How dry was Wall of Voodoo? Mummify the Talking Heads, then grind them up. Put the powder in neon tubes, and let them bake in a desert sunset. Serve with spaghetti-western sauce on the side.
In 1982 WOV's second album, Call of the West, birthed its only hit, "Mexican Radio." Amid radio squawks and nervous dance beats, Stan Ridgway sardonically spoke-sang of eating barbecued iguana on a wavelength far from home.
Ridgway left the band in 1983, but continued to create arid and dark music full of pulp-fiction lyrics. Now 53, chatting beside a motel pool in "wonderfully, hellishly hot Phoenix," Ridgway sounds ready to look back, look to the future, and just stare off at the desert mirages, muttering gobbledygook.
Stan Ridgway and his solo band are touring in celebration of Call of the West's 25th anniversary. He'll be the Cookie of "a surreal chuck wagon. Everybody should jump on the surrealist chuck wagon. We'll head on over to the bunch of trees over there, where there's some shade. Then we'll light the bomb there, and then we'll jump in another bus and head towards the future."
Ridgway is chipper, eventually talking of the loss of everything in the material world. He's Walter Huston as the gold blows away at the end of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, his favorite movie. "First there's a frantic action to catch that gold dust in the air before it just flies away to God's hands. And then Huston just starts laughing hysterically: 'Well, where ya goin' now? What ya gonna do now?'"
Eventually, Ridgway addresses his current tour, minus Hollywood allusions. "Gosh, I just want to go out this summer and play -- maybe deconstruct the music a bit and construct it back in its essence of form, you know?"