-0274), recorded in 1973 and released in
1974. They had trouble with distribution and made up 4000
based on the
album with which to promote it. The flexy was included in the February 1974,
issue of File, a Canadian art
Over the years Ralph moved to other artists besides the Residents.
The first was Schwump
, a friend from
Portland, Oregon, who in 1975 released a single called "Aphids in the Hall
" (RRX-0776). The
Residents' best friend and guitarist, Snakefinger
, released a single called "The Spot"
(RR-7802) in 1978 and went on to release four more albums.
Artists who released records on Ralph
Ralph became famous for its slogan, "Buy Or Die!" which was used as
the title of its semiannual mail order catalogs.
In 1976, the Cryptic Corporation
took over control of Ralph Records and maintained it until 1985,
when they handed it over to sales manager Tom
. The Residents left the label in 1987, after which
Timony ran it under license and folded it into his own label,
, until reverting control to
Ralph in 1992. Ralph Records has not really been a label since
. Since 1992 it has operated as
, the Residents'