Prior to his role as a notable film composer, Danny Elfman was the lead vocalist for the prominent new wave outfit Oingo Boingo, who ended their run in 1995. The performer brought back one of the band’s classics during an at-home recording titled “Running on a Treadmill” from the band’s second studio album titled, Nothing to Fear, which was released in 1982.
Elfman’s daughter recorded the performance, while Elfman performed the song on his keyboard and guitar. The composer was originally scheduled to perform at Coachella this year, however the COVID-19 pandemic caused the postponement of the spring event until this fall. The subsequent stay at home orders and quarantine put Elfman in a head space that would help him recall this track.
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When we started our isolation, I found myself out of sorts (like most of us surely did). My energy was very low. I had poured so much of myself into preparing for Coachella, and suddenly… nothing. Like everyone else, I was stunned and a little shell-shocked. I decided to return to an orchestral commission, but I found that my focus was also whacked from everything turning upside down. . Weirdly, as I struggled though those first few weeks, an old tune I had written decades ago began running though my mind. I didn’t know why, but it didn’t go away. Eventually I decided not to resist and laid down tracks, just for the simple pleasure. It’s really almost like a nursery rhyme. Maybe under all that stress that’s why it came back to me, and just the act of recording it was really calming for my brain. . I decided finally to share it with everyone. It’s silly and simple. Playing everything and singing live to my backing tracks. This thing is funky! This is NOT my new single or for a new album that I’m working on. Just a little something that was fun to record and relaxed me, and maybe it will do the same for you? Totally home-made! Daughter @malielfman shot it on her iPhone, and homie Jon Mann Krieger (my Danny and Buddy Show collaborator) edited it. Hope you like it! . #socialdistancing #lockdown #weekfour #isolation #dannyelfmansfriends #yukielfman #runningonatreadmill @noahscotsnyder
“Weirdly, as I struggled though those first few weeks, an old tune I had written decades ago began running though my mind,” Elfman wrote. “Eventually I decided not to resist and laid down tracks, just for the simple pleasure. It’s really almost like a nursery rhyme. Maybe under all that stress that’s why it came back to me, and just the act of recording it was really calming for my brain.”
Oingo Boingo was known for its eclectic style, blending in numerous genres rock, ska, pop and world music, with experimental blends. Some of the group’s best known hits include “Only a Lad”, “Dead Man’s Party” and “Weird Science”.
As a composer Elfman has scored over 16 films directed by Tim Burton, along with multiple films directed by Sam Raimi and Gus Van Sant. He is also responsible for composing some of the most iconic theme songs in history for the shows Desperate Housewives and The Simpsons, respectively.