Personnel: Danny Elfman, Steve Bartek (vocals, guitar); Sam Phipps (vocals, saxophone, tenor saxophone); Leon Schneiderman (vocals, saxophone, baritone saxophone); Richard Gibbs (vocals, trombone, keyboards, synthesizer); Kerry Hatch (vocals, keyboards); Dale Turner (trumpet, trombone); Johnny Hernandez, Johnny "Vatos" Hernandez (drums).
Audio Mixers: Oingo Boingo; Rick Ruggieri.
Recording information: Cherokee studios; Record Plant; United Western Studios; Westlake Audio.
Illustrator: Chris Hopkins.
Photographers: David Willardson; Charlie White.
Unknown Contributor Role: Steve Bartek .
The full-length debut of this eight-piece new-wave-with-horns ensemble--after a 1980 10-inch EP--is one of their best albums. Mingling theatrical vocals, Zappa-esque concepts, ska rhythms and proudly over-the-top quirkiness in an inimitable brew, ONLY A LAD is basically the template that all later Oingo Boingo records would follow.
Less genially humorous than their later albums, the songs on ONLY A LAD have a satirical bite; the title track dismisses the concept of social conditioning so thoroughly that it sounds oddly close to a right-wing talk radio rant, which is not what a listener expects from a Devo-style pop record. The opening "Little Girls," and the straightforwardly poppy "On the Outside," are also gems. Singer/songwriter Danny Elfman dominates the proceedings slightly less than he would on later releases; as a result this is the most integrated-sounding Oingo Boingo album.