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Best known for their alternative radio classic "Mexican Radio," Wall of Voodoo formed in Los Angeles in 1977, originally as a soundtrack company. Led by singer/songwriter Stan Ridgway and rounded out by guitarist Marc Moreland, bassist/keyboardist Bruce Moreland, keyboardist Chas Gray, and drummer Joe Nanini, the group issued its self-titled debut EP in 1980. With the additions of bassist Bruce Moreland and his brother Marc on guitar (replacing Noland), the band's sound crystallized on 1981's full-length Dark Continent, which couched Ridgway's highly stylized and cinematic narratives — heavily influenced by Westerns and film noir, and sung in the vocalist's distinctively droll, narcoleptic manner — in atonal, electronically based settings.
In 1982, following the exit of Bruce Moreland, Wall of Voodoo released Call of the West, which featured "Mexican Radio," their biggest hit. After an appearance at the 1983 US Festival, Ridgway left the group for a solo career. The remaining members enlisted singer Andy Prieboy, and resurfaced in 1985 with the LP Seven Days in Sammystown. Happy Planet followed two years later, while 1988's live effort The Ugly Americans in Australia* (the asterisk denoting that a few tracks were recorded in Bullhead City, Arizona) effectively closed out the Wall of Voodoo story.