Stan Ridgway Biography
While enjoying a multifaceted and successful solo career, Stan Ridgway is best remembered by some as the maestro behind Wall Of Voodoo's classic early 80's hit, "Mexican Radio." And while "Mexican Radio" is undeniably a great tune, it only hints at the full range of Ridgway's palette as a songwriter, film composer and performer. Originally conceived as a soundtrack company for low budget sci-fi and horror films, Wall Of Voodoo formed in 1977 in Hollywood, with singer/songwriter Ridgway as the focal point. They released their self-titled debut EP in 1980, followed by their first full length LP Dark Continent. With 1982's Call of the West, featuring the ubiquitous "Mexican Radio," the band found major success, but Ridgway left for a solo career shortly after the band appeared at 1983's US Festival.
Ridgway's first solo album, The Big Heat, was released late in 1985, and included the underground hit, "Drive, She Said," as well as "Salesman," and the title track, a brooding piece of electronic rock/film-noir. Ridgway's solo material retained Wall of Voodoo's cinematic feel, and was critically acclaimed for his one-of-a-kind vocals and lyrics. The song "Camouflage," a ghost story of sorts that takes place in the jungles of Vietnam, was a surprise top 5 hit in Europe. His European success continued with 1989's Mosquitos, which featured another European top 5 hit in "Calling Out to Carol," and Partyball in 1992, featuring the songs "Roadblock" and "I Wanna Be A Boss." Ridgway's music is often called "cinematic," so it's only appropriate that he's been heavily involved in television and film scoring. While he's no stranger to scoring a film solo (as shown by work on such films as Race, Error in Judgment, and Spent), Ridgway has also done extensive song work for films like Pump Up the Volume and Slamdance. Additionally, he has often partnered with ex-Police percussionist Stewart Copeland, most notably for work on Rumblefish, Sympatico, and Pecker. A 1992 greatest hits package, Songs That Made this Country Great, includes the best of Ridgway's film and solo work, as well as Wall Of Voodoo material and a few rarities. Ridgway continues work as a solo artist, in addition to continued film and television scoring.