You Say It's Your Birthday: Oingo Boingo's Steve Bartek

Songwriting genius Mark Eitzel also celebrates his birthday today.

Today is the birthday of Oingo Boingo guitarist Steve

Bartek, who was born in 1952 in Garfield Heights, Ohio. Despite the fact that

the name "Oingo Boingo" is fun to say, their wacky new-wave songs were never

particularly fun to listen to, and the group was never very successful outside

of California. They formed in Dayton, Ohio out of the bizarre theater and

comedy troupe Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo, and debuted in 1980 with a

self-titled EP, followed by the full-length Only a Lad in 1981. Although

the group-- comprised of Bartek, vocalist and wizard Danny Elfman, bassist

Kerry Katch, keyboardist Rich Gibbs, drummer Johnny "Vatos" Hernandez, and Sam

Phipps, Leon Schniederman, Dale Turner and Avila on horns -- recorded several

albums together, it was their occasional soundtrack appearance which earned

them nationwide recognition.

They contributed "Weird Science" to the movie

of the same name, a single which topped out at #45, as well as songs for

Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Beverly Hills Cop. Elfman became

distracted by solo projects --the theme music for Pee-Wee's Big

Adventure and the scores for Tim Burton films like Batman, The

Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands. The group's last

album, Boingo, was released in 1994.

Other birthdays: Marty Balin

(Jefferson Airplane/Starship), Steven Stills (Crosby, Stills & Nash), Steve

Marriott (Small Faces), Phil Collins, Marv Ross (Quarterflash), Jody Watley and

Mark Eitzel (American Music Club). -- Beth Winegarner