Stan Ridgway had the good fortune to arrive on the music scene in 1982, just as MTV blew up. As front man for Wall of Voodoo, Ridgway's "Mexican Radio" became one of the channel's early heavy-rotation staples, and he's been associated with the song ever since.
Chatter: You will forever be associated with "Mexican Radio," which came early in your career. How do you deal with that?
Stan Ridgway: I can't complain about it. People think in shorthand, so it's a great calling card. It's like a flag on my fort, and it's a strange fort. People come to the gate looking for "Mexican Radio." I let them in, then lock the gate behind them and show them all the other gadgets in my fort. I wrote it to be rather ambiguous, so I've been able to rearrange it and reconstruct it over the years. At this gig, I'll probably pull it completely inside out.
C: You're known as the consummate
studio guy. How much of what you do
in the studio works out?
SR: To me, 50 percent of what you try just doesn't work out, and the other 50 percent is about equal things that work and things that are good but lack something. I try to just say "yes" to everything in the beginning and see how it goes.
C: Do genre considerations enter in?
SR: Fortunately, I've got the freedom to just go for something I hear instead of coming up with something comparable to something that's already popular or commercial. I have to start my own party, not join someone else's.
C: If you had to pick a genre for Wall of Voodoo, what would it be?
SR: It's weird, but I always look at us as very early alternative country. We always had a country element we were determined to twist.
C: You've done film work, had several bands, done solo work, and you continue to record and tour. After 35 years, how do you view it?
SR: I think the main thing is to have gratitude. I truly enjoy this job, and I constantly try to appreciate that I'm able to do this. I still love touring and live playing.
John Rockford "Rocky" Hill, older brother of ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, passed away April 10 at his Houston-area home; the Houston Chronicle reported Hill died of "undisclosed complications of a medical condition." Hill, who was 62, played clubs in his native Dallas as a teenager in the Starliners, which morphed into American Blues when Dusty and future ZZ drummer Frank Beard came aboard. Once ZZ Top formed, Rocky Hill played bass for Lightnin' Hopkins for a spell and later released the solo albums Texas Shuffle (1982), Rocky Hill (1988) and Midnight Creeper (1994).
Also passing away Good Friday was another former Hopkins sideman, Ozell "Zee" Roberts. Roberts, who played guitar and bass, appeared on Hopkins's 1974 album The Sonet Blues Story, and also recorded and toured with Stevie Wonder, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Jackie Wilson and Sam & Dave. Roberts's "Sockin' 1-2-3-4" was a Top 20 R&B hit in 1967, and in later years he performed solo and with the band Traffic Jam. He was 71.
1846 Richmond, 713-666-5555
1. Strange Boys, And Girls Club (LP/CD)
2. Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Beware (LP/CD)
3. Zero Boys, Vicious Circle (LP/CD)
4. Michael Hurley, Armchair Boogie (LP)
5. Waco Jesus, Sex Drugs & Deathmetal (CD)
6. Absu, Absu (LP/CD)
7. Oren Ambarchi, Persona (CD)
8. Tim Hecker, An Imaginary Country (LP/CD)
9. D. Shaw & the Sawblades, "You Don't Know About Venom" (7")
10. Serge Gainsbourg, Histoire de Melody Nelson (CD)
KRBE (104.1 FM)
Top Songs, April 17
Data from yes.com
1. All-American Rejects, "Gives You Hell"
2. Kelly Clarkson, "My Life Would Suck Without You"
3. The Fray, "You Found Me"
4. Lady GaGa, "Poker Face"
5. Britney Spears, "Circus"
6. Taylor Swift, "Love Story"
7. Pink, "Sober"
8. Akon feat. Colby O'Donis and Kardinal
9. Ciara feat. Justin Timberlake, "Love Sex Magic"
10. Ne-Yo, "Mad"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)