The ultimate party band of the 1980s. Actually the band recorded from 1978 to 1996 and in their time held the most explosive and awe-inspiring live shows in recorded history. Unfortunately mainstream media never knew what to make of them, so they only aquired nominal pop music success with tunes like Dead Man's Party and Weird Science. However, their hard work and extraordinary reputation worked like a cult phenomenon and in their time they found adoring crowds all over the world. Their inspiring artistry has and will outlive the existence of the band itself.

Oingo Boingo featured Danny Elfman as their leader, songwriter, lead singer, rhythm guitar, co-arranger and all-around god-type dude. Steve Bartek also co-arranged the music and was lead guitar. John Avila did bass and vocals. Johnny "Vatos" Hernandez was percussion. Sam "Sluggo" Phipps, Leon Schneiderman, Dale Turner, and George McMullen played horns. Warren Fitzgerald was another of their guitarists. Marc Mann was keyboards. Doug Lacy did accordian and he and Katurah Clarke also assisted with rhythm. Former (or session) members include: Carl Graves; Richard Gibbs; Kerry Hatch; Mike Bacich; Bruce Fowler; Rich Sumner and Willy Winant. On the average there are 5-8 members of Boingo, but there have been as many as 20, playing all sorts of traditional and not-so-traditional instruments.

They began as The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo and then later cropped that to just Oingo Boingo. Early in their efforts to break out of mere local exposure, Oingo Boingo made a television appearance on the Gong Show. They got 24 out of 30 points, and were NOT gonged. Thus began their career's wild and crazy eccentric public presence. Danny Elfman's brother Richard made a movie called Forbidden Zone which featured Fantasy Island's own Herve Villechaize and Boingo supplied the music for it. They were always a wholly weird creative effort. Their song Cry of the Vatos is just as interesting played backwards as it is played forwards. On rare occasions they'd perform their own variations on cover tunes, predominantly works by Cab Calloway, but they used to perform California Girls by The Beach Boys, You Really Got Me was originally by The Kinks, and they recorded a special version of This Bud's For You for the people at Budweiser. However, the vast bulk of their legacy consists of original works.

Long before the band broke up, and Danny Elfman left for Hollywood, many of Oingo Boingo's efforts found their way into the movies. Their song Bachelor Party appeared on the soundtrack for that movie, which starred Tom Hanks. Better Luck Next Time is on the Last American Virgin soundtrack. Dead Man's Party found it's way into Rodney Dangerfield's movie Back To School. Flesh 'N' Blood is on the soundtrack for Ghostbusters II. Not My Slave was on Something Wild which starred Melanie Griffith. The film Fast Times at Ridgemont High featured the song Goodbye Goodbye. There were many others. They did a song called Mama which they admitted was about Norman Bates. Several years later Elfman would find himself doing the soundtrack for the remake of Psycho but I don't think Mama found its way into the movie.

The Danny Elfman titled album "So-Lo" is not actually a solo effort. In fact the entire band performed on it. As I understand the story, they were switching from their old record label A&M Records to MCA but they'd relatively recently released Good For Your Soul on the old label and wanted to release the material that would soon be on the Dead Man's Party album AS Boingo. Back in these days Oingo Boingo was just kicking some ass and taking some names in the recording studio. They also didn't believe the material in question was as ..y'know Boingo as their other works. So they just put Elfman's name on it. It was just stuff they played in rehearsals, and they didn't feel it belonged on a Boingo album, because the stuff is a bit of a departure from their other works. Boingo may have made many songs which will never be heard, only the best of which squeezed through. They played Cinderella Undercover live occasionally as far back as when they called themselves by their full name, but it didn't make it into their albums until 1988. And there are even more obscure works that only diehard fans know about. Some stuff though is probably still locked away with the members, never to be heard until after they're all dead or something.

Anyway. They rocked. The band is no more now, but their music is not forgotten.

