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  • Writer's pictureMatt Levin

RIP Maestro Ennio Morricone/Stan Ridgeway, Wall of Voodoo

I wanted to share Stan Ridgway's Instagram post about the passing of Maestro Ennio Morricone. I feel bad for Stan who clearly loved and was greatly influenced by Morricone. Growing up in LA, Stan's band Wall of Voodoo was a big influence on me. I used to see them play in living room size spaces, and it was truly mind altering for an 11 year old kid. Out of all of the bands I listened to growing up, Wall of Voodoo were the strangest, most innovative, yet also the most relatable band I cherished.

Stan himself had a film score business, Acme Soundtracks in Hollywood right across the street from the famous LA punk rock club, The Masque. Wall of Voodoo's sound was very cinematic and soundtracky. Utilizing strange(non)instruments, early drum machine beats, Marc Moreland's twangy, western guitar, and Stan's "Ethel Merman" styled vocals created one of the most unique sounding bands you'll ever hear. It makes sense that they did an amazing cover of Morricone's brilliant theme for "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" If you're not familiar with WoV and Stan's brilliant solo back catalogue, check them out.

From Stan: 🎼RIP Ennio Morricone 1928-2020. Our great Maestro has left us. 91. What a legacy! Over 500 film scores. And other music as well. He brought film music to a level of invention and craft like no other composer. A Giant and a Genius. His innovative music and hybrid western cinematic style for the films of director Sergio Leone was an important influence and inspiration for me when creating, writing and arranging songs and music in Wall Of Voodoo and still is today. And of course, his music and style has influenced everyone.

His orchestrations, arrangements, and innovative choices of exotic or folk instruments, wailing harmonicas and crude percussion, animal sounds, and up close recording techniques changed how film music was perceived and appreciated. Choirs sang like delicate angels and sometimes like wild coyotes. He had a great and talented network of musicians he worked with as well like the great guitarist and whistler Alessandro Alessandroni who played multiple instruments, including the guitar, mandolin, mandolincello, sitar, accordion and piano and was a very important part of the early film scores. Guitars fuzzed and screamed amidst the strings and brass and tympani. Shouts and floor stomps in deep echo while a jaunty chromatic theme whistled over woodwinds and a strummed nylon stringed guitar.

And such incredibly memorable Morricone themes. Atmospheres, melodies and harmonies of heart and soul. Love and romance. Violence and conflict. At times the music had a playful robust humor unbound and out front. Other times just barely hidden underneath. But always music with a deeply spiritual humanity at its core. Exciting and soaring, swelling and wonderfully gigantic and emotional with a capitol E! Ciao and Gracie and Thank You great Maestro. You’ve brought the world so much. And when all words fall short, let the music play on forever. ~Stan Ridgeway 7-6-2020 🙏❤️🎼❤️#EnnioMorricone #composer #film #filmcomposer #musicforfilm #Italy #AlessandroAlessandroni #rome #sergioleone #italianfilm #spagettiwestern #stanridgway #wallofvoodoo #manwiththeharmonica #onceuponatimeinthewest #thegoodthebadandtheugly #fistfulofdollars #forafewdollarsmore #onceuponatimeinamerica

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