Oingo Boingo's legion of fans in the Southland will have to make new plans for Halloween this year: For the first time in seven years, the catchy, peppy Los Angeles band won't be throwing a "Dead Man's Party" at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre.
Bandleader Danny Elfman said Thursday that he decided before last October's three-night stand in Irvine that Boingo wouldn't be doing a repeat Halloween performance this year. Oingo Boingo had played at Irvine Meadows each Halloween season since 1986; the band sold about 40,000 tickets during its three-night Halloween run in 1991.
"It's become too much of a tradition, and traditions are meant to be broken," Elfman said in a telephone interview. "It was our design not to be that predictable. To perform on Halloween means doing the audience version of what we're supposed to do."
The Oingo Boingo singer said he had been reluctant to book last year's Halloween engagement, which the band performed without a new album from which to draw. (Irvine Meadows has booked hard-rock bands Danzig and White Zombie to play on Oct. 31.)
"It would have been too much of a hardship (to the rest of the band members) not to do it last year" because of the lucrative paydays they would have lost, said Elfman, who has developed a successful second career composing scores for films including the hits "Beetlejuice" and "Batman."
"I said, 'Even if we're starving, we're not playing a Halloween show next year.' They said," here lowering his voice in a tone of resignation, " 'OK.' "
Elfman said he wants to concentrate on new material in Oingo Boingo's next round of shows.
The band recently signed a contract with Giant Records and is about to begin rehearsals for another album that's expected to be released next spring or summer. Elfman said the new material wouldn't have been ready to perform by Halloween. Instead, Oingo Boingo plans a series of smaller-venue shows in Los Angeles during January, with dates to be announced.
"If we went up there (on Halloween) and didn't do all the old stuff, people would be just miserable," Elfman said. "I get lots of mail (saying) 'See you on Halloween, can't wait to hear "Only a Lad." ' Each one cemented my determination not to do it.
"I don't like to be a trained monkey on stage. It was starting to feel like a Fourth of July Beach Boys' show, and the concept of that makes me really nauseous."