MAN'S PARTY' IS OVER, OR IS IT?
Oingo calls it quits after a Halloween
By Amy Dawes - Los Angeles Daily News
Tuesday, October 31, 1995
"Dead Man's Very Last
Party?" "Boingo Dead on Halloween?"
A Southern California pop music tradition is about to die,
and Oingo Boingo front man Danny Elfman is joking about possible titles for the live album
the band plans to record during its final concert Halloween night at the Universal
Tonight's performance is the last of four sold-out shows
there that will mark the end of the band's career after 17 years and 11 albums.
And what should the band's fanatic followers -- who often
attend the annual Halloween shows in costume -- expect at the farewell concert?
"A long, exhausting show with lots of songs and the same
cheap tricks we've been dragging out on stage ever since we started," Elfman said
It's not as if Elfman, 42, wouldn't have the money to invest.
During the past 10 years, he's led an unusual double life. On the one hand, he fronts a
band whose frenetic dance music and wild stage antics appeal mostly to teens; on the other
hand, he has become one of the busiest orchestral composers in the movie world.
Current hit films Elfman has scored include "To Die
For" and "Dead Presidents", as well as the theme music for Fox TV's
He's best-known for his association with director Tim Burton,
for whom he scored "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure", "Beetlejuice", the
Grammy-winning "Batman" soundtrack, "Edward Scissorhands" and
"The Nightmare Before Christmas".
That relationship has ended, and Elfman says it's over for
good. "It was personal. I haven't spoken to him in a couple of years, and I don't
expect I ever will again."
The breakup of Oingo Boingo, on the other hand, is far more
amicable. "We've been thinking about laying it to rest for the last four or five
years. We decided to make a nice clean break, give our fans a chance to say goodbye and
give us a chance to say goodbye to them," Elfman said. "I think it's a miracle
when a band makes it more than a decade, especially a big, nutty group like us."
Indeed, Oingo Boingo has been hard to classify. Spun off in
the late '70s from the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, a traveling performance-art
troupe that Elfman's brother, Rick, had drafted him into, Oingo Boingo mixed the energy of
the era's punk-rock music with ironic, angst-filled lyrics and an eclectic mix of horns,
xylophones, synthesizers, ska, reggae and West African beats.
Never big on a national scale, the band took off in Southern
California with the support of radio station KROQ-FM and disc jockey Jed the Fish, who
played "Only a Lad" incessantly.
The band's Day of the Dead imagery and its traditional
Halloween concerts came about almost by accident, says Elfman. "I just always loved
Halloween -- it's a chance to let your imagination go and be someone else, and our
concerts just happened to get scheduled at that time, and it all came together with our
imagery and made sense."
A graduate of University High in West Los Angeles, Elfman
grew up in Baldwin Hills, where he claims he spent nearly every weekend at the movies,
keenly attuned to the styles of various composers. His oddball passion paid off years
later, when fledgling film director Tim Burton approached Elfman about creating a score
for a movie version of the popular TV show "Pee-Wee's Playhouse".
For the past several years, Elfman has been writing
screenplays, and one of them, titled "Little Demons", appears headed for
production at New Line, with Elfman attached to direct.
But while he seeks new directions, the fans remain remarkably
loyal. Doesn't that make Elfman want to change his mind?
"Not really," he said. "There's the risk of
the dinosaur factor kicking in. In short, it's been fun."