Dick Tracy tunes
New York Times, 1990
Between leading his eight-member rock band, Oingo Boingo, and
composing film scores (for Batman, Midnight Run, Beetlejuice,
and Pee-wee's big adventure), Danny Elfman is one of the hardest working
musicians in Los Angeles.
Just when MCA Records has released Oingo Boingo's latest album,
"Dark at the End of the Tunnel", Mr. Elfman is composing the score for Warren
Beatty's film Dick Tracy, to be released this summer. The film is expected
to spin off two soundtrack albums, as did Batman, last summer's film
based on a comic strip. One album is to feature the singing of Madonna, the
female star of Dick Tracy; the other is to feature only Mr. Elfman's
Oingo Boingo, which Mr. Elfman formed 11 years ago, grew out of a
12-piece theatrical ensamble he and his friends put together in the
mid-1970's and called the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.
"From being very frenetic, we've become more diverse," the 34-year-old
Mr. Elfman said the other day in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. The
best songs, including "When the Lights Go Out", which imagines civilazation
becoming savage during a blackout, have the dark, vivid imagery of comic-book
nightmares. Writing the music for Batman and Dick Tracy calls
on the same ability to relate music to cartoonish fantasy. Mr. Elfman's film-scoring
career began when the director Tim Burton, who had attended many Oingo Boingo
concerts, invited him to try out as the composer for Pee-wee's big adventure.
"Since Pee-wee's big adventure, I've had the reputation
for being able to score serious comedies," Mr. Elfman said. "Now I'd like to
try my hand at horror and adventure."