Basic Background Info
In the 1970s, Johnny 'Vatos' Hernandez was the drummer and original member of The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, along with Steve Bartek, Danny Elfman, Kerry Hatch, Sam Phipps, Leon Schnederman, and Dale Turner.
Originally, Richard Elfman created The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo as a live cabaret performance art band. Slowly, his interests turned to film and he passed band leadership down to his younger brother, Daniel Elfman. Richard Elfman went on to film the movie Forbidden Zone, which featured his old band. Following the film's completion, the band members cultivated a following in the Los Angeles area by playing their new wave punk music at local clubs. Their crowd pleasing performances became renowned for incorporating elements of theater and orchestra.
Before the band began recording studio albums, it shortened its name to just Oingo Boingo. Then in 1980, both the Forbidden Zone soundtrack and their debut EP (10 Inch EP) were released. They signed a record contract almost immediately and recorded their first full-length album, Only a Lad, in 1981. Oingo Boingo went on to release two more albums over the next two yearsóNothing to Fear and Good For Your Soul.
In 1985, Oingo Boingo recorded their biggest hit, Dead Manís Party. Dead Manís Party eventually went gold and the fame brought them the opportunity to perform in films like Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield and John Hughesís Weird Science. Eventually, Oingo Boingo established a working relationship with director Tim Burton and regularly contributed music to his films, including Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Big Top Pee-wee, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Mars Attacks!, Sleepy Hollow, and the remake of Planet of the Apes.
After Dan Elfman focused his energy on composing for films, Oingo Boingo (then simply calling themselves Boingo) performed a farewell to their loyal Los Angeles audiences at the Universal Amphitheatre before permanently dismantling in 1995.
Oingo Boingo's stylistic open-mindedness equipped Johnny with tools to perform in a variety of genres later in his career. Since working with Oingo Boingo, Johnny has performed with CID, the Zydeco Party Band, The Jazz Giants, Food for Feet, Dough & The Mystics, and Tito & The Tarantulas. He has also contributed percussion tracks, as well as his own voice, to several television commercials.
Although Oingo Boingo remains officially buried, in 2005 Johnny Hernandez created Johnny Vatos & Friends with Steve Barter, John Avila, and Sam Phipps. They perform Oingo Boingo's best works and bring Oingo Boingo's charisma and pluck to every performance.
Instruments of Choice
Pics & Clips