fun but irrelevant information about stan ridgway
"Stan Ridgway came to our rehearsal space, because we were thinking of working with him. He started talking to us and said, 'You know, this is your second record. You owe it to yourselves to go in there and scare the shit out of the record company. Nothing wrong with that. Don't be afraid to explore different areas.' We were all sitting around going, 'Wow, yeah!' And unconsciously, eight months later, that's what ended up happening."
—A quote from an interview with the band Possum Dixon:

Jump to
crack the bell: tom shane
call of the west: somebody
call of the west: unleaded
drive she said: anchorage
other fun with sound
the engineer talked
foggy river: original mix
uba's house of fashion: backwards
big and heat and the
why did stan leave geffen?
who's jack?
somewhere in america—found!
the rio greyhound mystery
mitchell froom
little known facts

Stan Ridgway likes to sneak in these little asides—little snippets of monologues, usually as a song fades out. Here are all the ones I've noticed, in chronological order, with .mp3 files so you can listen too:

crack the bell: tom shane (252k, 15 seconds, stereo, cd-quality mp3 encoded)
You just can't find good bells anymore!
Yah! Yah! Sure!
Tom Shane's a friend of mine!
I really like him—he's in the industry!

call of the west: somebody (285k, 17 seconds, stereo, cd-quality mp3 encoded)
I used to be somebody!
I used to be somebody, do you hear me?
Do you hear me? I've—I've been there!
I used to be somebody, god damn you!
I've been there before!
Don't walk away!

call of the west: unleaded (106k, 6 seconds, stereo, cd-quality mp3 encoded)
This one is at the very end of the song, when it has almost completely faded out. I had to strengthen the signal a couple of times as it fades, which is why the volume keeps jumping around.
What, y'—you wanted unleaded?
Unleaded—that's next pump over, so keep on movin', okay?
Naw, it's out of order.

drive she said: anchorage (625k, 39 seconds, mono, cd-quality mp3 encoded)
Here's the conversation from the end, when the cab driver talks to his fare. The album/CD mix cuts out a little early, but thanks to John Trivisonno (thanks, John!), you can now hear the whole thing. The part in italics was left off the CD.
Hey, hey, uh—
Hey, y'all, get outta my way!—all ya sunday drivers!
Hey, you want one of these, ah, Slim Jims? They're good!
What?—what? You don't—you don't want one?
Well they're 100% meat!

Haven't I seen you somewhere before?
I know, I know, Anchorage, that's where I seen ya, Anchorage.
Well, where you goin'?
I'm sorry, I don't go in that part of town anymore.
I don't need my windows washed.

other fun with sound
While I'm at it, here are two more fun bits of sound, both from Partyball:

the engineer talked (50k, 3 seconds, stereo, cd-quality mp3 encoded)
Just at the end of Jack Talked (Like A Man On Fire), you can hear somebody (the recording engineer? the producer?) talking on the left channel. Artists have been known to leave in this sort of thing on purpose; for instance, listen to the end of Silk Pyjamas by Thomas Dolby. But this is so faint that it was probably a mistake.
Here we go—same kind of arrangement, right?

uba's house of backwards (661k, 41 seconds, stereo, cd-quality mp3 encoded)
Right at the end of the song, right in the middle of a bit of solo guitar work, it artfully switches into reverse. The lyrics from the backwards section isn't exactly a revalation, but it's nice to hear it the right way round. For reference, here is the exact same section of the song, forwards (661k, 41 seconds, stereo, cd-quality mp3 encoded), so you can compare:
'Cause she's hangin' out there still! At—
Uba's, Uba's, Uba's, Uba's, Uba's

foggy river: original mix (639k, 39 seconds, mono, cd-quality mp3 encoded)
This was also sent in by John Trivisonno. Apparently, the original version of Foggy River (the B-side track on the The Big Heat single) had a very different sounding vocal mix. John feels it is more polished, and is convinced that the version on the reissue of The Big Heat was a mistake. Me, I think the original vocal mix was a bit plain, and I'm not surprised at all that Stan made it, ah, rather more complicated. That is, I don't think the reissue version is a mistake, just a bit of experimentation.

big and heat and the
Have you ever noticed that The Big Heat and Peg And Pete And Me are almost the same song? Well, I have, and now you can too, with this handy guide mapping the lyrics of one onto the other. Sing along with Stan—using the wrong lyrics! I've given this one its own page; click here to join the singalong.

