Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Where URGH! They Now - Steve Bartek from Oingo Boingo Speaks!

So excited to have Steve Bartek - legendary Oingo Boingo, guitarist, film composer, orchestrator  and conductor - as the first official respondent to Your Older Brother's questions about URGH! A Music War. I asked these questions of Steve on his official website SteveBartek.com in the forum area and he replied at 5am one late/early May morning. My questions & Steve's replies below, with minor edits for punctuation:

Your Older Brother: What led to the decision to be in the film, how it was presented to you & the band? Did you have any specific hopes for how the film might expose Oingo Boingo to a wider audience (wider exposure)?

Steve Bartek: AH - URGH was put together by our then record company IRS record and then manager Miles Colpeland - so - we were in it - no choice to be made really - wider exposure for a beginning band

YOB: Did you get to choose what song was used in the film?

SB: the song choices i think were Danny's but i can't be sure - we were on the whiskey stage with with the Surf Punks and the Alley Cats and the Go Go's i think, i remember Darby Crash upstairs in the dressing room hanging out a bit stoned.

YOB: Who did you feel were your contemporaries at that time? Or was Oingo Boingo as out on your own as it seemed?

SB: We never felt like we quite fit into the scene, personality wise and music

YOB: Is there a single moment from a live show that stands out?

SB: My most important moment on live stage is a blur in my memory except how great i felt. I was in a band - Buffington Roads - and we opened for Love at the Kaleidoscope in Holllywood when i was in High School - and i got to play flute with the headliner for an extended jam on one of their tunes.

YOB: Did you have an older sibling who turned you on to music?

SB: Yes i have an older brother who took guitar lessons, so i would sneak into his room and play his guitar when he wasn't around - finally he encouraged my Dad to buy me my own guitar -so yes he was source of encouragement.

YOB: Who was your metaphorical "older brother"? Who inspired you & supported you?

SB: i think we all have different heros at different times in our development - when started on flute i wanted to be Herbie Mann. then on guitar George Harrison, Jeff Beck, Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, and at school it was Stravinsky and Messiaen and Harry Partch.

I was very lucky to have met so many musicians in LA that were also a network of inspiration and source of support for just making making music one's life - and even my parents who kept me from going on the road when i was 15 with the Strawberry Alarm Clock - supported me changing my major from pre-med to music the first year of college.
∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

Thanks again to Steve Bartek for braving the pre-dawn hours to answer my questions. I love his story about sneaking in to play his older brother's guitar - classic! I know that Steve has been a musical influence on me personally - in my view, many of Danny's songs came alive thanks to Steve's deft and frenetic guitar.

The helpful webmaster at Steve's forum also provided the full setlist from the night of the filming:
Forbidden Zone
Controller
Ain't This the Life
Only A Lad
Imposter
You Really Got Me
Teenage Monster
California Girls
Nasty Habits
And now there's been a bit of discussion about what might have been filmed in addition to "Ain't This The Life" and "Imposter" - there's a vid of the "Imposter" performance floating around YouTube - but it's thought that while audio was captured for the above songs, only "Life" and "Imposter" were filmed. (I found multiple YouTube videos of "Forbidden Zone", "I Was A Teenage Monster" and "California Girls" as well. Search & enjoy!)

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