“We were not really part of that whole MTV, new wavey thing,” says Stan Ridgway, speaking about his old band, Wall of Voodoo. This comment may come as a surprise to the many poor souls who remember Wall of Voodoo only for their weird 1982 hit “Mexican Radio.” Ridgway intends to catch them up with a concert showcasing “Mexican Radio” and other songs from Wall of Voodoo’s Call of the West.
“I like to describe ‘Mexican Radio’ as an accidental MTV hit,” Ridgway says. “We were at that point where MTV needed things to play. And as MTV took off, so did the videos they were playing. I think a lot of people who purchased the record or came to see us, they got more than they bargained for. It wasn’t just happy-go-lucky stuff. Some of it was interestingly dark, as is my interest. My favorite films, all that stuff. The American promise is filled with stories like that. It’s almost inexhaustible.”
Ridgway talks like that. Like the characters he plays in his songs, both in Wall of Voodoo and his solo career, he’s full of wry humor and tweaked clichés. “Part of the charm of the old music was that it was sort of a juxtaposition of the electronic and the old earthy sounds of the electric guitar,” Ridgway says. “I don’t think that had really been done as much as we did it. There were mostly electronic bands like Kraftwerk or there were the rockabilly-type bands like the Stray Cats. They had the twang, and the other guys had the drone. And I think what we did was we put the drone with the twang. So we had…dwang? Something like that?”
STAN RIDGWAY, Belly Up Tavern, Tuesday, Febuary 19, 8 p.m. 858-481-9022. $18.