Friday, June 24, 2016

The Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo: "Forbidden Zone"

Back in the days of Los Angeles' wild-n-whooly pre-punk "Freak Scene", The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo were filling large theaters with their outrageous performances. And if you think that name sounds familiar, yes indeed, Danny Elfman would eventually inherit the group from brother Richard and pare it down to the hugely successful band Oingo Boingo, who would then in turn serve as the springboard for Elfman's even huge-er career as a soundtrack composer. Somewhere in the world right now, the theme to "The Simpsons" is playing.

But this was Elfman's first score, and possible his best, an utterly weird, wacked-out, and wonderful assortment of short instrumentals ("Factory" wouldn't sound out of place on The Resident's "Commercial Album"), and theatrical vocal numbers from Elfman (as the Devil); star Susan Tyrrell, an actual Oscar nominee who made the admirable decision to toss away movie-star life to make films with the likes of Andy Warhol and John Waters; and - yes! - Herve Villachaize, the little fella with the thick accent who played Tattoo on Fantasy Island, who can be heard in the "Finale."

Also featured: "Yiddishe Charleston", which sounds just like its title: a Jewish boogie-woogie; the Dr. Demento swing-era standard "Pico and Sepulveda," and the amusingly flatulent nonsense vocals of performance artists The Kipper Kids (one of whom is married to Bette Midler?!) sung over some vintage jazz novelties. All of which perfectly complements big brudder Rick Elfman's hysterically surreal, non-PC classic midnight movie. The year was 1977: Richard was retiring from the group to pursue a video career, and Danny was ready to steer it from its glam-era theatrical origins into New Wave rock band territory. Nothing here really sounds like Oingo Boingo, tho. Much to this album's credit, it doesn't really sound like anything you've heard before. 

Various versions of this soundtrack have been released over the years. This is the most complete.

The Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo: "Forbidden Zone" soundtrack


loveisthedevil said...

Thank you for this amazing piece!

Anonymous said...

"But this was Elfman's first score, and possible his best"

POSSIBLY his best? I'd say Definitely his best!

-God Jr.

Mr Fab said...

Ha, well, I am partial to "nightmare before xmas." "This is Halloween" is my fave Elfman tune. But this is probly the better overall album.

David Zoller said...

Glad I found this Soundtrack on your page again. Maybe the most mixed-up record I ever had my ears on and every piece same unique, brilliant and on the point. Thanks