Over 16 years and an irritatingly unascertainable number of album, single, cassette, and CD releases, the Residents have made at least one point: if rock ‘n’ roll can be taken at all seriously, they (the Residents) will take it to whatever lengths they wish. Far more than comparable works by Zappa or Beefheart, the Residents’ experimentations and genre-destructions have, at their core, a love for and a deep caring about rock music–in fact rock has been the subject of their most interesting work, like the (40 song!) Commercial Album and their latest, the weird Elvis tribute The King and Eye. That said, it’s also true a lot of Residents music is willfully obscurantist and brazenly boring. But a Residents tour is big news–the band, in case you haven’t heard, is entirely anonymous, and the ongoing “Cube-E: A History of American Music in 3 E-Z Parts” presentation is only the group’s third outing ever. The three E-Z parts are forays into R and B, C and W, and, of course, Elvis; the show is equal parts theater and rock ‘n’ roll, I’m told, and includes (says a friend in San Francisco) a version of “Viva Las Vegas” that’s “pretty damn frightening.” Tonight through Sunday, 8 PM, Royal-George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted; 988-9000 or 902-1919.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Henrik Kam.