A friend of mine once told me this story. She was at a club in San Antonio Texas in the early 80s. Oingo Boingo had been playing, and after the show was over this guy came up to her while she was at the bar. She'd just gone there to be with friends, and hadn't really paid attention to the stage. Here comes this guy with flaming orange hair, and he asks her to take him home with her. She said she found him attractive in a strange way, but his attitude really put her off. She just looked at him funny and said, "I don't even know you." He got very upset with her and stormed off. A friend of hers said, "Geez! Don't you know who he is?" She said, "I don't care who he is. I'm not taking some weird stranger home with me." Her friend explained he was Danny Elfman. Such was her brush with fame.

Boingo Discography:

  1. The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo (1978)
  2. Forbidden Zone film soundtrack (1980)
  3. Oingo Boingo ep (1980)
    1. Only a Lad
    2. Violent Love
    3. Ain't This the Life
    4. I'm So Bad
  4. Only A Lad (1981)
    1. Little Girls
    2. Perfect System
    3. On the Outside
    4. Capitalism
    5. You Really Got Me
    6. Only a Lad
    7. What You See
    8. Controller
    9. Imposter
    10. Nasty Habits
  5. Nothing To Fear (1982)
    1. Grey Matter
    2. Insects
    3. Private Life
    4. Wild Sex (in the working class)
    5. Running on a Treadmill
    6. Whole Day Off
    7. Nothing to Fear (but fear itself)
    8. Why'd We Come
    9. Islands
    10. Reptiles and Samurai
  6. Good For Your Soul (1983)
    1. Who Do You Want to Be
    2. Good For Your Soul
    3. No Spill Blood
    4. Cry of the Vatos
    5. Fill the Void
    6. Sweat
    7. Nothing Bad Ever Happens
    8. Wake Up (it's 1984)
    9. Dead Or Alive
    10. Pictures of You
    11. Little Guns
  7. Danny Elfman SO-LO (1984)
    1. Gratitude
    2. Cool City
    3. Go Away
    4. Sucker For Mystery
    5. It Only Makes Me Laugh
    6. The Last Time
    7. Tough As Nails
    8. Lightning
    9. Everybody Needs
  8. Dead Man's Party (1985)
    1. Just Another Day
    2. Dead Man's Party
    3. Heard Somebody Cry
    4. No One Lives Forever
    5. Stay
    6. Fool's Paradise
    7. Help Me
    8. Same Man I Was Before
    9. Weird Science
  9. BOI-NGO (1987)
    1. Home Again
    2. Where Do All My Friends Go
    3. Elevator Man
    4. New Generation
    5. We Close Our Eyes
    6. Not My Slave
    7. My Life
    8. Outrageous
    9. Pain
    10. Mama (later releases only)
  10. Boingo Alive double album (1988)
    1. Dead Man's Party
    2. Dead Or Alive
    3. No Spill Blood
    4. Stay
    5. Cinderella Undercover
    6. Home Again
    7. Help Me
    8. Just Another Day
    9. Only Makes Me Laugh
    10. My Life
    11. Nothing to Fear (But Fear Itself)
    12. Not My Slave
    13. We Close Our Eyes
    14. Elevator Man
    15. Winning Side
    16. Wild Sex (In the Working Class)
    17. Grey Matter
    18. Private Life
    19. Gratitude
    20. No One Lives Forever
    21. Mama
    22. Capitalism
    23. Who Do You Want to Be
    24. Sweat
    25. Violent Love
    26. On the Outside
    27. Only A Lad
    28. Goodbye Goodbye
  11. Skeletons in the Closet compilation (1989)
  12. Stay (1990) Brazil only
  13. Dark at the End of the Tunnel (1990)
    1. When the Lights Go Out
    2. Skin
    3. Out of Control
    4. Glory Be
    5. Long Breakdown
    6. Flesh 'N Blood
    7. Run Away (The Escape Song)
    8. Dream Somehow
    9. Is This
    10. Right to Know
    11. Try to Believe
  14. Best O' Boingo compilation (1991)
  15. Boingo (1994)
    1. Insanity
    2. Hey!
    3. Mary
    4. Can't See (Useless)
    5. Pedestrian Wolves
    6. Lost Like This
    7. Spider
    8. War Again
    9. I Am the Walrus
    10. Tender Lumplings
    11. Change
    12. Helpless
  16. Farewell Live from the Universal Amphitheatre (1996)
  17. Anthology double album (1999)

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