Walkin’ With A Dead Man Over My Shoulder…

I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go
Walkin’ with a dead man over my shoulder

Waiting for an invitation to arrive
Goin’ to a party where no one’s still alive

I was struck by lighting
Walkin’ down the street
I was hit by something last night in my sleep
It’s a dead man’s party
Who could ask for more
Everybody’s comin’, leave your body at the door
Leave your body and soul at the door . . .
Don’t run away it’s only me

All dressed up with nowhere to go
Walkin’ with a dead man
Waitin’ for an invitation to arrive
With a dead man . . . Dead Man . . .

Got my best suit and my tie
Shiny silver dollar on either eye
I hear the chauffeur comin’ to the door
Says there’s room for maybe just one more . . .

I was struck by lighting
Walkin’ down the street
I was hit by something last night in my sleep
It’s a dead man’s party
Who could ask for more
Everybody’s comin’, leave your body at the door
Leave your body and soul at the door . . .

Don’t run away it’s only me
Don’t be afraid of what you can’t see
Don’t run away it’s only me . . .

 Today is Halloween… All Hallows Eve… Dias de la Muertos… it means different things to different people.  To some smalls, it is all about the costumes and candy-gathering.  To some it is about the decorating and parties.  To others, it is a somber day of remembrance.  To others, it is a devil-worshiping ritual night that “good Christians” should not participate in (cuz you know, the devil gets in you through the candy).  For me, Halloween will always be all Oingo Boingo and Danny Elfman.  The album “Dead Man’s Party” is one of my favorite albums of all time, and those songs still to this day remind me of this Day.

When I lived in California in the 19080’s and 90’s, I made every attempt to attend every Oingo Boingo show that came around.  I mostly succeeded.  I am pretty sure I saw them perform in excess of twenty different times.  Because they were an LA band, Boingo put on Halloween shows, sometimes three in a given weekend near the end of October.  These shows were incredible.  It is not often you get to see a highly talented, frenetic, and original show like that.  Danny Elfman is a master showman as well as musical genius.  John Avila, Steve Bartek, Johnny Vatos… you just don’t see great acts like that anymore.

From the opening strains of “Dead Man’s Party”, we went wild.  “Just Another Day”, “Sweat”, “No One Lives Forever”… these were our anthems.  Everyone there knew all the words.  People came from every walk of life.  Young and old, every race and creed, every social group.  Bouncing, pulsating, wild-eyed crowds… and with only one or two exceptions, there was never anything negative that happened.  Ron, Michael, Sy, Kevin… we hit every show we possibly could.  Hollywood Palladium, Irvine Meadows, the Greek Theater… sometimes two and three nights in a row.

Boingo went their separate ways in 1995, leaving an empty spot in the music scene that has yet to be filled.  But, Danny Elfman planted a new seed in 1993 that continued the legacy of his Halloween-inspiring music.  “The Nightmare Before Christmas” opened a new chapter into the holiday for many of us die-hard Boingo/Elfman fans.  It was the bridge between the band and Elfman’s move into composing film scores.  Beetlejuice, Batman, and Tales from the Crypt gave us an idea… but Jack Skellington embodied Halloween and became a character born right out of a Dead Man’s Party.  He was clever, he was commanding, but he had a longing… something we all could relate to.  The songs are wonderful and vintage Elfman… from “This is Halloween” to “Jack’s Lament” to “What’s This”, the feel of the holiday is taken to a whole new level.

So, on this Day of the Dead, I wish you all a most wonderful Halloween.

Cheers…

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~ by Sean Nordquist on October 31, 2011.

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