FACTS AT A GLANCE: Danny Elfman
Full Name: Daniel Robert Elfman
Date of Birth: May 29th, 1953
Place of Birth: Amarillo, Texas
Parents: Milton and Blossom Elfman, a teacher and a novelist in respective order (Sadly, Milton passed away on June 4th, 2001)
Siblings: Richard and Judy
Childhood Home: Los Angeles, California
Children: Mali and Lola (the former being adopted and the eldest)
Occupation: Film Composer
LIST OF CREDITS:
--The Forbidden Zone
--Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
--Back to School (composer + Oingo Boingo contribution)
--Face Like a Frog (animated short)
--Big Top Pee-Wee
--Hot to Trot
--Nightbreed (composer +Oingo Boingo contribution)
--Pure Luck (theme)
--The Nightmare Before Christmas (composer + executive producer)
--Army of Darkness (theme)
--Shrunken Heads (theme)
--To Die For
--Men In Black
--Good Will Hunting
--Scream 2 (additional score)
--A Simple Plan
--My Favorite Martian (additional score)
--Anywhere But Here
--Planet of the Apes
--Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (with Oingo Boingo)
--Sixteen Candles (with Oingo Boingo)
--This Was Then, This Is Now (with Oingo Boingo)
--Teen Wolf Two (with Oingo Boingo)
--Beverly Hills Cop (with Oingo Boingo)
--Ghostbusters 2 (with Oingo Boingo)
--She's Out of Control
--Fast Times at Ridgemont High (with Oingo Boingo)
--Something Wild (with Oingo Boingo)
--Bachelor Party (with Oingo Boingo)
--Weird Science (with Oingo Boingo)
--Tempest (contribution unknown, presumed with Oingo Boingo)
--She's Out of Control (contribution unknown, presumed with Oingo Boingo)
--Amazing Stories: Mummy Daddy
--Amazing Stories: Family Dog
--Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Jar
--Tales From The Crypt
--Oh No, Not Them
--Perversions of Science
Coming Soon and Possibilities
*Please note, I'm not sure if Danny is actually working on these projects...*
--Little Demons (Composer, Director, and Sciptwriter)
--The World of Jimmy Callicut
The Corpse Bride
Daniel Robert Elfman was born on the 29th of May, 1953 in the town of Amarillo, Texas. His parents, Milton and Blossom, were both teachers; Blossom, besides teaching English, was also an aspiring novelist. She won an Emmy for her writing in a televison movie. Milton and Blossom also had another son, Richard as well as a daughter, Judy.
Living in a racially mixed community in the Baldwin Hillls of Los Angeles, Danny was known as 'the whitest white kid'. He spent much of his time in the local theatre, adoring the music of such idols as Bernard Hermann and Franz Waxman. Dropping out of high school he followed his brother to France, where he played his violin on the street and later teamed up with his big bro to perform with Le Gran Magic Circus, an avant-garde musical theatrical group.
After a while of life in France, Danny moved on to a new setting; Africa. He travelled through Ghana, Mali and Upper Volta, learning about many different styles of music and also how to play different instruments. One such musical style he learned of was called Highlife, which was a great influence to him for years to come. However, he happened to catch the malaria virus during his one-year stay, and was often sick for long periods of time. Says Elfman, "pills make it less severe, but it is AWFUL. You feel like you're going to die, but you don't." Long periods of time would go by back home in America without a word from Danny, and then suddeny there'd be a message from him. Needless to say, Elfman returned home to the US, where his brother Rick was forming a new musical group called The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. The group was to provide the music for his first feature-film, The Forbidden Zone. Danny agreed to compose the score for the film, and also did a wonderful job of acting Satan. The movie was a cult hit, as was Danny. The Mystic Knights went on to shorten the name to Oingo Boingo in 1978 went the group split apart, touring the country and releasing albums along the way.
It wasn't until the early 80's that Danny got his first big break. A young first time director named Tim Burton approached him regarding Danny's providing the score to his first film, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. A fan of Oingo Boingo, Tim believed that there was something special in Elfman for composing. And he was right. Elfman's score was a big success, and in later years have been played at Primus concerts, where people often mosh to the theme written so many years before. Said Danny, "I was more than shocked when I heard the "Pee Wee" theme playing before they came out. To see people moshing to that absurd bit of music brought tears to my eyes. Not exactly what I expected when I wrote it."
