Marc Moreland, guitarist, songwriter and co-founder with Stan Ridgway of the electro-pop band Wall of Voodoo, died in a Paris hospital on March 13. He was 44. He had been in failing health in recent years and underwent a liver transplant two months ago. The operation was apparently successful, but he died from kidney failure and various infections. Marc had been living with his wife, Frederique, in Paris on and off for the past 10 years.
Born and raised in West Covina, Marc originally was lead guitarist with his bassist younger brother Bruce in the Sky People, a band that fused Euro prog rock and English glam and played around the Covina area circa ‘74-’76. When Britpunk started to break in 1977, Marc fell in love with many of the London bands, especially the Vibrators, and he jumped heart and soul into the local punk scene where he quickly became a member of the Skulls, one of the first and most fun bands to play at the Masque. Skulls shows were memorable for always collapsing in the middle, Marc‘s signature duct-taped-together Flying-V guitar breaking into two pieces; invariably he’d finish up naked onstage.
By early 1978, Marc had moved on from three-chord punk songs into a realm of more complex music with Wall of Voodoo, recording five albums and a couple of EPs from ‘80 to ’88. Best remembered for marrying the musics of Kraftwerk, Roxy Music, Johnny Cash and Ennio Morricone, the band owed a lot to Marc‘s reverb twang guitar; their ’82 radio and MTV hit ”Mexican Radio“ was largely written by Marc, though credited to the whole band. After the breakup of Wall of Voodoo, Marc became a session musician and recorded an album with Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blond as Pretty and Twisted (‘95), and a solo album under the name Department of Crooks (’97). An EP entitled The Marc Moreland Mess was recently released in France on an independent label.
Moreland is survived by his mother, Bonnie Moreland; father, Kenny Moreland; brother, Bruce; and wife, Frederique.