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Eating barbecued iguana with Stan Ridgway



Stan Twenty-five years ago, Stan Ridgway startled MTV viewers when his head emerged from a steaming pot of baked beans during Wall of Voodoo's "Mexican Radio" video. (See it here)

(Little known fact: The original idea was for Stan to appear as a giant meatloaf inside a oven, but they didn't have the budget for it.)

Now, a quarter century later, Ridgway is back in front of audiences, touring the United States on the 25th anniversary of the band's milestone "Call of West" album, which featured "Mexican Radio." Ridgway plays the Tamiami Bar at Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg on Sunday,  July 29.

Stuck in the 80s has talked to Stan before -- he was one of the first musicians we interviewed on our podcast. (Click here to listen.) But he was in high spirits for our latest conversation this week -- telling concert-goers to "put socks on their car antennae" so we'd recognize each other, asking me to "wrap a red towel" around my head for the show, and claiming he gave a hitchhiking manatee a ride during his 1992 tour through Florida.

Here are some more interview highlights:

80s: Why the sudden call back to the road?

Stan: "I figured it was the 25th anniversary of the 'Call of the West' album. We lit off a firework and the van took off, and here we are: traveling, seeing the country, dodging rednecks -- it's great. ... It's a good excuse to go out and celebrate the record and play a lot of music and gather the troops. Anybody w'eve lost along the way. They can all come here and we'll mark to the top of the mountain and plant a flag and march on into the future."

80s: Are you playing the full album on the tour?

Stan: "We do about 7 or 8 songs. We spread them around. We have a good time playing them."

80s: Any original members of the band still touring with you?

Stan: "Oh no. I don't think there could ever be another Wall of Voodoo like there was because two members are no longer with us. This is more about honoring the music. It's not a reunion."

80s: What's the fan reaction been like?

Stan: "There's been a lot of people showing up who -- I don't know -- they haven't been out of the houses in 25 years. It's like a high school reunion. They're all shoulder to shoulder and everyone's having a good time."

80s: I imagine lots of them only know you by "Mexican Radio." Do you think you'll get sick of playing that tune?

Stan: "It's just kind of a fun song -- it works as that. I guess the song has some kind of ridiculous durability. File it next to 'Wooly Bully.' I really don't grow tired of singing the songs. It's fresh this year. We'll probably put it back in the closet next year or we'll run it through a wood chipper and just destroy it."

80s: It's more important than Wooly Bully! At least to 80s fans!

Stan: "I'm glad you say so. The whole idea of this tour is that we're kind of deconstructing the Wall of Voodoo material. And we're doing it in our own way. It's turning out to be a real fun thing to do. We do a lot of the solo stuff too, we do some covers, we throw confetti in the air. And we celebrate."

-- Stan Ridgway, Jannus Landing's Tamiami Bar, Sunday, 9 p.m., $18 in advance or $22 at the door.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:24pm]


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