Bingo Bango Boingo, It's a Dead Man's Party

Two different Dead Man’s Parties will play locally just before Halloween.

Tickets will go on sale soon for “Johnny Vatos’s Dead Man’s Party featuring former members of Oingo Boingo” October 23 at 4th&B. Six days later the longtime Oingo tribute band known as Dead Man’s Party is set to appear at SoundWave on Ocean Front Walk in Mission Beach. Tickets for both shows will be in the $20 range. Vatos (drums) will be playing with Sam Phipps (sax) and possibly other Oingo alumni to be named later.

Singer Rob Elfaizy, who has a remarkable likeness to Oingo founder Danny Elfman, launched his eight-member Oingo tribute act Dead Man’s Party ten years ago.

Insiders say Elfman has previously “dropped the hammer” on ex-bandmates who have regrouped using the Oingo name. Vatos’s agent Rob Juarez says he doesn’t blame Elfman for complaining because some Vatos shows were promoted as Oingo reunions.

“Certain promoters screw it up,” says Juarez. He says that he now demands that all shows not be billed as Oingo Boingo reunions. “I’ve had to cancel shows before because the promoters did the wrong thing.”

An assistant for Elfman’s manager, Laura Engel, says that Elfman now gives his complete blessing to the current Vatos reunion group, which is in the process of setting up a national tour.

“Danny will never, ever, ever play in Oingo again,” says Juarez.

One insider says Elfman, who disbanded Oingo in 1995 and has gone on to write scores for more than 50 movies, is worrying less about his ex-bandmates using the Oingo brand because “He’s made his millions...what does he care? Besides, I hear some of these guys can use the money.”

Elfman lookalike Elfaizy says he has no problem with Vatos borrowing the band name he’s used for a decade.

“Johnny Vatos was an original member of Oingo. He doesn’t have to ask permission. Besides, it’s good business. Using the name Dead Man’s Party legitimizes our name. We’re a tribute band. I don’t think they are trying to emulate an Oingo show.”

Escondido saxman Bruce Zimmerman (Skanic, Elijiah Emmanuel and the Revelations) has been with Dead Man’s Party since the beginning. He says their fans demand note-for-note precision. “They know this music to a tee, so every horn arrangement has to be spot-on or we hear about it.”

Elfaizy says he never trademarked the name Dead Man’s Party. “We’ve used it for ten years. It’s hard to deny it’s my band’s name.”

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