One of my favorite things about continuing to buy physical media is the idea of the “Blind Buy.” You’re flipping through stacks of vinyl or browsing along rows of CDs and something just catches your eye. Sure, you COULD walk the record over to the store’s listening station to check it out, but there’s something really exciting about adding it to your pile and being surprised when you get home, especially when you’re only out a dollar or two. There are a few things that can ensure an album gets brought home with me even if I’ve never heard it before: general weirdness, an awesome cover, or killer liner notes. This week’s Deep Cut features all three.
For someone as prodigious as Danny Elfman, who will close out 2015 after composing the scores for Hollywood blockbusters like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Fifty Shades of Grey, you would think that his solo discography would be ripe for digging. His success with the band Oingo Boingo between 1979 and 1995 is marked with landmarks that any Ska-influenced, eight-piece, Los Angeles-based New Wave band would have longed for: a placement on the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, a blessing from John Hughes after their contribution to his film Weird Science, and a minute-long national Budweiser ad where Danny and the band got to put their stamp on the infamous “This Bud’s For You!” theme.
The thrill of Sirius radio is that the number of stations seems endless, and the combined catalogue of songs even more limitless. I first dove into that bottomless pool on a road trip as a teenager. Each year in high school, I made a trip from Michigan to Cleveland to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with one of my parents, and in this instance my friend Lauren. We were tuned to 60s on 6, which satiated both me and my dad. I was going through a Joplin/Doors/Hendrix psychedelic phase, and my dad knew most of the words to any vocal pop song played, with emphasis on Johnny Mathis, Judy Collins, and their contemporaries.
Shortly after 1978’s breakthrough Parallel Lines and 1980’s Autoamerican, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein took a short break from Blondie to release Debbie’s debut solo record, Koo Koo, with help from Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards from Chic, Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale from Devo, and H.R. Giger fresh off Alien.