Sam Phipps

Sam Phipps
Also known as Sluggo Phipps
Born 1953 (age 6263)
California, United States
Genres New wave, rock, alternative rock, ska, avant-garde jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Saxophone, clarinet, percussion
Years active 1973–present
Associated acts Oingo Boingo, Danny Elfman, Doug & the Mystics, Steve Bartek

Sam "Sluggo" Phipps (born in 1953) is an American saxophone player, best known for being a member of the new wave band Oingo Boingo.



Prior to the formation of Oingo Boingo, Phipps recorded and performed with singer Annette Peacock.[1] In 1973 Phipps was contacted by Richard Elfman and asked to return to the United States to play with the then theater group The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.[2] He played tenor and soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute, percussion, and provided occasional backing vocals for Oingo Boingo from 1973 until the band's breakup in 1995. Oingo Boingo's odd mixture of pop, rock, ska, and varying world musical styles often featured the band's brass and woodwind instruments, giving Phipps the opportunity to perform solos that are reminiscent of the band's more theatrical and traditional origins.[3] During the early years of Oingo Boingo, Phipps recorded an album of original avant-garde jazz compositions entitled Animal Sounds with pianist John Larkin.[1]

Following the breakup of Oingo Boingo, Phipps, along with Oingo Boingo members John Avila, Steve Bartek, Johnny "Vatos" Hernandez, and Doug Lacy formed the rock group Doug & the Mystics, who released their first and currently only album in 1995.[4]

Although former Oingo Boingo frontman Danny Elfman has stated that there will not be a full reunion, several other members, including Phipps, continue to perform with the band Oingo Boingo Dance Party, led by drummer Johnny Vatos, playing songs from their Oingo Boingo career with vocalist Brendan McCreary.[5]

Film and Television

Phipps appeared as a member of Satan's band, alongside The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, in the 1980 film Forbidden Zone during the group's transformation period between being a theater group and becoming a rock band.[6] With Oingo Boingo, he appeared in the Rodney Dangerfield film Back to School, the punk documentary Urgh! A Music War, and Longshot, as well as the music videos included in The Best of Oingo Boingo: Skeletons in the Closet and Farewell: Live from the Universal Amphitheater, Halloween 1995. He also had a cameo alongside bandmate Steve Bartek in the 1998 comedy film Meet the Deedles, for which Bartek composed original music.[7]


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