The Austin Chronicle has said, "It's been a little more than 25 years since L.A.'s Stan Ridgway and Wall of Voodoo released Call of the West, and that calls for a drink. The album's dusty, Barstow-to-Bakersfield, Ross Macdonald-meets-Edward G. Ulmer in a Death Valley Detour to nowheresville title track and grimly optimistic film noir narratives still reverberate across the musical Route 66 Voodoo frontman Stan Ridgway paved, roadkill and all. It's the closest musical approximation yet of that hardscrabble, postwar, westward wanderlust to rush headlong into the unknown, "And above all to get a fair shake, to get a piece of the rock, a slice of the pie, to spit out the window of your car and not have the wind blow it back in your face.."
Ridgway's post-Wall of Voodoo output has, if anything, cemented his neo-noir rep as one of American music's great storytellers and songwriters, the wild and wily Steinbeck of sad whiskey railroads and rusted, ramshackle American dreams.." - Marc Savlov / Austin Chronicle
"Simply one of the best shows we've ever done" - SR
Stan Ridgway: electric guitar, harmonica and vocals
Pietra Wexstun: keyboards, electronics and vocals
Rick King: guitar, bass and vocals
Joe Berardi: drums, electronics and percussion.
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Article: The Californian 10/27/07
Stan Ridgway Works His Magic
at Temecula's Lonshadow Concert Series
By: Erica Soroco - For The Californian
More than 25 years have passed since Stan Ridgway - founding member and frontman for the band Wall of Voodoo sprang onto the music scene, capturing the ear of listeners young and old.
Though much time has passed, Ridgway still finds fans crowding in close to hear him sing some of the bands biggest hits. This alone makes his Friday appearance at Temecula's Longshadow Ranch Winery titled Stan Ridgway Celebrates Wall of Voodoo's "Call of the West."
"This show is a celebration of Voodoo's 'Call of the West record,' " Ridgway said. "It has been 25 years since the release, so it's a good time to revisit it, rally the troops and march to the mountaintop, light a beacon, plant a flag, give everybody a rubdown, fire up the barbeque, and then march on into the future, huh? There can never be another Wall of Voodoo like there was, but the music is still with me and my band here, and we have been having a blast playing. It's quite a show, and it has been really fun. Lots of old friends and new are coming out to the shows." While Ridgway's band, now consisting of Ridgway on harmonica, vocals, and guitar, Pietra Wexstun on keyboards, electronics, and vocals, Rick King on guitar, bass, and vocals, and Joe Berardi on drums, percussion, and electronics is not made up of the original members, the new line-up works side-by-side with Ridgway to keep the Wall of Voodoo spirit alive.
Though the band toured all summer, the time spent didn't cut into the amount of time that Ridgway spent penning lyrics.
"I'm always writing a song somehow, either in my head or recording, and I'm never really sure where they come from, you know?" Ridgway said. "Sometimes it's a mystery how it all gets done in the end. Songs are kind of like therapy for me. or maybe a puzzle I'm trying to solve, but there's a piece missing, so I just rearrange the pieces into something new. I tend to let my subconscious do the driving, and I ride shotgun and watch out for oncoming traffic."
Ridgway got his start in music when he began a Los Angeles-based film score business known as Acme Soundtracks a corporation which he later morphed into the New Wave band Wall of Voodoo.
He was raised in Los Angeles, and always had a soft spot for Southwestern Goth. A passion which led him on a path through electro-art, and punk, before finally finding his niche in a combination of rock 'n' roll and blues. Even Ridgway himself believes that his music is always evolving and being taken to new heights.
"My music has evolved over the years, and I'm always learning something new about music and writing songs," Ridgway said. "It's not a bad way to spend your time really; and I'm still just as excited about it as when I first started out. I'm always just trying to get better really, and that's pretty much it. I feel it is a privilege to play music for people, and I'm always thinking of where to take it next, and give folks a surprise."
Wall of Voodoo emerged on the scene back in 1980, with their debut, self-titled EP, but it was their second full-length album, "Call of the West," which finally gained them the recognition they were hoping for.
The album contained the smash hit, "Mexican Radio," which made a splash on the then-new MTV. Ridgway, however, feels that, while "Mexican Radio" is their best known song, "Call of the West" actually contained many more ear-pleasers that were overlooked, hence his reason for wanting to celebrate the album which started it all.
"I always felt the record had a great calling card in 'Mexican Radio,'" Ridgway said. "But there's a lot more than that on the record. It opens up into a lot of paradoxical issues of success, failure, discovery, getting lost, going out someplace that's so barren and lost you just might find yourself there. They're old themes about what it takes to make a new beginning, and how promises are illuminated in such a way that attract people, but they're not always real. They're just myths, or maybe like a desert mirage."
A mirage that takes you on a musical journey, and that's exactly what Ridgway intends when he puts his heart into a song. Unlike some, Ridgway does what he can to paint a picture for the listener. To give them the ability to hear the music, and create a vision that can accompany it. A talent he learned from studying, and soaking up the sounds of musicians from all over the world, from folk to rock and psychedelics to European soundtracks, which have inspired him to change it up a bit, and create something all his own.
"I've been playing a lot more guitar these days, and really getting back into it," Ridgway said. "I've always been a fan of the style of guitar like in the Ennio Morricone soundtracks, like "The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly." We'll be doing a medley of some of those tunes in the show, as well. I'm just a sucker for a big, twanging guitar sound like that, and Dick Dale, too. Although you'll never find me on a surfboard. I'm more of an inner tube guy." - The Californian