‘Can they hang me for this?’: Danny Elfman reacts to furore over ‘weird’ Coachella 2022 set

‘Is it a felony, or is it just a musical misdemeanour, if it fails?’ musician questions

Maanya Sachdeva
Tuesday 19 April 2022 09:03
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Danny Elfman performs The Simpsons theme at Coachella

Danny Elfman has opened up about his genre-fluid Coachella set list, which included a now-viral rendition of his theme for The Simpsons.

Elfman, 68, became the oldest musician to perform at the technicolour-drenched festival on Friday (15 April). He is also booked to play the second Coachella weekend, kicking off on 22 April, in Indio, California.

Concert-goers found out Elfman wasn’t kidding about delivering what The Independent described as a “strange little show” at Coachella, when he began his performance with deranged 2021 single “Insects” and followed that with a section of his orchestral score from Spider-Man (2002).

He then proceeded to play material from his former band, Oingo Boingo.

In an interview published by Variety on Monday (18 April), Elfman reacted to his “crazy” Coachella set list and the social media storm it kicked up, admitting that he had a “lot of mental hesitation” over it.

“I had a lot of mental hesitation and anxiety of: ‘Am I putting all this effort into the craziest, most ridiculous idea ever, or will it work on some weird level?’” Elfman said, adding that he missed having the opportunity to “take it on the road and try it out”.

“I was just putting myself out there and saying, ‘Look, I know this is crazy, but this is me, for better or worse, it’s me, this crazy combination of stuff.’

“All that was rolling around in my head as I was walking out there. There was no sense of, ‘Oh yeah, this is going to knock ‘em dead.’ It was more like, ‘Can they hang me for this? Is it a felony, or is it just a musical misdemeanour, if it fails?’”

In his four-star review of Elfman’s Coachella show forThe Independent, Kevin E G Perry wrote: “Elfman’s booking was undoubtedly a gamble, but it’s one that pays off many times over. He’s an artist with an impressive, varied and well-known back catalogue, but one who’s a long way from typical festival heritage act.

Read the full review here.

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