A Tribute To The Life and Music of
On March 13th, 2002, we lost one of our truly great Guitarists.
By all accounts of those who knew him well, we also lost a very special person.
Marc Moreland is best known for his work as the guitarist of the 80's band Wall of Voodoo.
My website has always included a feature on this band, as they are one of my all-time favorites.
They transcended typical musical genres, and created a world and a sound all their own.
Likewise, Mr. Moreland defied all the trappings of the 'Rock Guitarist' and forged a completely new style of playing.
He drew strongly from the raw, gritty feel of the Leone spaghetti westerns (The Morricone Factor)
and the outlaw western flair of Johnny Cash and especially his sidekick, Luther Perkins.
Marc then added so much of his own brash ellegance into the mix; as a result, his overall sound & technique are unmistakable.
Marc's sound was a conglomeration of styles;
an odd combination of Twangy Western Picking, Spy/ Surf Surrealism,
Scrappy, Swaggering Swaths of Syncopated Staccato Strumming,
Fearless Grinding Metallic Dissonance and Strategically-Placed Feedback Trauma.
Marc had great taste in guitars as well,
intensely flexing his jaw while relentlessly torturing that '76 Gibson Flying V.
I plan to make this page an ongoing project.
For now, I will share some of the entries that were posted on the W.O.V. message board,
where there has been an outpouring of stories, remembrances, tributes and such
from many of his family members, former bandmates, and adoring fans like myself.
I will post a link to that as well, at the end of the tribute.
First, here is Marc's obituary:
Friday, March 15, 2002 - 2:13:40 AM MST
"Musician Marc Moreland, 44, dies...
West Covina native was Wall of Voodoo lead guitarist
By Mike Del Muro, Correspondent
WEST COVINA -- Marc Moreland, lead guitarist and song writer from the 1980s band Wall of Voodoo, died Wednesday from complications due to a liver transplant.
The 44-year-old Moreland grew up in West Covina and went to West Covina High School before he graduated from Coronado High School.
Bruce Moreland, Marc's brother, said Marc's love of music began when they were young. He went to a Jimi Hendrix concert for his 12th birthday. He and his brother copied Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop and wore spiked hair and clothes that looked like dresses.
"We did anything that would shock people," Bruce said.
Moreland never stopped going back home to West Covina.
His mother, Bonnie Hart, now lives in El Monte and works at Santa Anita Park racetrack.
"People would come up to me all the time at Santa Anita and ask me about Marc," Hart said. "Everyone around here loved him."
When in high school, Moreland formed punk bands The Sky People and The Skulls. In 1978, he and Bruce formed Wall of Voodoo.
Bruce said it was wonderful to be in a band with Marc, although their relationship bordered on codependence.
"Marc was really shy," Bruce said. "So whenever something came up, I'd have to talk to the other band members about it."
Bruce left the band in 1983, one year before Wall of Voodoo released their huge hit "Mexican Radio," which was a big shock to Hart.
"I remember him writing it here at home," Hart said. "I told him it was terrible.
"All it did was repeat itself. Radio. Radio."
Fortunately for Moreland, his mother was wrong. The song was hugely successful worldwide, and Wall of Voodoo played shows in the Soviet Union, Australia and Puerto Rico.
Wall of Voodoo disbanded in 1989, and Moreland started concentrating on other projects.
His most recent release, under the band name Marc Moreland Mess, came out March 5.
Hart said her son never heard the completed version of the CD.
Moreland went to France to visit his wife, Frederique. He got sick there and was taken to the hospital. Hart said Moreland stayed in the hospital for four months, then he flew back to Los Angeles. He did not have health insurance, so he flew back to France with the hope of getting treated there.
"He was so weak," Hart said. "I didn't think he'd make it back."
Moreland received a liver transplant. Five weeks later, his body rejected the liver and he died.
Bruce said his brother died from living the rock 'n' roll life too long.
"Everyone used to think I was the one who was going to die, but I came through and Marc continued to drink a lot," he said.
Moreland's body is still in France, where it will be cremated and flown back to the United States.
Bruce said Marc wanted to have his ashes spread in the water of Ensenada, Mexico."
-- Mike Del Muro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a post from King Richard, owner of the
"King of 80'S Music Website"
Date: 03/13/02 16:56:18 PST
"KING RICHARD HERE.
To pay tribute to MARC the only way I know how. A write up on him. For those of you who know me or read my site, you know how much I enjoy writing them. Not much enjoyment right now. This is how I wish to pay my respects...
