Danny Elfman on losing his shirt at Coachella Wild, Web-Busting Coachella

Danny Elfman saw his career shine before his eyes during his Saturday night performance at Coachella, in more ways than one. Yes, there was a more than 40-year career-inclusive aspect on the set’s roster, from the evergreen Oingo Boingo new-wave to recording chestnuts from “Edward Scissorhands” and “Batman”; From his recent rock-orchestral comeback album to a wildly popular “Simpsons” theme concert. But apart from that, Elfman also says he experienced just about every mood he’s been in on stage over that hour on stage, from the fear of technicalities that don’t go as planned to the excitement at the final stage of the show.

Elfman’s appearance was inevitably one of what Coachella talked about most even if it wasn’t greeted with pleasure as a fast-forward run – with countless millions watching the live broadcast at home in addition to the thousands on hand. diverse Talk to him on Monday about how he feels off his adrenaline, with the performance scheduled for Week 2 of Coachella repeating in five days.

We discussed the possibility of this last year, when it’s been a lot of time since I first thought about planning to do this Coachella performance in 2019 and then was on the verge of it before the festival canceled in 2020. How do you feel about it now that the first two shows are under your belt? ?

I was relieved that I made it into one piece. I was joking with a friend before the show, “Look, we have 30 minutes to set up a show that’s never been done before with 50 musicians on stage. What could possibly go wrong?” Then I sit there before we move on, thinking, “Damn, man. That was a joke, but it’s not a joke.” There were a hundred things unfortunately. But in the end, the only thing that I Is that true I wasn’t planning on a dust storm, an actual sandstorm, right in my face. Everything else came together really well.

I read a lot of tweets and stuff where people were confused and confused and amazed and like, “What’s going on?” In the end, that’s what I wanted. I wasn’t expecting to get such a reaction, and some crazy headlines — like, Yahoo said, “68-year-old Elfman and 20-year-old Eilish are making festival history.” And I thought that was funny, Billy and I being the Wonder Woman and the elder statesman at Coachella. Things like that were priceless in their strange way.

It was an amazing, intense, crazy feeling. I knew it would be a really risky endeavor. I don’t think anyone has ever tried this, mixing these kinds of elements into this kind of crazy musical mashup. When you try a concept, you don’t know what will happen. But in the end, the lack of a safety net is quite exhilarating. This is what it’s like when you’re out there on the high wire and the network is down and you know the chance of getting stuck is very high. This, of course, is quite exhilarating in itself.

Your set list has been a dream list for anyone who likes everything you do – from the new album [2021’s “Big Mess”] To the topic “Simpsons” to the topic “Spider-Man” to [Oingo Boingo’s seminal hit] “Just a boy.” Did it seem a good idea to cram all these patterns into a one-hour show?

Let me put the question this way. I felt super relaxed yesterday, my day off, and was pretty rigid too. Believe me, I’ve had a lot of mental hesitation and worrying about: Am I putting all this effort into the craziest and most ridiculous idea ever, or is it going to work out on a weird level? And I had to find out. There was no taking it on the road and trying it out. I’d just put myself out there and say, “Look, I know this is crazy, but that’s me, for better or worse, it’s me, this crazy mix of things.” It was all rolling into my head as I walked there. There was no feeling, “Oh yeah, this is going to kill them.” It was like: “Can they hang me for this? Is it a felony or just a misdemeanor if I fail?”

You said this was my “first time on stage as ‘me’ in 27 years.” You’ve performed occasionally since actually retiring from rock ‘n’ roll, but Saturday night you did some things you wouldn’t at orchestral performances that mirror your scoring life or even “Nightmare Before Christmas” shows. Like… take off your shirt.

To anyone who saw me in the late ’80s or ’90s, that’s exactly how they saw me. The only difference is that in the ’90s, I would have been barefoot on stage, and they made me wear a pair of shoes at Coachella because with all the constant, choppy movements, they didn’t know if there were nails in the stage, or splinters. But other than the shoes, I just wanted to go out just like you saw me 30 or 40 years ago, and here I am. And not to be ashamed or ashamed of it. It’s like, “Yeah, I’m an old man. Damn—here I am.”

and that too [taking the shirt off] It was kind of spontaneous. The sixth or seventh song, I just remember saying, “Hell with it. I’ll take it right back to, if someone had seen me in 1990, that’s what they would have seen,” and go for it. It was just part of showing myself there. That was the last layer, I think, of protection, and armor, and I decided to give it up as well. [Laughs.] It was kind of giving in to the last little bit of protection I had between me now and my past and who I was and what I was. And it wasn’t something I had thought of before.

It’s funny because there was a conversation going on online that we didn’t see in online discussions in the ’80s and early ’90s, in part because there was they were There are no online discussions after that. But people were saying things like, “Did we talk about how hot Danny Elfman is?”


