Twenty-five years ago, Stan Ridgway startled MTV viewers with a pot of baked beans and a quirky tune called Mexican Radio.
The infamous music video by his band, Wall of Voodoo, featured frantic keyboard effects, far-out lyrics ("I wish I was in Tijuana, eating barbecued iguana") and as a finale, Ridgway's face emerging from a giant pot of beans.
Wall of Voodoo disbanded after its short stay in the spotlight, but Ridgway continued with a solo career distinguished by his troubadour prowess and south-of-the-border influences.
A quarter century later, Ridgway is back in front of audiences, touring the United States on the 25th anniversary of Wall of Voodoo's milestone Call of the West album, which featured Mexican Radio. Ridgway plays the Tamiami Bar at Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg today.
Ridgway discussed his return to the stage and the allure of his signature hit.
Why the sudden call back to the road?
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.
How have the crowds been?
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.
I imagine lots of them only know you by Mexican Radio. Do you think you'll get sick of playing that tune?
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.
For more of the interview with Stan Ridgway, read Steve Spears' Stuck in the 80s blog at blogs.tampabay.com/80s.
If you go
He plays at 9 p.m. today at Jannus Landing's Tamiami Bar, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $18 in advance, $22 at the door. (727) 896-1244.