News from the REAL Springfield…and the Day The Music Died

Let’s start with a Happy Labor Day to all of you in the United States. I only hope that you aren’t having to “Labor” today…and are enjoying the 3-Day Weekend, without Grinding for TSTO “bling” much!  Most of you should be waaaaay ahead of the calendar by now. So, tip back…enjoy your favorite beverage, and read a couple of stories from the REAL Springfield (well…one of them started here).

There is countless debate over where the Real Springfield is. But during a visit to Springfield, Oregon, to help celebrate the unveiling of a huge Simpson’s mural, the “Real Lisa Simpson” (at least the voice of the real Lisa Simpson) let it slip that indeed, Springfield, Oregon was the true Springfield. We never had a doubt…

But, apparently, more than just this revelation was hatched when Yeardly Smith visited here. Love…and a True Crime show were born…
That’s right… when Yeardly was here, not only did a new romance with one of the local detectives who was tasked to escort her on her visit…but the seeds a new “True Crime” podcast were planted.

No…the romance wasn’t with me…although I did get to meet her and interview her for TSTO fans. She is pretty fun…although I’m sure my chances for romance were greatly curtailed by the fact that I wasn’t yet sporting my “dashing goatee,” was about 35 lbs heavier, and was very, very married. Truth is…if I was actually competing with a dashing detective type, I didn’t have a chance…oh…and my wife, Deb was there.

But, the crowd that welcomed her, and greeted the unveiling of the  huge mural that graces one of the main streets of the “REAL SPRINGFIELD” was pretty darn cool. They served free, over-sized donuts!

You can read all about it IN THIS STORY in the Register Guard.

So..Yeardly comes to Springfield. where she spills the beans, and then ends up getting “twitterpated” with the police detective that is escorting her…whose real life stories of life on the force (incredibly with his twin brother who is also on the force) inspired her, along with a longtime friend, to start a new True Crime podcast.

I’ve listened to the first three episode (you can find them on iTunes and other streaming services) of “Small Town Dicks.”  They are compelling…interesting and true! (although I have to admit that the title is a bit misleading…as I have no idea what equipment her policeman friend has…HEY!…keep it clean…I’m talking about crime gear!).

It’s an interesting “listen”…the stories are riveting…and it all started in Springfield!


It is an absolute CRIME that we got word this past week that Alf Clausen was unceremoniously terminated from his job as the primary composer, and conductor of the Simpsons.  It sucks!!! 

I have to think that this is just one more way that the producers and the network can squeeze more dollars out of their Simpson’s Cash Cow…and frankly, as a musician, I am appalled.

As reported in the “Variety Magazine,” Clausen, whose Emmy record includes two wins (1997 and ’98) and another 21 nominations for “The Simpsons” dating back to 1992, has scored more than 560 episodes of the series, starting early in the 1990-91 season. He is believed to be the most-nominated composer in Emmy history, with a total of 30 nominations overall.

He has also won five Annie Awards, all for his “Simpsons” music. His long tenure with the series has made him one of the most respected creators of animation music in TV history.

Clausen’s last complete score for the series was for the season finale of Season 28, which aired in May. The season premiere is slated for Oct. 1, but it is not yet clear who will be scoring that episode.

Speculation about Clausen’s dismissal involves cost-cutting measures, which have been ongoing at “The Simpsons” in recent years, despite its massive profits for Fox and executive producer James L. Brooks’ Gracie Films.

Clausen uses a 35-piece orchestra every week — something that “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening insisted upon from the start of the show. Including costs of musicians, recording studios, and orchestration, expenses routinely run into the millions of dollars per year. Danny Elfman’s “Simpsons” theme is expected to be retained.”

This is a HORRIBLE decision by the powers that be. Clausen, and his amazing music is as much a part of the fabric of the show, as the animation and story writers.  In fact, I would go so far as to say, that much of his original music, and parodies, are BETTER than a lot of the show’s writing in the past couple of decades.

It is one of those things that actually warrants an outcry of support…and nasty letters and tweets to the “head honchos.”

Al Jean, and James Brooks have twitter accounts… LIGHT THEM UP!!

OK. That’s about all on that information…I’m livid…and this is one of those things that I won’t “just get over.” It sucks. Period.