And I thought, Well, this is a conversation I didn’t expect to have in 2022, probably for a number of reasons, but here we are. So you get a lot of compliments.

I think all that hard work is paying off. You know, I’ve tried all my life to stay in shape, and I think I’m glad I did now! Because I thought this would probably read like, “Oh my God, I wanted to puke when I saw him take his shirt off. He looked horrible.” You know, I tend to think of myself this way. So hearing what you have to say is a surprise to me.

When we talked last year, you said you didn’t really miss a live performance, that you were never one of those people who lived for it, that you had too many worries about shows to lose yourself in the way some musicians describe. So people might wonder about a rare show track like this if you’re having fun.

I really think the moment I threw my shirt off, that was the point where I just said, “Damn, I’m just having fun tonight. I don’t care, I’m just going to enjoy this.” and that too It was Kind of a turning point in performance for me. It was actually more than just a gesture. He’d also throw in the towel and go, “Okay, there it is. I don’t care. I’ll enjoy this crowd. I’ll enjoy the music. I’ll enjoy the band. Damn the technical difficulties.” That’s all I can say. And I did! I mean, I really enjoyed there. I didn’t know how in the world people were making it out, but I had fun. And I’m uncomfortable and happy that I was able to find this place and I wasn’t so obsessed with things that… You know, there’s this perfect artist side that’s like, if I don’t hear these things (in the mix), this throws me completely unbalanced. And I was even more proud of myself at the end of the evening because I was able to get through that and enjoy it no matter what part was hard for me – the handicap.

What was going on that kicked you out in the first place?

The thing that was totally unexpected was that the wind was picking up at my microphone and roaring on stage, wiping out my mix. But at a certain point, if you’re having a really hard time on stage with what you’re hearing, but you just trust that the people out there aren’t hearing the same problem. And I think now that it’s over, they weren’t, and I’m pretty relieved. So if it happens again next weekend, I’ll be ready. He’s like, “Okay, I can’t hear enough of the band, but I can hear myself, and the energy is good, and I’m going to ride that.” It was a really strange, surreal and interesting experience. When I got out there, it was like, of all the things I expected technically to go wrong, I wasn’t expecting a huge wind to blow on me and into the microphone. I’m explaining something in the worst stuttering words possible because it was like an intense mixture of excitement, adrenaline and a bit of panic about the technical ability to hear what I need to hear, and then finally, “hell with it.” I’m not sorry I did that, at all.

Then there’s the whole side of people around the world who watch the show’s broadcast, and your live audience is a small portion of those who experience it.

And that would be much better on Saturday night, too. Because I just learned today that they were trying to make their own mix from scratch in the sound truck, with 50 players, you know what I mean? And so a lot of the band didn’t get into that music. I just assumed they were getting the same nutrition we were giving home, but they didn’t, so next week they will, and it’ll be even better because you’ll hear guitars… It was a bit shocking to me, but there are a lot of moving parts in this Kind of things. And in the end, the feedback loop, the feedback I got, still, even with the mix being partial and incomplete, I still got such great feedback that I was really shocked and encouraged. So now it’s like, OK, make it better.

This weekend, you may learn more about how people receive it, after reading the comments.

I had absolutely no sense of what was happening in the crowd. On stage, I could only see the intro, and all I wished was that they didn’t hear what I was hearing on stage, which was a gigantic low-end rumble that never stopped. I really had no idea how she communicated. Only from the limited look of people up close, I saw a lot of wide eyes – and that was fun. If you see someone with their mouth open, you’ll say, “Does he feel shocked and likes this, or is he shocked and hates that?” But I knew I was a surprise to people, and it was a big part of me as well Is that true Enjoy it.

People will be wondering if there will be any potential tourist version of this. It would be very difficult to pull off a 50-piece section of the series, but the more outlandish version of the strings I did on last year’s album wouldn’t be enough to handle the movie recording stuff. Do you have plans or has this changed your thinking about anything?

I don’t have any plans other than just shows and then just talk about it and see where it is. It was all about: Let’s just get him out there for Coachella and then we’ll just see. Obviously, I couldn’t make things any more difficult for myself than doing this kind of show. If I was touring (only) with “Big Mess” it would be a lot easier, because I can do it with a much smaller section of strings and vocals. But I think we’ll only see.

You know, after all that, I’m not at all sorry about the crazy idea you called Paul Tolet [president/CEO of Goldenvoice] With in 2019. I’m not sorry. At that point it was just a crazy idea, and Saturday night was a reality — and I’m glad we did, and I stuck with it. It was intense, very fun, and great. And it was a strange kind of lifetime experience all in one hour.

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