Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wall Of Voodoo (revised repost from 01/17/07)


Some crazy, wacky facts about Wall of Voodoo:

- Early '80's band based in Los Angeles.

- Signed to IRS Records and released "Dark Continent" and "Call of the West." Both stellar, but "Call of the West" is a masterpiece. You may remember the "Mexican Radio" video from the early MTV days or "Beavis and Butthead." One of the best ever made. Seriously.

- Lead singer/lyricist Stanard Ridgway left the band after "Call of the West" and they continued to record with a new lead singer under the same name. Disregard this creative output.

- Porn film director (which is not entirely fair) Stephen Sayadian "styled" the cover of "Call of the West" and produced and production designed the video for "Mexican Radio." Stephen is one of my major "visual" influences - as "Rinse Dream" - see "Cafe Flesh" and "Dr. Caligari." Does anyone know where he is or if he is still alive??? WOV did soundtracks to his early '80's porn films, like maybe, "Cafe Flesh." There is an instrumental version of "Ring of Fire" (one of their staples and an AMAZING cover) in one of his films.

- Toby, Chris, David(?) and I saw them in a tiny little underground club on April 30th, 1983 in Raleigh, NC. We could not afford tickets ($6.00 or something) since we were freshmen in college and had already spent our textbook money on the album. Toby won tickets to see them on WKNC, the campus radio station. Divine Providence. We immediately went to K-Mart and shoplifted plastic dinosaurs because we had read in Trouser Press that Marc Moreland, the guitarist, collected them. We hung out with the band for an hour while they packed up and drank Heineken’s. Marc loved the dinosaurs and told the keyboardist, Chas T. Grey to not "rip them off" of him. Marc went on to play with Concrete Blonde.

- There's a reason they didn't make my "Reunion" list: Marc Morleand is dead. He "passed away March 13, 2002 from complications following a liver transplant." He was 44. Joe Nanini, the drummer, is dead. He "died on December 4, 2000 because of a brain hemorrhage." He was 45. I am currently older than both of them.

- Toby and I saw Stan together at The Cat's Cradle since I first wrote this a couple of years ago. He performed most of "Call of the West" beautifully with his band, which included his wife - no other WOV members. We chatted with him about the show in '83 and he said he remembered the dinosaur incident. Whether he did or not, it was boss.

- They were the 'coolest' people I've ever met, even before 'cool' really had a skewed definition. They are the measure. Fuck you, Williamsburg. Fuck you, Austin. Fuck you, Chapel Hill. Los Angeles? Who would have thunk it? They WERE "Repo Man." They REALLY were.

It's crazy when one of your formative records comes back to haunt you and actually turns out to be good. And it's doing it again, four years after I initially posted this.

Wall of Voodoo mean something to me. It's a time and place and an experience and a body of work that absolutely holds up. The photo is the back of "Call of the West." Mine. Autographed by Stan, Chas, and two dead guys...

I wish I had taken that photo. I wish I could call Bunnyhutch Headquarters right now...

If you are a band, and you are as good as Wall of Voodoo, and you want me to take your photo, contact me.

If you do not know "Call of the West" you should really, really buy it and check it out. I don't throw "masterpiece" around carelessly either. No wonder Stan quit...

I understand just a little. No comprende, it's a riddle...

"Ring of Fire" live. Revel.

Cover Star: WOV
Headlining Band: WOV, R.I.P.

James M. Graham, Website
James M. Graham, Tumblr
James M. Graham, Monograph

4 comments:

NCStateFan said...

I keep thinking I'll get COTW and DC on compact disc, but fuck it, I'll just keep listening to my 25 year old cassette tape. Still sounds great.

fiftieswesterns said...

You're right. Masterpiece is not a word to be just tossed around.

You're also right that Call Of The West qualifies as one.

"Hello, hello... This is Monkey Wrench, calling Bunny Hutch Headquarters."

Gwalch said...

They went with us to Battle Stations for a while and played video games with us...i played tempest w/stan....

Gwalch said...

They went with us over to Battle Stations for a while and we played video games with them...i played tempest with stan...