On a positive note…College Football started this week, and my Oregon Ducks actually had a good start to the “Willie Taggart era.”  It was against a cupcake team…but we put up 77 points…which is a good way to win back some confidence. Alabama proved they are going to earn their #1 rating again, and USC may in fact be over-rated (they looked pretty lousy against a team they should have crushed.

That’s it from the “Real Springfield.”  Have a great “rest of the day,” and “keep on tappin’!!”

AND…LET US KNOW WHICH OF CLAUSEN’S SONGS ON THE SIMPSONS MADE YOU LAUGH THE MOST!  There are LOADS of them…think about all of the good music that makes you smile (even more than Weird Al) and you will see why he will be missed!

29 responses to “News from the REAL Springfield…and the Day The Music Died

  1. Schlubadub: YOU may not hear the difference but yes, there are (many) people who hear the difference.

    More importantly, you FEEL the difference. The excuse for downgrading any and every aspect of film and TV is always “the audience can’t tell the difference”, but the audience may not be able to analyze the various elements, but they know if it’s good or not.

    There days, many films are shot on video because “the audience can’t tell the difference”, they’re written by bad writers because “the audience can’t tell the difference”, bad actors are hired because “the audience can’t tell the difference”, the music is made of drum loops and a few samples because “the audience can’t tell the difference”…

    But there IS a difference. Audiences have fled from current scripted TV because they can tell that shot-on-video shakycam shows with bad actors and annoying drum loops in the background are uninteresting.

    So no, a 35-piece orchestra is NOT “overkill”. It’s one of the cheapest ways to bring quality to a project.

    And as far as pending more money on writing, The Simpsons has 36 producers, most of them writers… Good writing doesn’t cost any more than bad writing.

    I rest my case.

  2. MydadlookslikeFlanders

    I lived in Eugene for a few years and am a lifelong Oregonian. I always believed Springfield, Oregon was the “real” Springfield after studying all the evidence. So cool to hear it confirmed! I LOVE the mural, it is really beautiful. I am going to make a trek to Springfield asap to see it and crack open a beer and take it all in. I’m bummed I missed the unveiling. I would have loved to meet the super talented Yeardly Smith in person and meet more Simpsons fans.

  3. The real Springfield…? I don’t think there is one I’ve tried figuring it out from the shows perspective. Every time they mention it or are around a map it seems like they point towards Ohio or Missouri section, like in the episode where Apu is getting his citizenship and homer is teaching him all about America Apu asks where they are and homer points to arounf that area as the camera fades out. Eh but who knows.

    • There is no real Springfield. It was chosen because there are so many Springfield in the country. It’s just a generic name for any random generic American suburbia.

    • WE covered this extensively on my “other blog.” But, trust me…in Matt’s mind, heart, and soul….the one true Springfield is in Oregon…where loads and loads and loads of the other names and landmarks for the show reside.

      He works hard to make it seem “universal.” But, just as Yeardly revealed, when you in the back rooms of the creative side, Groening is clear. He even admitted it in a couple of articles…only to “recant” to keep the debate alive.

      It. Is. Springfield. Oregon.

  4. Wow…was i misinformed….i thought this whole time that Danny Elfman did all the music? What exactly was/is his role then?

  5. “Just Don’t Look” and who could forget “You Don’t Win Friends with Salad”!

  6. Canyonero, see my vest and his rendition of the cape fear theme. They probably will start to re use stuff instead of making more

  7. That’s so amazing to hear that you met Yeardley Smith and I felt exactly the same way to the Alf situation as you have expressed – it was unnecessary and is a major lost to the Simpsons team! 😔

  8. If you didn’t see the comeback UCLA made against Texas A&M you really missed something…

  9. A bit off topic… You all know we’re getting a season 18 on DVD, right??

  10. A 35-piece orchestra is overkill for a TV show anyway. I can understand and appreciate the need for live performances, but I doubt anyone would notice if the same instruments were made in a studio with computers and synthesizers. The overall quality of the show has gone downhill over the years, so hopefully the spare millions can go towards better writing instead of background music that most people wouldn’t even notice.

