Danny Elfman talks Coachella, Tim Burton, Oingo Boingo & more on ‘Score: The Podcast’
Composer and former Oingo Boingo leader Danny Elfman is on this week's edition of Score: The Podcast for an in-depth, career-spanning conversation. Among the subjects: Coachella, at which Danny was supposed to have performed this month, until the coronavirus pushed the festival to October. His set was definitely one of the bigger question marks of the festival -- just what would he do?
"They tried to get me for years. A Boingo reunion's not gonna happen, just because I just have a thing about reunions and I can’t do it," Danny tells Score hosts Robert Kraft and Kenny Holmes. "Then at a certain point they said "do a film thing" -- Hans [Zimmer] did a film thing -- and said I can’t do that without a big orchestra and feel right with myself. We’ve been doing film concerts for seven years now and, when I do a film concert, it’s a film concert. There’s there’s 120 people on stage with the choir and the orchestra. But then he flew me out there and I saw the screens and the whole set up and I said, 'wait a minute there’s a way to do this,' that’s mixing everything for my last 40 years together bits of film, bits of songs, probably maybe Oingo Boingo songs, and at that same time I’ve been working on this new stuff that I had in my mind and I thought oh my God I could premiere this new work. Suddenly it all made sense and I said I can do this and I will do it."
They also asked Danny how he felt when he learned when he found out Coachella was being postponed. "It was horrible," Elfman says. "I had put three months of intense work into prepping. Unlike almost anybody else out there, I was creating a show from scratch, from nothing, I had to hire a band. I had to put together arrangements. I had figure out what it was. Rearrange orchestral music. It was so much work, and we were just at the point where the band was together and we’re starting to actually sound good and I was getting really excited. I was worried [thinking] 'wow it should be nice to have a warm-up show," but there’s still the part of me that's like "fuck it," go out there without a safety net. I still get into a frame of mind... it makes no sense... but they still can’t shoot you for fucking up on stage." He went on to say Coachella was going to be "particularly insane" because he's "opening with a tune that nobody’s ever heard before...I shouldn’t even say that, I’ve already said too much." You can watch a video clip of that segment of the podcast, which premieres in this post, below.
Elsewhere in the podcast, Elfman talks about the series of weird coincidences that led him to scoring his first film (Pee-Wee's Big Adventure), his long relationship with Tim Burton, teaching himself to write music, not wanting to co-write the Batman score with Prince, how The Simpsons theme earned him a SAG card, why he'll only score four movies a year, and more. Listen to the whole thing below.
Danny also just shared a newly recorded version of Oingo Boingo song "Running on a Treadmill."