Mexican Radio



Mexican Radio is a song written and performed by the band Wall of Voodoo, and produced by Richard Mazda. The track was initially made commercially available on their 1982 album Call of the West.

The song gained notoriety (and is best remembered) for its line, "I wish I was in Tijuana / eating barbecued iguana."

Wall of Voodoo guitarist Marc Moreland traced the inspiration for the song to listening to high-wattage unregulated AM border-blaster Mexican radio stations (among them XERF, XEG, and XERB) which, starting circa the 1930's, were received practically around the globe ("I turn the switch and check the number / I leave it on when in bed I slumber"). Some of the stations boasted a million watts, which was considerably higher than allowed in the US.

Sitting just south of the Rio Grande ("I feel a hot wind on my shoulder / I dial it in from south of the border"), these stations avoided American broadcast and trade regulations, and became the medium of favor for countless quacks spouting political rants ("I dial it in and tune the station / They talk about the U.S. inflation"), selling homemade pharmaceuticals pre-FDA ("... I buy the product and never use it"), self-published manifestos, and may have even been the starting point for the televangelist as we know it ("I understand just a little / no comprende - it's a riddle"). Oh, and the dee-jays played some mean tunes, too ("I hear the rhythms of the music,..."). Wolfman Jack cut his canines in that market ("I hear the talking of the dj / Can't understand, just what does he say?"), spinning a schizophrenic mix of genres.

Wall of Voodoo vocalist Stan Ridgway helped Moreland finish the song, and added some of the more distinctive and bizarre lyrical touches. The band initially recorded "Mexican Radio" as a demo as early as 1979, and issued that version on a promotional cassette along with other demos in 1979. The "hit single" recording was made as part of the Call of the West sessions in 1982.

The 7" single version differs slightly from the album cut, most notably in the way Ridgway's vocals are mixed, and in the addition of a louder bass drum part in the song's chorus. The single mix is sometimes called the oleo mix, because Ridgway chants "radio, radio, oleo, radio" at the song's end, rather than "radio, radio, radio, radio" as he does on the album version.

Other artists have paid homage to the border-blaster - ZZ Top wrote "I Heard It On the X" in 1975, and Los Super Seven (with numerous guests) stretched their tribute out to album length with, "Heard It on the X" in 2005.

* Wall Of Voodoo - Mexican Radio excerpt (file info) — play in browser (beta)
o An excerpt from Mexican Radio
o Problems listening to the file? See media help.

Arizona-based punk rock band Authority Zero featured a cover version on their 2004 album Andiamó with slightly modified lyrics; for instance, "They talk about the U.S. inflation" was replaced with "They talk about the Iraq invasion".

Bruce Lash gave the song the bossa nova treatment on his 2004 album, "Prozak for Lovers II" which also includes easy-listening versions of Nirvana's "Lithium" and Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" among others.

Mike Keneally, a Frank Zappa alumnus, has played the song in live concerts with his band, Beer for Dolphins.

European metal band Celtic Frost have also covered the song.

Additionally, there is a rapper named South Park Mexican who has performed a somewhat different version of the song, keeping the chorus more or less intact, but writing a completely new set of verses.

The math rock band Polvo contributed a cover of the song to Tannis Root Presents: Freedom of Choice, a 1992 sampler to benefit Planned Parenthood.

A first-person rendition ("I'm a Mexican / On the radio") appears on the album Graciasland by El Vez, the "Mexican Elvis".

* Sung by Kramer (Michael Richards) in the Seinfeld episode "The Reverse Peephole" as he installed a peephole in his door. A brief snippet of the Wall of Voodoo recording was later played over the Castle Rock Entertainment logo at the end of the same episode.
* Played in the 1990 movie The Natural History of Parking Lots.
* Played in the 1996 movie Box Of Moon Light.
* Played in the 2000 movie Duets.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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