• Fred

Change


I have never shied away from my admiration for the band Oingo Boingo. From their unconventional and zany beginnings in the 70's to their final show on Halloween of 1995, Oingo Boingo was synonymous with poppy weirdness. And for the next 50 years or so, you'll be hearing their song Dead Man's Party, ad nauseam, every All Hallow's Eve.

While the origins of Oingo Boingo have been well documented, today I'd like to talk about the end of Oingo Boingo.

Their last album was released in 1994 and was simply a self-titled piece called Boingo. After a number of lineup changes, there seemed to be a question of how Boingo would exist in the future. The answer was - it wouldn't. The band would play their final concert a year later. Danny Elfman was in his 40's and I remember lamenting the band's loss of youthful exuberance. But something totally predictable happened...

I got old.

Now in my 40's, I marvel at the band's final effort. Oingo Boingo had always been a bit of a cult band and if you research their discography, you'll find their last effort was actually their highest charting album of original material, going all the way up to #71 on the charts. With Elfman entrenched in the world of movie soundtracks, I believe Boingo was his final stab at being a rock star and people didn't get it.

Why do I bring this up today, over 20 years later?

"Now, with names as illustrious as Elton John, Paul Simon, Ozzy Osbourne, Neil Diamond, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Slayer announcing farewell tours or goodbyes..."

...with the exception of Slayer, name a song by any of those artists past the year 1990. Danny Elfman is still around, creating great music, just not with Oingo Boingo. He was last nominated for a Grammy for 2010's Alice in Wonderland film and scored 5 soundtracks in 2017 alone. All those artists above have been taking victory laps for decades.

The real rock star move is to drop the mic and move on. I re-listened to the last song on Boingo this week and was amazed how the song resonated with me. Elfman slammed an exclamation point on Oingo Boingo and walked out the door. Today, I understand the 15 minute opus in scope and breadth.

Change was a phenomenal song about-

THE END

All stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. If you're cutting edge, sometimes you can shuffle the order around a little bit. And sometimes, if you're a hack, you can leave out a part. The true measure of a great artist is to incorporate the element of time in the perception of your art.

Are "you" a person or are "you" acceptance? If you can answer that question on Hey!, you can start to understand what Elfman was attempting to expound about on his final rock album.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result"

-Edgar Allan Poe


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