MARC MORELAND- One of the most original guitarist on this planet. His sound was a mixure of sonic punk & old western movies. While other guitarists were naming PAGE,CLAPTON or DYLAN as influences on their music, MARC seemed to have CLINT EASTWOOD flicks & JONNY CASH as his driving force.
No matter what the project, his style of playing could always be spotted.
The thing about MARC was that he never thought he was that special.
SHELDON (of DEPT. OF CROOKS) once told me that he asked MARC if he would maybe reform with WALL OF VOODOO for maybe one show at a club or something. MARC's answer was "would anybody show up?"
In a music sense with bigger than life musicians like PRINCE & MADONNA, MARC was just this guy that liked to play guitar. In an interview a couple years ago, MARC admitted he wrote most of the song MEXICAN RADIO. Took him 15 years to tell it. Like it wasn't a big deal.
Back in 1978, (Marc) met up with STAN RIDGWAY at a club called THE MASQUE. They formed a band together called WALL OF VOODOO. The sound was DRACULA VS. A FIST FULL OF DOLLARS. The claim was made that they one day hoped to be able to make music for pornos or bad b-movies.
With BRUCE MORELAND on bass, CHAS GREY on keyboards & JOE NANINI on pots & pans (among other things)they released only a handful of music together:
WALL OF VOODOO EP
CALL OF THE WEST.
When (Stan, Joe) & WOV parted ways, ANDY PRIEBOY joined also releasing a handful of albums:
SEVEN DAYS IN SAMMYSTOWN
UGLY AMERICANS IN AUSTRALIA
After that, he played guitar on ANDY's first solo album UPON MY WICKED SON. In the 90's he formed PRETTY & TWISTED releasing just one cd. A few years later formed DEPT. OF CROOKS. This proved to be the closest sound to WALL OF VOODOO than any former bandmates had done.
In the late 90's he started working on a solo cd. Finally.
Then he went into the hopital...
The liver transplant was what all the fans were waiting for. Hoping that would give up back our favorite guitarist, but it was not to be.
MARC MORLAND died this day, 2:30 in FRANCE.
Put your earphones on & put RING OF FIRE on & turn it up. If your ears are not bleeding by the end of MARC's solo at the end, play it again & turn it up louder.
I don't know about the rest of you, but you can keep your CLAPTON, PAGE & all the other guitar gods. I prefer the guy that just liked to play guitar.
Rest in Peace MARC MORLAND. May you make GOD's ears bleed...
Marc and Chas
Now here is a very moving tribute from
Stan Ridgway (former W.O.V. vocalist) and Pietra Wexstun:
Date: 03/14/02 03:18:51 PST
"To the Moreland Family and Friends -
It's hard to know how to say how much someone has influenced your life. One thread is like a deep sewn seam... and the other is frayed and needing repair. This was Marc and me.
I'm deeply sorry and saddened. I am flooded with memories. Its a shock. We were hoping and praying for the best. I always thought Marc and I would play together again sometime. We talked a few years ago about doing just that. But I guess life and its complications got in the way for both of us. Cryptic, I know, but it never happened. But all the music Marc made will still be heard by all who listen. Young and old.
Marc and his music will always be here for the familiar and the new.
Marc Moreland was very important in my life and he changed it and my perceptions of music. We met in a time when music itself was changing. And I'll always know I ran into the most original guitar player I ever met.
Being a bit of a guitar player myself, I to this day, do not know HOW he played certain things, feedback, fingerings and chords. Genius and mysterious, - style and substance, truly original!
And everyone respected him. Especially musicians and artists.
Marc worked very hard at his music, although he made it look so easy.
He always hid the strain and practice somehow. Marc in full performance was simply a person you could not take your eyes off of! Marc had it all.
And was always a sweet, loveable, and charismatic person, that was very shy at times, extremely talented and intelligent and always had a wonderful sense of humor,... even though he could be a very passive-minipulative creature at the same time. Hey! who isn't?
You wanted to take care of him. And champion him. He needed encouragement as we all do, and I hope I gave him some in the time we had.
I loved him really..but then... everyone did it seems.
To all who knew him and loved him, Bonnie and Bruce and Freddie and Family especially, I send our sympathies, and we are sad too.
with deepest regards -
Stan Ridgway and Pietra Wexstun"
This next entry is a poem composed for Marc by a fan, followed by a cool-as-hell pic of Marc which was also posted on the board:
Date: 03/22/02 07:34:08 PST
TOUCH THE WIND...for: Marc
you will have it all
touch the wind,
then you will understand
that life is not a tangible thing
now the essence of meaning
will not come from things material,
touch the wind
then do it again
reality really is ethereal
touch the wind
what time is,
from birth to death
life goes by
blowing away like the wind...