After Pee-Wee, people began to open up to Elfman. Today he has composed the scores for such movies as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Batman, Mars Attracks, and many, many more. His televison credits includes The Simpsons, Batman, and even a Nike commercial.
Danny Elfman has had a successful career thus far, but he's not done yet. He's hopefully going to be getting into directing pretty soon. He currently has three of his own scripts, two that are planned on being turned into films. These scripts include Little Demons, The World of Jimmy Calicut, and Julian. He continues to compose scores, and will hopefully be collaborating with Tim Burton on a few of new projects in the near future. Elfman also plans on creating an Edward Scissorhands ballet with a choreographer friend.
c/o Kraft Benjamin Agency
345 North Maple Drive Suite 385
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
~~PLEASE NOTE--I am not entirely sure if Mr. Elfman will ever reply to your letter. I tried it once myself--he never did, go figure. Actually, his brother didn't either. But anyways, please don't get your hopes up! He doesn't like fan mail too much, plus he gets a lot of it (ever see the photo of him totally swimming in it?) I would actually go more for Tim Burton. I know a number of folks who have, and the results have been good. Happy writing!!!~~
"Every time I tell myself that I'll never do this again, that I hate this more than life itself. But the wheels are already turning. It's inconceivable that I won't finish."
"Just do what you like and hope something hits."
"...as composer I know I have people who appreciate what I do, so you think about that, not about what your so called "community of colleagues" thinks of you, one way or the other."
--on his fans
QUESTION: Do you keep in touch with your fan sites on the net?
ANSWER: "No. I feel that if I start doing that, I'll have to get involved. It's like my first years as a composer, when I was under attack all the time from the film composing community, because of the misinformation. At a certain point I was spending so much energy to defend myself, that I just stopped. Forget it. Let them say what they want, let them spread lies. And it's the same about the web sites, unless I get involved, there is a lot of misinformation, lots of people saying things. And it's not worth it. Because I'll start defending myself, correcting this and that and there's not enough time in my day to do these minimal things. I find that it's a waste of energy trying to defend oneself, trying to correct the misperceptions, you know what I mean? When I started getting e-mail, I felt it was really time consuming, because some people get really wrapped up in weird little things, and rumours, and even personal things. And I thought: that's what they want. They want your reaction. Ultimately I ended up going - "this is just a huge energy drain, I don't want to fight with this person, let them say whatever they want!" If they want to say that I go out in the world and fuck goats, then I just ignore it or say, "yes, I love it!". If they want to say that I steal all my music from a slave composer that I've got chained up on my basement whom I feed scraps of bread to - good, yes, I do that! In fact I have ten of them down there! If people want to say that they have the missing tape of me singing the entire score to "Batman" that I gave to a composer who actually wrote the score. Why am I trying to defend myself from such a stupid and absurd thing? "Yes, of course, I sing all my scores and give them to a composer and he does all the work and then I show up a month later and take all the credit!" So, when things go to that level, it's so crazy and you have so much of it that it's better just to...just to sit and watch and go, yes! I do this! Something else writes my music! I'm a pederast! I'm into bestiality! Necrophelia! Come on, lay it on!" (Laughs)
--on his fans
"The premise behind Oingo Boingo is to remain in a state of motion, bouncing- boinging along, if you will- to try to present something that is different from the mainstream of what's out there, to try to present something that is fun and entertaining, but also has a point of view to it. It kind of goes to an early concept of trying- like the Three Penny Opera and Brecht and Weill- to make something entertaining, a lot of fun, but deliver a message at the same time and that's a very strong part of what Oingo Boingo is about. We get danceable and crazy, but try to inject the messages that we want to deliver at the same time. We also try to keep a certain amount of unpredictability in the music between one album and the next and between the songs on the album so you don't put the needle on the first cut and know what the third cut is going to sound like and the seventh and the tenth. That's really what Oingo Boingo is about."
--on Oingo Boingo