There’s life underground…
Danny Elfman–Oingo Boingo
For me personally, nothing says growing up in So. Cal. quite like Oingo Boingo. I don’t know what it was like in other parts of the country, but if you lived in LA, the OC, the LBC, the Val(ley), or the IE you were pretty much a fan of either KMET/KLOS or KROQ. Unless you listened to KIIS, in which case you were just a douche. Consider me a huge fan of the ROQ of the 80′s. I was then and I still am.
The Boingo song that most reminds me of summer in the 80′s is actually I Love Little Girls, but let’s be honest–nothing screams “let’s pay a visit to family court to re-visit custody” like a single dad with a daughter who writes a blog post titled, “I Love Little Girls”! So I chose my other fav Oingo Boingo jam–Just Another Day. Thanks for letting me clear that up.
I spent a lot of my summer days surfing and/or boogie boarding at Seal Beach (the city I grew up in), at the Huntington Cliffs or near the H.B. Pier. I hung on the north side when I was surfing because they generally black-balled the south side.
If you don’t know what the hell I just said then you obviously didn’t grow up near the beach. Getting “black balled” simply means that the life guards put up a yellow flag with a black ball on it, indicating that surfing was not allowed in that vicinity at that particular time. Generally beaches would black ball one side of the pier to allow families with kids to play in the water without the danger of getting run over by runaway surfboards. As you can see, getting black balled is nothing at all like getting blue balls. But I digress…
Grabbing a spicy chicken bowl with black beans and ahi rice at Wahoo’s, a messy chili burger from Tommy’s, the six egg omelettes at the Harbor House Cafe in Sunset Beach (underneath the water tower), a double-double and fresh cut fries from In-N-Out or chicken tacos at Baja Sonora in Long Beach are the things that I miss. Those and my friends. The general population of So. Cal? Not so much. The crazy cost of living? Not at all.
Everyone knows Dead Man’s Party and Weird Science but true Boingo fans know Only A Lad, Nothing Bad Ever Happens To Me and other Boingo stadards. My earliest memories of the band are from the early 1980′s when we would drive up to Magic Mountain during the summer to ride the roller coasters during the day, then head to the amphitheater in the evening to see Oingo Boingo rock the joint! Their Halloween night shows at the old Irvine Meadows Amphitheater are legendary and one of my regrets in life is not being able to score tix to that last Halloween show in 1995. My blogger buddy Bridget McGuire went and I am eternally jealous of her!
I was a big fan of ska and new wave back in the day and one reason I think I dug Boingo was that they had the horns like a ska band would but their sound was definitely more new wave. KROQ (pronounced “Kay-row-cue”) by DJ Jed the Fish played the hell out of the band from their first single, Only A Lad and they still play a decent amount today. Sweet.
I graduated in 1984, which makes me 40. Ish. I still rock out to Oingo Boingo and chances are if you were to see me dancing around my kitchen with my iPod, I will be listening to Boingo or it’ll be coming up soon.
The band’s front man, Danny Elfman, had an odd and slightly creepy look about him, but dude is a musical genius. Not only did he pen all the great Oingo Boing tunes, but he’s had an amazing post-band career as a composer, being nominated for four Academy Awards.
Elfman penned the theme song for The Simpsons and won a Grammy for Desperate Housewives as well as an Oscar for the film score for Batman. He’s written a ton of music for movies like Spiderman, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (his first movie soundtrack), Edward Scissorhands, Men in Black, The Nightmare before Christmas and pretty much anything that Tim Burton has done, including 2010′s Alice in Wonderland.
This has turned more into a feature piece than a blog post and I totally apologize for that. Everyone has those two or three bands that bring them back and make them want to share info with others and Oingo Boingo is one of those bands for me. If you have a couple moments, take a look at the video link from above. I found it on Youtube and is a really interesting look at Danny Elfman. It’s worth your time to watch (but not til you finish reading the blog post!!!)
Whether I was riding my black Schwinn beach cruiser down Main Street in Seal Beach or driving my orange terra cotta Ford Fiesta down Pacific Coast highway, Oingo Boingo was a huge part of my life from high school and beyond.
I can’t remember can’t count the number of times we would spend evenings sitting on the beach at Bolsa Chica, enjoying a bonfire and drinking Strohs or Lowenbrau while we listened to KROQ or one of my Oingo Boingo cassettes on my boombox.
We would see the Beach Patrol cruising up the sand in their Jeep and we would hide the beer and get a few half empty cans of Pepsi out, so in case they stopped, we looked like innocent teenagers just hanging out having a good clean time.
I can’t believe that life used to be that simple and I can’t believe that we used to drink Stroh’s and Lowenbrau! What the hell were we thinking?
I love the Kid Rock song All Summer Long where he talks about his formidable years growing up in Northern Michigan. I think if I were to put something together like that I would sample this song and make it completely dope and fresh–’cuz I’m cool like that.