Zima is a "distinctive malt liquor beverage" sold worldwide. In an effort to bolster their floundering cool image, they started an advertising campaign where they would mention cool things and themselves in the same breath. They ran an ad featuring a press-release photo of Drywall, labelled "Drywall: cool band." followed by a picture of some enticing Zima labeled "Zima: cool drink." However, they didn't ask permission before doing it. Stan got quite angry about it, and rightly so—they were using his band to advertise their beverage, without consent or recompense. Stan Ridgway/Drywall sued, and won, and killed the ad.

why did stan leave geffen?
Stan felt he was getting "no support from the label", as you'll hear if you watch The Drywall Incident film. Geffen sponsored a world tour to kick off Mosquitos, released a couple of singles, and paid for four videos; compare that with one single, one video, and a local tour to promote Partyball. I do remember seeing an ad for Partyball, I think in the Tower Records free magazine "Pulse!"; it had the overly excitable slogan "Play this at your next party!". (Not that I have a better idea of how to market Stan Ridgway—but hey, man, that's pretty lame.)

who's jack?
For some reason, about half the male names Stan uses in his music are Jack. This includes Can't Stop The Show, My Own Private Sex Club, and obviously Jack Talked.

But why? For an answer, here's a quotation from Professor Sam Umland's essay Stan Ridgway: A Man Made Of Words :

[...] in the British magazine The Face, an article on Ridgway mentions "a homebuilt dummy named Jack" that Ridgway had as a kid: "I was a good ventriloquist," he says. "Trouble is I had no jokes". (You can see a picture of Jack, held by the young Stan Ridgway, on the 1992 "best of" CD Songs That Made This Country Great.

Now I just need to know who Pete is (A Mission In Life, Walking Home Alone, Peg And Pete And Me).

somewhere in america—found!
On the Stan Ridgway video collection Show Business Is My Life, the next-to-last cut is simply titled Somewhere In America With W.O.V. Well, and this is the nadir of trivia, I can tell you exactly where in America that was.

Right at the beginning of the clip, Stan says to the audience "It's great to be back here in Santa Cruz"—and I instantly recognized the club as The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, California. I lived in Santa Cruz for seven years, and saw many a band on that unnaturally high, nasty little black stage. Besides, only a Santa Cruz crowd could be that rude.

the rio greyhound mystery
Okay, if that last one wasn't trivial enough for you, surely this one will be. The liner notes for the original release of The Big Heat in 1986 claimed that Rio Greyhound, the instrumental track that ends the album, was 3:12. But actually, on that release it is 1:59.

Why? Where are the missing seventy-three seconds, Agent Muldur? Actually, you can find them on the 1993 rerelease of The Big Heat. That version of Rio Greyhound is 3:12, as advertised.

So what happened? Who knows. Maybe there was a mixup in the studio. Maybe they ran out of room on the vinyl, but they'd already printed the record jackets and CD booklets. At least they corrected the problem for the 1993 rerelease—and now we have two versions of Rio to enjoy.

As for the shorter mix, it's really just shorter. It's missing the third time through the bridge at the end (starting at 1:40 and ending at 2:56). I got used to the original mix, so when I listen to the 1993 rerelease it's still a little jarring.

mitchell froom
Even more meaningless trivia for you. I just went and saw the Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, and I noticed the name Mitchell Froom in the credits. It stuck out like a sore thumb—Mitchell Froom isn't the sort of name you easily forget. Way back when, Mr. Froom worked on a couple of songs with Stan: Salesman (producer), Pick It Up (And Put It In Your Pocket) (producer and keyboards), Stormy Side Of Town (keyboards), and I suspect he had a hand in Bing Can't Walk ('Cause Bob Broke Both His Legs). Anyway, he co-wrote with Sheryl Crow and produced the title song for the movie. I did a quick web search tonight, and turned up a smattering of work that Mr. Froom has done over the years, and one web page announcing that Mitchell Froom married Suzanne Vega in March of 1995. The guy gets around—that, or, it's a small world after all.

little known facts

Beyond Tomorrow Trivia / Larry Hastings /