If you’ve heard of Danny Elfman, you probably know his amazing music. He’s a superstar in the world of composing. But there’s so much more to this talented guy. Let’s explore some untold truths about Danny Elfman.
1. Hanging with the Cool Kids
Danny Elfman was a cool kid himself, hanging out with some very talented friends when he was young. He dated Kim Gordon, who later became famous as the bass player of Sonic Youth. Elfman also had musically-inclined buddies like composer Michael Byron and Grammy-nominated percussionist William Winant. He was in great company.
2. Artistic Awakening in a Circus
When Elfman was 18, he embarked on a life-changing adventure in Europe and Africa. He played the violin and joined a French traveling circus band led by his brother. This journey reshaped his life, and he described it as a reprogramming of his DNA. Elfman’s first time performing and composing for the circus marked the beginning of the legendary musician we know today.
3. Staying Fit
In 2022, at the age of 68, Danny Elfman impressed everyone with his fitness, performing shirtless at Coachella. He’s always been a fitness enthusiast, following a strict routine that includes cardio, core training, and weightlifting. He aims to stay healthy, combat family health issues, and achieve the physique of a newly retired boxer.
4. Using Hate as Creative Energy
Elfman thrives on negative energy. When he transitioned from rock to composing, his colleagues didn’t like him, and he loved it. He used their dislike as a source of strength, especially when working with Tim Burton. He channeled their negativity into his work, pushing himself to prove his critics wrong.
5. Battling Stage Fright
Despite his experience as the frontman of Oingo Boingo, Elfman struggled with stage fright throughout his music career. He loves performing but doesn’t consider himself a confident performer. In fact, returning to live shows in the 2010s made his stage fright even worse.
6. The Tim Burton Connection
Tim Burton played a significant role in Elfman’s career as a movie composer. Burton reached out to Elfman, surprising him by offering him the chance to score “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” in 1985. This collaboration marked the beginning of a successful partnership. Elfman’s unique approach to music perfectly complemented Burton’s unconventional films.
7. Falling Out with Sam Raimi
While Elfman had a fruitful collaboration with Tim Burton, he also worked with director Sam Raimi on films like “Darkman” and “Spider-Man.” However, their collaboration hit a rough patch during the making of “Spider-Man 2,” leading Elfman to opt-out of “Spider-Man 3.” Fortunately, they later reconciled and worked together again.
8. A Role in a Cult Film
Despite his primarily musical career, Elfman made an onscreen appearance in the 1980 cult film “Forbidden Zone.” In the film, he played a grinning, manic devil. This quirky movie was the brainchild of Elfman’s brother, Richard, and marked a pivotal moment in their artistic journey.
9. Family Life
Elfman leads a relatively low-profile family life despite his prominent career. He enjoys family dinners and water volleyball matches on Sundays. He is married to retired actor Bridget Fonda, and the couple has a son. Before his current family, Elfman was married to Geri Eisenmenger, with whom he has two daughters.
10. Coachella 2022 Adventure
Elfman made a triumphant return to the stage at Coachella in 2022. However, the performance wasn’t without its challenges, from technical difficulties to microphone issues. Despite the potential problems, Elfman embraced the moment and delivered an unforgettable show.
11. Health Struggles
Elfman, despite his fitness routine, has faced several health challenges. Long hours of work led to musculoskeletal issues, including back problems and torn rotator cuffs. Additionally, his hearing was damaged during his years with Oingo Boingo, contributing to his decision to step away from live performances.
12. Firing a Famous Composer
During the production of “Beetlejuice,” Elfman clashed with the renowned conductor and composer Lionel Newman. Elfman’s decision to fire Newman came after the older composer disrespected him within earshot of musicians. Despite this clash, Elfman’s relationship with the Newman family has seen more amicable moments.
Danny Elfman’s life is a tale of talent, determination, and a bit of drama. From his early days hanging out with rock stars to his successful collaboration with Tim Burton, his journey is nothing short of fascinating. And despite his accomplishments, he remains a down-to-earth and determined artist.