R.I.P. Marc, You were the very definition of an American Original.
Now, I would like to add my own post. I met the band briefly backstage once, and they were so damn cool and personable.
This post is based on that meeting.
Date: 03/15/02 20:26:30 PST
I remember Marc Moreland.
I remember meeting him backstage in L.A. after one of their killer Post-Ridgway shows in support of "Sammystown". I was with my best bro, Frank, who is the greatest musician I know. Frank is a big, overgrown kid, kinda like a burlier Chris Farley. He and I BOTH had our musical worlds turned completely upside-down upon being introduced to the music of Wall of Voodoo.
I, the stubborn Metalhead who would scoff at such things, always favoring the latest offering of Judas Priest or B.O.C.
And Franky, the progressive music maniac tapping out Rush's "YYZ" on his desk in math class.
Then came Wall Of Voodoo.
Frank & I got jobs working in a big ol' cement factory in the CA desert with his old man doing electrical. OH GOD how WOV would stream through our ears and veins and imaginations while we looked off into the distance from the top of the 480 ft. Pre-Heater Tower... Off in the distance where the highway disappeared over the horizon... That was everything to us:
Wall of Voodoo and spontaneous road trips to Vegas, or Arizona or anywhere else we could find us an OLD FUCKED UP ABANDONED HIGHWAY where we could listen to "Me and My Dad" and just OVERLOAD on Weirdness. To this day, we have yearned for a reunion.
Because the moment that stands out as I sit here missing Marc, and Frank's old man and the freedom of those days... is the moment backstage when Marc looked at Franky (who all was hypin' out & excited about meeting the guys) ...he looked at him and in that low and low-key voice said
"Dude, you're a TRIP!"
I will ALWAYS remember Marc.
W.O.V. Mach II
I am back, several months down the road. The pain has subsided; only a little; Marc's memory is a strong one.
I have been scrolling through the posts over at the Voodoo Board, and thought I would add a couple more entries.
This one is from W.O.V. Mach II drummer, Ned Leukhardt:
Date: 03/14/02 01:28:40 PST
One of the best things that ever happened in my life was joining Wall of Voodoo and traveling the world
playing the music that only Marc, Bruce, Andy, and Chas could have brought to life.
Thank you for that Marc and for being a good friend.
There is no one like you. I wish you were still here, I'm so very sad you are gone.
Love to you all,
This next one is from Marc's Brother, Bruce:
Date: 03/15/02 17:27:32 PST
I am so overwhelmed at the outpouring of sympathy, compassion,encouragement, dedication,love and strength exhibited on this web site
since that fateful morning of March 13 when I first posted the passing of my brother,
yes elizabeth technology is an amazing thing and so are you,
your dedication has allowed my family and myself to heal so much sooner and more completely
this web site is an amazing tool for healing I would like to thank all who have written and all who are going to write after this, everybody that marc played with in L.A. has checked in
Skulls, Johnette, Nervous Gender, Wall of Voodoo and all HE Played with in France
are with his wife in Paris helping and assisting in a most difficult time,
there are people Marc went to school with that are touched by his life and in all place's like
Norway, Canada, England, France, Usa and I'm sure many other country's will check in soon after,
every one of you who have writen have contributed to the process of healing,
We thank you all. Gayle I hope you too have Found healing in this web site and Iam deeply sorry for your loss as well,
lets hope Marc and Joe are together now.
Marc, Andy, and Bruce
Now, on to some important business.
I have recieved an e-mail from Lisa Dewey.
Lisa is the owner of Kitchen Whore Records,
the label which has released what is now seen as Marc Moreland's musical epitaph;
"Take It To the Spotlight"...
By Marc Moreland's Mess
Lisa has informed me that any proceeds from the sale of this, and the soon to be re-released
"Department of Crooks" CD (Excellent Stuff)
...will go to Marc's widow, Frederique. So CLICK the cover, GO to Marc's Official Website, and BUY these CDs.
It will help her through this very tough time, and you will be inspired by Marc's genius.
That is it for now, but like I said, I will be adding more to this page.
Please take the time to visit the
Wall of Voodoo Open Forum
To read some very enlightening material, and to pay your respects, if you care to.
The pics were borrowed from
JTL's Wall of Voodoo
The best resources on the web. Please visit.
Ms. Vieuxdo's Tribute to Marc, with some awesome images:
Psych Music Pscenario
(Unless you are in my frames already)