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Oingo Boingo Biography

Home > Music > O > Oingo Boingo > Biography

Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, United States
Years Active: 1972-1995
Genres: New Wave, Ska, Alternative Rock, Synthpop

Oingo Boingo was an American new wave band spearheaded by songwriter/vocalist Danny Elfman, who eventually left the group and went on to carve out a successful career for himself as a film and television composer. The group began as a theatrical comedy troupe in Los Angeles, California, but morphed into a ska-influenced new wave act by 1979. Over the next ten years the group changed musical direction again, moving more toward a guitar-driven rock sound and away from the use of synthesizers by the 1980s. In 1995 the band announced their retirement from the music business and played a sold out farewell concert on Halloween that year.

When Danny Elfman took over the lead vocalist position in the group, after older brother Richard had left, the group had already amassed a loyal and large following in the Los Angeles area. As the group began to move away from its cabaret style and more towards a rock format, they were offered a record deal with MCA Records. At his time Mike Bacich took over on keyboards from Richard Gibbs, who had left, and John Avila replaced Kerry Hatch on bass. Their album, “Dead Man's Party” appeared in 1985 and was well-received by fans, going on to be their biggest commercial hit and most successful album. Oingo Boingo's music also began to appear in a number of soundtracks around this time, such as “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” and the John Hughes classic, “Weird Science.” The group went on to maintain their steady flow of success, despite no huge hits; however, it was their inability to cross over to the mainstream markets that resulted in MCA dropping the group, which caused the group to rethink their musical direction and make some line-up changes once again. Graves was dropped and Warren Fitzgerald was added on guitar, in addition to Marc Mann on keyboards and Doug Lacy on accordion. 1994 marked the release of the “Boingo” album on Giant Records, which was moderately successful. However the band decided to call it quits a year later.