follow us in feedly
Alice Cooper loses his head & Danny Elfman (with Oingo Boingo) loses his mind on ‘The Gong Show’

Alice Cooper, the late Chuck Barris, and a devilish Danny Elfman.
Like everyone else of a certain age, I spent time this week mourning the loss of Chuck Barris, the one-of-a-kind game show king and the host of often questionable “talent” competition The Gong Show. I was old enough during the show’s run in the late 70s to never want to miss Barris’ antics, as well as the never-ending parade of hopeful weirdos who flocked to the show. If you’re young enough to be unfamiliar with The Gong Show, the best case scenario was that your act didn’t get “gonged” before you were done. Worst case scenario you got frantically “gang-gonged” by all three judges, but still got to fly your freak flag high to much of America. The prize for not getting gonged and coming away with the highest collective score? $516.32.

As I was busy being nostalgic watching a few vintage clips from the show, I came across a couple worth sharing. One features Alice Cooper (who called Barris one of his “favorite people in the world”) serenading him with “Goin’ Out of My Head” while stuck in his trusty guillotine. The other is a wildly out-of-control performance by cinema maestro Danny Elfman back in his Oingo Boingo days who at the time were still called The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. Elfman and Oingo Boingo’s antics on stage were judged by none other than Gong Show regular Buddy Hackett, a solo Shari Lewis (Lambchop must have had the night off), and actor Bill Bixby of Incredible Hulk fame. Apparently, they loved what they saw as the Mystic Knights won the contest that episode.

Watch Alice Cooper and a young Danny Elfman on ‘The Gong Show’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Christmas ornaments featuring Morrissey, Bowie, Adam Ant, Nick Cave, Siouxsie and more

This charming set of Christmas ornaments does a wonderful job of letting everyone in your circle know that you love St. Nick—and that the “Nick” in question is Nick Cave. Matthew Lineham designed them, and he’s done a wonderful job of working in “obscure Christmas memories and puns,” as he put it.

Many of his “obscure” references involve network Christmas programming from many decades ago. Siouxsie Sioux is transformed into Cindy Lou Who, the little girl from Whoville in Dr. Seuss’ classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Morrissey plays the part of “Snow Mozzer” and “Heat Mozzer,” the memorable characters from the 1974 stop-motion animated Christmas TV special from Rankin/Bass, The Year Without a Santa Claus. Former Oingo Boingo frontman and soundtrack maestro Danny Elfman appears as “Elfman on the Shelfman,” a reference to the 2004 children’s book The Elf on the Shelf. Robert Smith is perched atop Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and DEVO‘s familiar energy dome is cleverly done up as a Christmas tree.

Lineham calls the set “A Very New Wave Christmas” but he has sensibly gone where the name-puns and name recognition will take him rather than obey strict genre definitions. Bowie and Cave might not be your idea of “new wave” icons but they were active in the early 1980s, at least.

You can buy the rubber die cut bendable ornaments for $10 a pop (“Mozzer” pair $15), or $50 for the entire set, a significant discount. However, due to the unexpectedly high demand, Lineham wants purchasers to be aware that any ornaments ordered today will be shipped “sometime between Dec 21st & 31st,” so don’t bank on them being available for this year’s tree—however, there’s always 2017, 2018, 2019, and beyond to think of. These seem unlikely to go out of style anytime soon.


More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
New on ‘My Dad Was in a Band’: My Dad was in Oingo Boingo!
03:42 pm


Danny Elfman
My Dad Was In A Band
Oingo Boingo

John “Vatos” Hernandez is seated on stool at left behind Danny Elfman

The latest from My Dad Was in a Band, the new blog that we’re co-presenting with Drafthouse Films.

This comes via Rio Hernandez, daughter of John “Vatos” Hernandez, Oingo Boingo’s drummer from 1980 to 1984:

Prior to Boingo, my dad played for Helen Reddy regularly and picked up many shows playing for others, Peter Allen, playing on The Johnny Carson Show, playing at Disneyland, etc. I can’t imagine how many times I saw Helen Reddy play. (MGM Las Vegas, The Midnight Special, et al). My earliest memories of seeing him play live date back to when I was 3 or so. I feel like I grew up carrying parts of his drum kit or standing in the wings.

He joined Boingo back when they were The Mystic Nights of the Oingo Boingo, and I have very vivid memories of seeing them in the beginning as they were very theatrical: Danny would come out dressed as the devil in white tails with glittery red horns. They project reels of old cartoons. At one point they all came out in gorilla suits. So, you can imagine that was pretty thrilling/wild for a kid (I was around 6/7 at this time). I loved their music & the show. Danny was was the first redhead I can recall meeting and I remember that alone seemed weird & intriguing. From that period on it was lots of shows at The Whiskey, The Roxy with tons of great Alt bands, going to the US Festivals etc. Growing up in the music business in the 1970s in Los Angeles (literally growing up), has definitely shaped me.

Below, “Little Girls”:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Catwoman plays Danny Elfman’s ‘Batman’ theme on piano
10:54 am


Danny Elfman

Cosplay Piano is a new ongoing series where artists dress in character and play theme songs from TV or films on the piano

Here we have leather-clad Sonya Belousova as Catwoman playing Danny Elfman’s main theme music from Batman.

It looks like Cosplay Piano is taking requests via the YouTube comments. Everyone is requesting the Doctor Who theme, natch.

Via Geekologie

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
1967 Frank Zappa & Linda Ronstadt radio ad that influenced ‘The Simpsons’ theme

When Matt Groening hired Danny Elfman to write the theme for The Simpsons, he gave him a mixed tape of songs that he wanted the music to sound like: The theme from The Jetsons, some of Esquivel’s “space age bachelor-pad music,” a teach-your-parrot-to-talk record, selections from Nino Rota’s Juliet of the Spirits soundtrack and this unused Frank Zappa-produced radio commercial for Remington electric shavers that features the vocal stylings of none other than a young Linda Ronstadt.

The future queen of country rock is nearly unrecognizable here, speeded-up, multi-tracked and sounding like she’s just taken a hit off a helium balloon. At the end, Zappa tells listeners that the Remington electric razor “cleans you, thrills you… may even keep you from getting busted.”

According to legend, after giving the tape several listens Elfman told Groening, “I know exactly what you’re looking for!”


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo on ‘The Gong Show,’ 1976

Before they shortened their name and became a Halloween-loving ska octet called Oingo Boingo, movie maestro Danny Elfman and his brother Richard Elfman were the leaders of the sprawling weirdo performance art/musical troupe, The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. Formed in early 70s Los Angeles, here’s a look at what their act back then was like, with this 1976 appearance on The Gong Show.

Richard Elfman is in the rocket, and Danny is playing the trombone. The celebrity judges are Buddy Hackett, Shari Lewis (sans Lampchop, sadly) and “Mr. Eddie’s father” and future Bruce Banner, Bill Bixby. They won that episode, receiving 24 points out of a possible 30, without getting gonged. You’ll recognize many of the faces here from Richard Elfman’s cult classic, Forbidden Zone.

Thank you, Danae Na Val Campbell!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment