Thursday, November 1, 2012

Facebook Friends I Have Got: Stan Ridgway

This is the first in a continuing series that will showcase my Facebook friends who have made a go at the music thing, whether just at a bar gig level or at some level of fame and fortune. The rule is, in order for a friend to be featured I have to have had some direct contact with the performer in question, even if it was nothing more than a quick Facebook post or two. So it could be someone I have known in person for years, like the great Dave McKittrick, or it could be a singer I have just had some nifty conversations with online, like the great Stan Ridgway.

And speaking of whom...

If you're asking "Who's Stan Ridgway?", he's this guy:

After Wall of Voodoo more or less gave Stan the boot, he embarked on a remarkable solo career, beginning with the great The Big Heat in 1985 and continuing with works like Holiday in Dirt, which he made in conjunction with 14 different films by 14 different filmmakers, each one based on a song from the album. He also did worked in a band called Drywall, which featured his wife Pietra Wexstun.

Stan's recent solo albums are Neon Mirage and his latest, Mr. Trouble, for which he is currently on tour.  

I love Stan's work because it delves bravely into great, writerly sojourns that are more like harrowing novels than pop songs, and because he takes chances with massively different musical styles, from punk to country to Mexican folk. But above all, Stan's work is infused with great humor and great humanity, and I get the sense that he is someone who has a ton of great stories, a love for great music and musicians, and that he has not one mean bone in his body. Listen to a song like "Act of Faith", or "Across the Border", and you will hear behind the nasal twang a voice that expresses great volumes of humor and compassion.

Best personal encounter: on Facebook, of course. Stan posted a tribute to Record Store Day one afternoon, and he and I swapped some comments about what it was like to work in a store selling vinyl way back when.

Stan's official website is, where you can check out his entire catalogue and tour info, and here's a link to his Facebook page. He posts often, and is a lot of fun, often commenting or pontificating on everything from artists he loves to the current political landscape. Go sign up, and tell him hey!

Here is a fan-made video created for Stan's autobiographical story of Wall of Voodoo. It's a great cautionary story for anyone looking to enter the business.

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