It’s a big call, I know. But I’ve never come across a more innovative, crazy, darkly brilliant band than Wall of Voodoo. To me, this band IS the 80s – they represent that experimental, electronic feel that defined the decade. Many people have never heard of them, and this is such a crime! If you’re one of these people, get yourselves to iTunes and download a playlist of their songs. You won’t be disappointed!
What you need to know about Wall of Voodoo:
- The band was born out of the LA punk scene of the late 70s. All of the members were involved in various punk bands and their scene centred around the legendary Masque club in Hollywood.
- Wall of Voodoo’s original line up was Marc Moreland (guitarist for the Skulls), Stan Ridgway (singer in the Model Citizens), Bruce Moreland (bass player for the Weirdos and MC at the Masque), Chas T Gray (bass player for the Skulls) and Joe Nanini (drummer for the Bags and Metrosquad).
- Marc Moreland and Stan Ridgway originally got together to start a soundtrack company, but this soon morphed into a band and they began recording songs.
- They recorded an EP, which was released in 1980 and contained such classics as Can’t Make Love and the Passenger, as well as a eery cover of Ring of Fire using heavy synths and Marc’s signature feedback-laden guitar work.
- They then recorded their first full-length album, Dark Continent.
- Soon after they were signed by Miles Copeland at IRS Records. Miles reportedly locked them into an incredibly unfair contract, leaving them with little control over their music or careers.
- While Dark Continent got them some recoginition, there was no commercial hit from the album. Before they went in to record their next album, Bruce Moreland left the group.
- As a four-piece, Wall of Voodoo recorded Call of the West, produced by Richard Mazda.
- They released a single from this album – Mexican Radio. It became a mainstay on the newly-broadcast MTV and was a surprise hit for the group.
- In 1983 the group played the US Festival – and shortly after Stan Ridgway quit the group to embark on a solo career. Joe Nanini quit not longer after Stan.
- Marc Moreland and Chas T Gray, along with a returned Bruce Moreland then began looking for a new lead singer. They found Andy Prieboy, and began recording again with the addition of a new drummer, Ned Leukhardt.
- The first album with the new lineup was Seven Days in Sammystown. It contained what would be their last successful song – Far Side of Crazy, which was a hit in Australia.
- The band toured on this record and their next, Happy Planet, all around the world.
- Due to their lack of hit songs, they were dropped by IRS Records after the release of a live album, The Ugly Americans in Australia.
- The band split soon after and the members went their separate ways.
- Many of the members remained involved in music. Stan Ridgway continues his solo career to this day. Joe Nanini played in various groups before his death in 2000. Ned Leukhardt continued to play music in Europe. Bruce Moreland is currently the lead singer of his own group, Ravens Moreland. Andy Prieboy has a successful career as a solo artist and was the composer of the musical White Trash Wins Lotto. Marc Moreland went on to play in Pretty and Twisted with Johnette Napolitano, Department of Crooks, Ensenada Joyride and released his own solo album called Take it to the Spotlight. He died from liver failure in 2002.
Not Wall of Voodoo Educated? Download These Songs:
Ring of Fire
Back in Flesh
Call of the West
Far Side of Crazy
Room With a View
Do It Again
Elvis Bought Dora a Cadillac
Click here to download the best Wall of Voodoo songs on a special Pop 80s iMix on iTunes!