You probably remember Oingo Boingo from their 80's highlights like "Weird Science" and the dark and groovy "Dead Man's Party" (which was the inspiration for this spooky t-shirt)... but there's much more to these guys than just another wannabe New Wave band of the synth generation... much, much more!
Unlike other young groups vying for the neon New Wave crown... Danny Elfman took the creative reigns of "The Mystic Knights of the Oing Boingo" from his brother Richard in 1976... many years before Punk, Ska and New Wave were to become the defacto style of a generation.
Besides the obvious quirky influences gained from playing in an anything-goes Cabaret style musical theater troupe, ala "Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention" or "The Residents"... just being musically aware during the detailed oriented guitar work of the 70's rock brought Boingo into the 80's with a deeper sense of guitar use and song structure... something sorely lacking from many of the bands at the time.
While the backlash against guitar solos raged on in the synthesizer based music of the 80's... we can see now in retrospect, many groups complete disregard of guitar only served to hurt the timeless nature of their music... synth tracks from the likes of Thomas Dolby are intensely dated sounding these days (despite the tunes being exceptionally catchy)... while Oingo Boingo tracks have (mostly) worn well through the decades, holding strong character and owing less novelty... which speaks volumes considering, at their core, they're an intentionally theatric (Read: Novelty) band!!
Oingo Boingo is one of those bands worth going back to spend some time with... if you can appreciate the humorous works of Frank Zappa, you owe yourself the oddity and laughs you'll find in the Boingo back catalog... not to mention some of the musicianship found on the bootlegs floating in the ether... these guys were a "band", not a synthesizer... although, the classic "Keytar" is certainly part of their instrument repertoire (and videos)... a guilty pleasure that's always good for a laugh!
By now, you may know that lead singer / songwriter Danny Elfman has continued on to become one of the most infamous Hollywood movie composers in the ranks of John Williams (Star Wars, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Superman, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter)... and one of our all time favorites; Ennio Morricone (The Good The Bad and the Ugly, A Fist Full of Dollars, and basically every other Spaghetti Western and Italian crime movie ever made)... which is no small task, considering there aren't that many other movies that you could score, to even compete on that level.
Ellfman did... only touching only on a very short list of his score credits is enough to make any sound guy green with envy... Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Army of Darkness, Nightmare Before Christmas, Men in Black and Mission: Impossible... and that doesn't even scratch the service, still leaving out some mega-blockbusters like Spiderman, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (basically EVERY Tim Burton film), Chicago, Hulk, Hellboy II, Good Will Hunting and Planet of The Apes... and that's still not all of the A-List movies he's been talented enough to have worked on!!! Truly Amazing.
Did I mention that Richard Elfman (Danny's brother) made a movie of the Mystic Knights stage performance before they moved away from Cabaret stylings? Oh yes... "The Forbidden Zone"... let's just say, it stars a young Herve Villechaize (the little midget guy from the TV show Fantasy Island; "Hey boss, de plane! de plane!").
I even hear there's a sequel in the works, which should include some crazy dancing from Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg)... yes that Jenna Elfman is part of this family of lunatics... (is that really a surprise? hehe!).
Man, I hope they use offensive shit in this movie too... god knows this country needs to lighten up on the political correctness... all the old Oingo Boingo music videos should be playing on televisions in the hallways and lunchrooms of Americas school system... IMHO.