Ken Leighton

Ken Leighton is a Reader contributor. See staff page for published articles.

Dead Man's Party can't call themselves an Oingo Boingo tribute?

Danny Elfman's "endorsement" has nothing to do with Johnny Vatos' representative Wendy Pineda demanding that Dead Man's Party stop billing itself as an "Oingo Boingo Tribute." According to the attorney and everyone I spoke with, it is completely legal and honorable for this decade-old tribute band to continue calling itself "Dead Man's Party: A Tribute to Oingo Boingo." The fact that Vatos was in fact a founding member of the original band and is now basically playing in a separate tribute band, somewhat confuses the issue. I guess you could say he is a tribute to the band he used to be in. But because Elfman likes Vatos' tribute band does not take away from Dead Man's Party right to continue billing itself for what it is: an Oingo Boingo tribute band. The reality is -- according to its fans and true believers -- there is not now nor will there ever be another Oingo Boingo, since its major creative force, Danny Elfman, doesn't want an "Oingo Boingo" to ever resurface. As the attorney suggested, it seems on its face a little sketchy that the sponsoring radio station for the November Johnny Vatos show and its venue (Music Box) is billing its show as the "Oingo Boingo Dance Party." But as the attorney also pointed out, ANYBODY can theoretically use "Oingo Boingo" since that name is not legally protected. It seems to me there is plenty of Oingo Boingo appreciation opportunities out there for everybody. Dead Man's Party has done a fine job for years, and according to James Wilson, so does Johnny Vatos' tribute band. The fun started when Pineda made legal-sounding demands to Dead Man's Party and the Belly Up.
— October 22, 2015 9:57 a.m.

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