By Michael Aushenker
So what was it about the 1983 US Festival that broke famous bands up?
Seminal English punk group The Clash dissolved onstage during the three-day Steve Wozniak-sponsored San Bernardino show, and so did L.A. New Wave band Wall of Voodoo. But in the case of the latter, perhaps it was for the best, as Voodoo front man Stan Ridgway has since forged an eclectic career as a solo artist.
He will perform at McCabe’s Guitar Shop, 3101 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 27.
Best known for their jangly Southwest-flavored 1983 hit ditty “Mexican Radio” (which ruled MTV in its early days), Wall of Voodoo formed almost by accident in 1977 after Ridgway, who ran a film scoring business in Hollywood, caught the band-making bug after catching live punk acts in the area.
Shortly after Wall of Voodoo’s US Festival debacle, Ridgway embarked on his solo career, collaborating with The Police drummer Stewart Copeland on the track “Don’t Box Me In” for the soundtrack of director Francis Ford Coppola’s movie “Rumble Fish.” Ridgway eventually came full circle scoring cinema, and also devised orchestral pieces for prominent lowbrow painter Mark Ryden.
On July 18, 2006, Ridgway returned to his old group – kind of. Billed as Wall of Voodoo, Ridgway and a line-up that included none of the other original performers opened for Cyndi Lauper at Orange County’s Pacific Ampitheatre. Oddly, Ridgway was compelled to recount the history of his former band in the song “Talkin’ Wall Of Voodoo Blues Part 1,” which appeared on his album, “Snakebite: Blacktop Ballads and Fugitive Songs” (2005).
His most recent solo albums include “Neon Mirage” (2010) and “Mr. Trouble” (2012), but attendees can likely expect a few Voodoo songs at the July 27 show.
Tickets are $20. Information, McCabes.com.
Michael@ArgonautNews.com

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