Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Worth Another Listen - Oingo Boingo

The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo started in 1972 as a Los Angeles live experience, part theater, part rock band. Originally founded by Richard Elfman, the band had an esoteric set list more in keeping with Frank Zappa, combining a wide range of influences, blending it all together with a jazz mentality. In 1976, Richard decided to focus on his career as a movie director, and younger brother Danny Elfman took the leadership role, changing the direction and feel of the band. While the theatrics were still a big part of the performances, Danny's darker side made for a new flow for the band. That included a winning appearance on the Gong Show, which did not manage to catapult them to any fame, not surprising once you see the clip.

It wasn't until 1981 they managed to put out their first album, and still didn't find commercial success until 1985 with the release of Dead Man's Party. The band had focused their sound, moving in a New Wave direction, although maintained the large performance style. But the real success was a single off the album, which was the written for a John Hughes film. The song, Weird Science, which played everywhere in 1985, enabling the album to be certified gold.

They followed up the hit with Dead Man's Party, another visually arresting video to support a layered and textured musical performance.

One of my favorite songs off the album was Stay. It was more melodic and less theatrical, showing a more New Wave and less Pop side of the band. The song did not chart, although it did get some radio-play follwoing the success of Weird Science.

The band were together until 1995, when they finally called it quits. Elfman started working full time working on film soundtracks, something he had started before, working on brother Richard's films, as well as the soundtrack to Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. He went on to work in collaboration with Tim Burton on such films as Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride. He also scored Burton's upcoming release, Alice In Wonderland.


  1. Howard, when Stan sees this he will freak out. Oingo Boingo is in his heart. :)

  2. Kyle, can't wait to hear from him!

  3. They were a great band. I loved "Wierd Science" - they do have a huge cultic underground following! We Close Our Eyes is also a good song.

    Imagine - Danny Elfman - such a successful movie composer now.

  4. SteveA, yes, their following is interesting, and they now follow the soundtracks of many movies. Who saw that coming?



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