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