[91X Interview]

Danny Elfman with Steve West
91X, San Diego, 1995.10.19
Source of transcript unverified
Steve: Danny Elfman from Boingo
Danny: Hello.
Steve: Hello?
Danny: Hello.
Steve: Say hello to Ross.
Danny: Hello, how are you doing?
Steve: Danny, do you like 'MAH-naisse'? (laughter)
Voice in background: Don't start *that* one.
Steve: He just came in from Louisiana. New Orleans.
Danny: Oh, I get it. I'm hearing it all distorted so you might have to translate for me. I'm hearing you speaking in distorto-ese.
Steve: His favorite food is MAH-naisse.
Danny: Well, yeah, we're having a big catfish dinner right now, as a matter of fact. Crawdaddies...
Steve: Try changing headphones; it might help.
Danny: Try changing headphones, okay. (Sound of object dropping.) Whoa.
Steve: There ya go. How 'bout that?
Danny: Technical stuff. Oh. Oh. Yes.
Steve: That sounds better. 'Cause I know I've seen you doing sound checks. You're very picky with sound, aren't you?
Danny: Well, it's nice when you can hear something.
Steve: Well, that's a good thing; it's really good because you hear notes, like, I'm thinking...
Danny: No, believe me. When Oingo Boingo does a sound check on stage, believe me, we're not being picky; we're just trying to hear ourselves. It's just like, picture a tornado just going around, trying to scream to the person next to you, and you just want to hear them a little bit. We don't ask for anything more than that. Trust me. (Growls.) It's *hell* up there!
Steve: But you are somewhat of a ... let me use the wrong word... perfectionist?
Danny: (Laughs.) No, no. No. If I was a perfectionist, we'd be sound checking for three days. (Laughter.)
Steve: Well, welcome back—first of two nights.
Danny: Thanks.
Steve: This is the first night of the last tour.
Danny: Well, we call it the beginning of the end.
Steve: Yes, another way of putting that. I just spend two glorious hours earlier on with John and John. It was...
Danny: I'll bet it was really glorious, too. I'll bet it was...
Steve: The sheer lunacy. And... 'Cause it is not often that you get a band that will go thru as many years as you guys have done, and then at the end of it... Is it definitive: Okay, that's it. Done! Over!
Danny: Well, that's the way it should be. You know, I always hate it when I read about a band kind of having dissolved and there's a little thing in the paper, a little blurb, and you read about it and go, "Oh, damn. What a drag. I didn't know. I didn't know." So, you know, seventeen years is a good long time.
Steve: And you guys still get along?
Danny: That's the amazing thing. That's the really amazing thing. What's seventeen years between friends, anyhow?
Steve: It was, what, 1978? "Only a Lad"—wasn't it? 1978 was the first one?
Danny: Yeah, actually, the very first thing was "Ain't This the Life", "Only A Lad", "Violent Love"—it was a four-song EP.
Steve: We were just talking about that today. A guy called in and he said he had a 12" copy of the EP, and was it kind of valuable, and then I think John turned around and pulled two copies of it out of the rack. But there are some 10" copies of that...
Danny: Oh, the bloody bastard!
Steve: I have one of the original 10" copies of that.
Danny: You do?
Steve: Yeah, it's...
Danny: Wow. It's a little hand-drawn cover?
Steve: Yeah, I got it when I got a hold of my copy of that movie. What was it?
Danny: Forbidden Zone?
Steve: Forbidden Zone—yeah. Some Boingo memorabilia.
Danny: From way back. Yeah, that was '78.
Steve: So another thing of course...tonight, if you're just hanging out -- tomorrow night is the sold-out night; this is what we should point out. There's still a few [tickets left], I guess...
Danny: Hey, we sold out, you know, we sold out—but we still have our artistic integrity tonight. But tomorrow night we sold out. We're just playing, like, hits of other bands. We completely sold out. We're just doing the best of Aerosmith and, um...but tonight, pure artistic integrity. Nothing but 100% Boingo.
Steve: 100% Boingo tonight. Three hours' worth, I'm hearing you guys are getting ready to do.
Danny: Oh, God; three long hours. And I guarantee you, it won't seem a minute over seven.
Ross: Hey, Steve; can I ask one question? Just one? It's right on the tip of my tongue; I wanna ask Danny.
Danny: Get that tongue away from me! You can ask the question, but just get that tongue out of the way here.
Ross: Are you all gonna be doing anything off of Poison's "Look What the Cat Dragged In" ?
Danny: _What_?
Steve: I told you; he's out there.
Danny: What the hell are you talking about?
Ross: I get off at midnight, Danny. I'll just call you then; OK, Brother?
Danny: OK, Brother. You got it. (Laughter.)
Steve: Ross, thank you. Throw me completely...
Danny: Yeah, yeah—whatever it is, it's a great idea and I'll be there. Count me in.
Steve: So in the future, John and John were saying that they're going to continue with their musical careers and different roles now, but you've established yours, and...
Danny: No, I'm becoming a Buddhist monk, and I'm going to a monastery in Tibet, and I'm going to stay there for twenty years.
Steve: I'll tell you something, Danny. When it comes down to me seeing you on the Discovery Channel in an interview about the making of movies, and they had a clip with you...
Danny: Oh God. Saying something really stupid.
