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.
The helpful webmaster at Steve’s forum also provided the full setlist from the night of the filming:
Ain’t This the Life
Only A Lad
You Really Got Me
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!)
URGH! DVD at WBShop.com
The Alley Cats
The Go Go’s
Strawberry Alarm Clock
Ain’t This the Life (10″ EP) – Ain’t This the Life – Single
Controller – Only a Lad (Reissue)
Only a Lad – Only a Lad (Reissue)
Imposter – Only a Lad (Reissue)
You Really Got Me – Only a Lad (Reissue)
Nasty Habits – Only a Lad (Reissue)