NEM#159: Steve Bartek (Oingo Boingo) Is a Writer, Not Just an Arranger

Steve is best known as guitarist/arranger for Oingo Boingo through their eight albums from 1981-1995 and for following its leader Danny Elfman into a life creating movie soundtracks, often for filmmaker Tim Burton. However, his activity as composer goes all the way back to the late ’60s and continues today.

We discuss “Tango” by jackiO from their self-titled album (2019), “The Wake” and “Checking Out/Streets of Managu” from his soundtracks to Guilty as Charged (1991) and The Art of Travel (2008), and “Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow” by Strawberry Alarm Clock from Incense and Peppermints (1967), written with George Bunnell. We conclude by listening to “Nothing to Feel” by Fejj from Alive (1979) Intro: the title track to Dead Man’s Party by Oingo Boingo (1985), written by Elfman, arr. Bartek.

Watch Oingo Boingo live in 1983. Here are Danny and Steve reunited to play “Dead Man’s Party.” Hear jackiO’s 10+ minute jazz version of the song. Watch jackiO live, including some Bartek flute. Here’s the Oingo Boingo Former Members live band. Hear the 2012 Strawberry Alarm Clock album that Steve produced in full. The version of the Fejj track we discussed was filmed.

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