Taken from Q Magazine, October 1996 edition - used without permission,
any factual errors (i.e. Drywall album name) are entirely theirs!

Where Was Stan In 1996?

STAN RIDGWAY, frontman of maverick art/roots-rockers Wall Of Voodoo, was featured in the defunct "experts on their pet subjects" slot - subject in his case being lyrics. The penman of notably eerie, hummable loser-noir classics as Mexican Radio, Camouflage and Drive She Said, he's kept his head down since the mid- '80s. So where is he now, asks David Bent of Feckenham.

After 1989's Mosquitos and 1991's Partyball albums with The Stan Ridgway Quintet, Ridgway (now 40) formed electro- experimental ensemble Drywall and released the Work Of The Dumb Oracle album, which caused IRS ("a badly run label, which sucked off the teat of the music business") to close his deal. Then formed his own label, Birdcage Records, in partnership with ex- Dread Zeppelin guitarist Joe Ramsey: "Our slogan is 'The Place Where Artists Come To Roost'." It's an artist co-op, there are no contracts, and the cage door is always open. Independence is crucial, plus I don't have to make friends with forty people in a building that I don't know. We're building our own empire of the ants here."

Birdcage have already released 12 albums, including Ridgway's fifth solo album Black Diamond: "It's a collection of dreams I had after an all-night bender. I woke up on a chaise longue in Hotel Carlisle with paint all over my clothes." Future Birdcage releases include albums from ex-Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton and Australian band In Vivo, and another from Stan by the end of '96, with two Drywall albums planned. 'The funding comes from robbing banks... and my royalties."

Ridgway claims his former Wall Of Voodoo bandmates hate his guts, but in other ways his world is looking up: "I just played with Brian Wilson, with Van Dyke Parks and Ry Cooder, at a benefit for a theatre that needed new seats. We played California Girls, and Brian looked at me and said, 'Stan, take it!' Wow!

"I'm the Oscar Levant of pop, I am. Maybe I'll come to England, and I can meet the Gallagher brothers and get into a fight: 'Ancient art geezer in bloody altercation with top Brtish stars..."'

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Original text and graphics © Adrian Oates : all else © Q Magazine

Last update: 23rd July 2001.