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Ridgway embarked on a solo career in 1983, shortly after Wall of Voodoo's appearance and break up at the US Festival that same year. After collaborating on the song, "Don't Box Me In" with Stewart Copeland from The Police for the soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish starring Mickey Rourke, Matt Dillon and Dennis Hopper, he released his first proper solo album, The Big Heat (1986), which included the top 5 European (and UK) hit "Camouflage". This was followed by numerous other solo recordings: Mosquitos (1989), Partyball (1991), Black Diamond (1995), and Anatomy (1999), The Way I Feel Today (1998), a collection of big band standards (2000), and Holiday in Dirt (2001), a compilation of outtakes and previously unreleased songs. Ridgway's most recent solo outing is Snakebite: Blacktop Ballads and Fugitive Songs (2005), featuring the narrative song, "Talkin' Wall Of Voodoo Blues Pt. 1", a history of his former band in song that is especially poignant, having followed the recent deaths of guitarist Marc Moreland and drummer Joe Nanini.

Since the early days of Wall of Voodoo, Ridgway has been interested in making music for the cinema. A list of films for which Ridgway has written scores and/or original songs is included below. Ridgway's album Holiday in Dirt was a quasi-cinematic project, with the release of the album accompanied by a showing of 14 short films by various independent filmmakers, each film a visual interpretation of one of the songs on the album. A compilation DVD of the films was released in February 2005.

In 1994, Ridgway began work on a new project in the form of a trio called Drywall, the other members of the trio being Ridgway's wife, keyboardist/vocalist Pietra Wexstun of the band Hecate's Angels (who had previously worked with Ridgway on Mosquitos and Partyball), and former Rain Parade drummer Ivan Knight. In 1995, Drywall released its first album (first of a "trilogy of apocalyptic documents"), titled Work The Dumb Oracle. A short film directed by Carlos Grasso titled The Drywall Incident was released the same year. An extended, instrumental soundtrack album for The Drywall Incident was released in 1996.

Ridgway and Wexstun also collaborated and forayed into new musical territory, composing a suite of mostly instrumental and orchestral pieces to accompany an exhibition of postmodern surrealist artist Mark Ryden's paintings after being introduced by a mutual friend, Sean P. Riley, who toured with Wall Of Voodoo on their 1982 "Call Of The West - Tour Of Virtue" as the band's merchandiser. The album was released on CD in 2003 as Blood — Miniature Paintings of Sorrow and Fear in a unique 3-panel packaging design by the artist which quickly sold out of its limited pressing of 7,500. Ridgway plays banjo and harmonica in Wexstun's group Hecate's Angels.

Ridgway's most recent solo recording is Snakebite: Blacktop Ballads and Fugitive Songs (2005). Stan Ridgway and Drywall regrouped in 2006 to release the album Barbeque Babylon, the third "apocalyptic document" with the single "The AARP Is Following Me". The new Drywall lineup features Rick King on guitars and bass and Bruce Zelesnik on drums and percussion. In 2008 Ridgway and Wexstun released "Silly Songs For Kids Vol. 1", a collection of children's songs that feature the duo and also saxophonist and woodwind player Ralph Carney.

Ridgway has also contributed to albums and projects by producer Hal Willner, Frank Black and the Catholics, The Flesh Eaters, The Divine Horsemen, The Ray Campi Quartet, The Fibonaccis, and Roger McGuinn.

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