"Sometimes I have to take a young violinist, string her up between two mike stands, and make an example of her. It's very cruel. But very effective." As you can see, Danny Elfman is different. A strange child with a vivid... [more]
"Sometimes I have to take a young violinist, string her up between two mike stands, and make an example of her. It's very cruel. But very effective." As you can see, Danny Elfman is different. A strange child with a vivid imagination -- his bedroom walls were completely covered in pictures torn from horror-film magazines -- Elfman has managed to convey his weird sense of reality with his music.
Elfman was strongly influenced by his novelist mother. She allowed him to express himself and to explore his imagination, and Elfman's creativity blossomed. At 18, he and his brother moved to France, where Elfman became a member of a theater group. Seeking more adventure, he journeyed to Africa, but was forced to return to the States after contracting a severe case of malaria. Back home, Elfman formed a band, Oingo Boingo (the name is taken from the Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo, an experimental theater group he and other members of the band participated in), to score his brother's film, "The Forbidden Zone" (1980). With this movie score, Elfman's two-pronged career was launched. Oingo Boingo played for over a decade, producing several popular, New Wave hits, and Elfman's film-scoring services began to find a market.
But Elfman hadn't really arrived until he began to collaborate with the up-and-coming, idiosyncratic filmmaker, Tim Burton. Burton's creepy, distorted vision of reality matched Elfman's, and the partnership produced music and film that had the power to create a very bizarre yet accessible mood in audiences. The first film the collaborators produced was "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure." This was followed by "Beetlejuice," "Edward Scissorhands," "Mars Attacks!" the Grammy-winning "Batman," and the distinctive, animated wonder "Nightmare Before Christmas."
It seems that, whenever a filmmaker needs a distinctive and strange sound for a movie, Elfman is called in. He has written the music for such off-beat films as "Darkman," "Dick Tracy," "Army of Darkness," "The Frighteners," and "Men in Black." And let's not forget the television show that has, in a dark yet hilarious way, become an American archetype: "The Simpsons." Elfman's music -- whether the New Wave rock of Boingo, the scores to films, or music for movie scenes -- continues to provide a distinctive flavor, and a side of reality that, though humorous, borrows heavily from the dark corners of human nature. [show less]