    • Yep. The world just keeps cheaping out… generations who hear nothing but .mp3 quality or steaming through crappy speakers. To lots of people who can no longer hear the difference, it won’t matter.

      It’s not just the live musicians… it is also his amazing writing and originality. But again…dumbing down the culture one brick at a time just makes us all ignorant of what we lose.

      • I would agree with you for general music – I have a great system at home for music listening, and often go to live performances of concerts, opera etc.

        But we’re talking about background music for a cartoon here. I really doubt anyone could tell the difference between an 35-piece orchestra and the same thing done in a studio when the end result is coming out of TV speakers, or hopefully a nice 5.1 receiver system.

        At the end of the day, the music really takes 4th place after the writing, animations, and voice acting. Can anyone really say they watch The Simpsons just for the music?

        I agree that losing his writing & originality is a blow… but there are just as many talented musicians who work in the digital world, at much higher fidelity than mp3 quality. I know a lot of live musicians like to pooh-pooh all digital music, even when the music produced can be more akin to Mozart than Deadmau5. A good musician, especially at the composer level, will be able to work with whatever tools they have at their disposal – regardless if it’s a human plucking the strings or a synthesizer producing the same sounds.

        • Well…the fact is, you make some good points. I guess I just mourn the days when soundtrack composers actually did soundtracks…with studio musicians.

          What you write is no surprise…as I was one of the first to start using sampled sounds and synths to create the sound of a full orchestra…and was involved with some of the first MIDI to SMTPE recording practices when we were breaking ground with the Claymation stuff (in 1986!!!). So…guilty as charged. Almost all of the backtracks were electronic…moved to the studio to add live musicians and singers…then bounced back to digital (which was brand new…eep!).

          Perhaps I am really just jealous…in that I always wanted to have the chance to hear a full orchestra playing some of my cues. There are only really a handful of these guys left…so, seeing another one bounced just doesn’t feel good.

          Alissa just had me write some bumper music for the TSTO Live webcasts. I was compelled to do a “Simpsons Sound alike” using the flavor of Elfman’s primary Simpsons Theme…but inverting notes to avoid copyright issues. Inspired by…but not the same. And…I didn’t use a single live instrument…

          So…point made…I guess! One guy in a studio surrounded by blinking boxes…or a studio fill of blinking musicians at $100+ per hour each…plus studio time. Yeah….I get it.

      • I totally agree with you Patric!

    • Lol – I disagree with pretty much everything you just said! But it’s always interesting to see other people’s perspectives. 🙂

  11. I loved “Rock me, Dr. Zaius” from The Planet of the Apes musical. Brilliant!!

  12. You didn’t mention my beavers got a win…barely and might be the only one they get this season.

  13. Too many songs to name..let’s start with Canyonero, ” We do” from the stone cutter episode… we put the spring in Springfield, booze hound named barney….and who needs the quickie mart I do!!!!!

  14. I’m one of those that believe The Simpsons are as good as ever. My only complaint is the increase of montages set to popular music. I’m afraid we’ll now see more of that.
    In afraid this may be what kills the show. Go back and watch yr favorite sentimental moments in the show and I bet if you listen to the music you’ll see why these animated moments can be just as heartfelt as any live action movie. I’m willing to give the new guy a shot but I’m afraid this may be the biggest blunder in the history of the show.

  15. I’m also appalled by Clausen’s departure. Money seems to be the driving force of our society these days. I think we have lost the meaning of loyalty.
    I agree with sandrashill, we don’t know the whole story. I stay out of social media so won’t be tweeting or anything….still very sad this happened.

  16. Not cool man, very low blow. To quote Maggie, “Sucks, sucks, sucks……..” As for Labor Day, wife has been gone for a week, 6 days of 7 hour rehearsals, mountain of laundry, been hot as hell, too cheap to hire a housekeeper, this damn event will never end and I think the cat just threw up. Cheers!

  17. That’s very disappointing news! Alf (Clausen, not the alien who liked to eat cats) was a great asset to the show.

    However, as you wrote, the decision to terminate him for financial reasons it’s only speculation…we don’t know what the “real” story is, so it’s hard for me to know whether I should go over and “light up” Jeans’ and Brooks’ Twitter accounts about it. But I will keep my eyes open for more info about this, for sure!

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