Steve: ...and I think you were talking about the Simpsons and Batman.
Danny: You know, Simpsons vs. Batman. Now there is a story concept. What do you think? Batman vs. Bart.
Steve: Now how about that—and you could write the score for that one, and make it into Batman IV.
Danny: Yeah! (begins humming part of the Simpsons theme, followed by Batman.)
(commercial break)
Steve: Okay. We're here with Danny. The first night of the last tour from Oingo Boingo. Actually I had a very moving phone call today, Danny, from a girl, I guess. Five years ago her brother died and she just called to thank you and the guys for making the music that helped her get through it all.
Danny: Wow. That's heavy.
Steve: It brings you right down to a personal level, I think, that you're actually hitting a human being out there and it means something to them in their life and sometimes I think that gets forgotten in the music industry as a whole.
Danny: That's true. That's true. What can one say other than...Christ!
Steve: So, Danny, you've done the movies, you've done the band, now you're gonna do the video?
Danny: "Boingo: The Pinball Game". "Boingo: The Computer Battle Game".
Steve: What about the book? I gotta ask you—is there gonna be a book?
Danny: "Boingo Kombat: The Nintendo..." No, there's not gonna be a book. There won't be a Nintendo game, either. No goddamn book for me. I've got nothing to say in a book; it would be the shortest book ever written. Half a page long. Nothing interesting to say.
Steve: There is going to be a video; we were talking about it earlier on.
Danny: We are attempting to put together a live album/live video of our last concerts that we'll be finishing up in L.A. next week, and to leave something really good, you know, with as many songs as we can possibly cram into this video. So if anybody's interested in checking it out, we don't know if we're going to be marketing it ourselves or if somebody else will, but send a postcard to the Boingo Secret Society, and that address is on the back of every album and just about everything.
Steve: Or the Internet.
Danny: Or the Internet.
Steve: alt.fan.boingo
Danny: alt.fan.boingo
Steve: Yeah, that's in the Usenet newsgroups? Or you can just go on to the World Wide Web browser and type "Boingo" and you'll probably come up with a few home pages.
Danny: Yeah, if they send in postcards with their names and addresses saying, "Yeah, I want to get an advance order on that video", we'll start organizing that stuff in the next couple of weeks.
Steve: Great. This is going to be at the Universal on Halloween?
Danny: Yeah, it'll be our actual last show.
Steve: That's so sad when you say it that way. "Our last..." Come on. Fifteen years down the road there's gonna be a reunion. There's gotta be a reunion somewhere along the line.
Danny: Fifteen years down the road. Yeah, right! (Laughs.) Didn't they tell you? I'm going to commit suicide at the end of the last show onstage, so I don't think that's gonna be possible. Don't miss it, kids! It's gonna be really exciting.
Steve: Are you doing any more movies right now? Are you working on any?
Danny: Movies, movies. No, no—I had To Die For and Dead Presidents come out, kind of, together even though I worked on them at different times much earlier in the year, and no more scores at this point this year. Got a bunch of other little fun things to do.
Steve: Ooh, great. So, we were talking just now about songs that you really liked over the span of your days with the band.
Danny: Yeah, yeah. I talked about from the oldies department, I guess, you know I'd have to say the first song, the one that kind of kick-started everything, "Only a Lad", and "Grey Matter" was always kind of like an onstage favorite for me. I get to bang on those stupid marimba thingies -- whatever the hell they're called. Banga-phones. Boingo-phones.
Steve: I guess back pre-"Dead Man's Party", that was kind of the anthem, wasn't it—"Only a Lad"? And then of course along came "Dead Man's Party".
Danny: Uh, yeah -- I guess. Anthem after anthem, we just pumped them out! Anthems for the masses!
Steve: But I think "Only a Lad" really, really hit a lot of people. You were the original party band with the original mosh pits, and... hey, to get in the pit for Boingo, man, that was something.
Danny: Tonight I'm gonna bounce on my head. I'm gonna start a fire on my head and then bounce on it on the stage and put it out, so you don't wanna miss that. So you gotta get down here. I'm starting my hair on fire in front of everybody. Yeah, I'm just gonna douse my head with lighter fluid tonight and start my hair on fire. It's really gonna be cool.
Steve: Danny Elfman at San Diego State tonight, with Oingo Boingo...
Danny: With the Wangie-Bangies. Come on down and see the little Bangie-Bangies...those cute little Boingie-Bangies...
(Music: "Only a Lad")
Steve: A belated happy birthday to you, by the way, 'cause we missed our birthdays—on Memorial Day?
Danny: Something like that.
Steve: You know, congratulations for whatever it is you're off to in the future here.
Danny: Well, thank you.
Steve: And thanks for years and years of entertaining everybody here in San Diego.
Danny: Well, thank you for supporting us for years and years of entertaining here in San Diego!
Steve: My shoulders are heavy.
Danny: (Laughs.) Boy, it's little mutual admiration society here. What would Boingo be without 91X, I tell you? Nothing.
Steve: What would 91X be without Boingo?
Danny: Well...
Steve: Probably the same.
Danny: Probably the same! But, you know...let's pretend for a moment that we all helped each other.
Steve: We're gonna have fun tonight. It'll be fun. Thanks a lot, Danny.
Danny: Okay. Great.
(Music: "Grey Matter")
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