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‘Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening tells the story of The Residents, 1979
03:01 pm


The Residents
Matt Groening

The Residents, 1972
The Residents’ first fan club, W.E.I.R.D. (We Endorse Immediate Residents Deification), was founded in 1978, and one of its charter members was Life in Hell and Simpsons creator Matt Groening. As a member of the Residents’ second fan club, UWEB, I am bound by the most solemn oaths never to discuss any of the secret handshakes, passwords, ciphers, rituals, buttons, bumper stickers or T-shirts of the inner sanctum, but I can point seekers to this exoteric document: Groening’s “The True Story of the Residents.” This phantasmagoric bio of the group, first published in 1979’s The Official W.E.I.R.D. Book of the Residents and reprinted in 1993’s Uncle Willie’s Highly Opinionated Guide to the Residents, gives a wild yet relatively concise account of the band’s founding myth.

The Official W.E.I.R.D. Book of the Residents (cover by Gary Panter)
You’ll notice that most of the fun facts in this true story are lies; for instance, I tend to doubt that “Six Things to a Cycle” originated as a “lengthy ballet” that “was canceled when The Residents were rumored to be selling experimental monkey depressants to grade school children.” But Groening weaves the Residents, the Mysterious N. Senada, Philip “Snakefinger” Lithman, the Cryptic Corporation, and “a squealing Boston terrier on acid flung into a barrel of live albino sand eels” into a tale that will make tears stream from your eyes and snot run from your nose. Look how he gets the band from Louisiana to its early base of operations in San Mateo:

After high school, the gang (which numbered five) split up and went their various ways—college, grunt jobs, draft evasion. They kept in touch with each other’s progress, however, and soon found themselves hopping like rabid Rhesus monkeys to rhythm and blues—particularly James Brown and Bo Diddley. James Brown’s Live At The Apollo is an album which makes them quiver to this day. But they soon found that they needed each other, and re-grouped to plot strategy. They didn’t know what the hell they were doing, but they knew James Brown made their butts twitch, and some how it would all work out. In 1966 or so, after a couple of them had made it almost all the way through college, they decided to escape the slimy Southern scourge of George Wallace. So they loaded up their truck and headed straight for San Francisco, where they had heard all the go-go mod action was goin’ down. As fate would have it, their truck broke down in a quiet suburban town called San Mateo, some 25 miles south of the big city. Behind them they left a few loyal, more balanced acquaintances who would later follow to start The Cryptic Corporation. In California they saw the minds around them already beginning to break down. Youngsters everywhere were growing their hair out and joining the “bushhead” movement. Beach boys frolicked with trained wild seals on the sand, and local cretins began electrocuting themselves with guitars on-stage while thousands chanted, “You endorse our mindless lives,” in unified spontaneity. Charles Manson pierced his nipple with a Love button while on acid, and the Psychedelic Revolution was born. The Residents began licking their lips.


To read “The True Story of the Residents” in full, go to this page in the “Historical section” of and click “Matt Groening’s TRUE STORY.” Below, Groening talks about connecting with W.E.I.R.D. and writing his “fanciful” bio in a clip from the upcoming documentary about the Residents, Theory of Obscurity.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Before ‘The Simpsons,’ Matt Groening drew cartoons for Apple computers
11:10 am


Matt Groening

You might remember my post from a while back on Hunter S. Thompson’s truly weird Apple computer commercial, but I think I’ve found something to top it. Apple’s branding strategy has usually been to flatter those who fancy themselves “outsiders” or “rebels”—basically everyone in the entire world. But with this 1989 attempt to woo Generation Xers, the company took a more subtle approach, with a pamphlet illustrated by Matt Groening.

At the time, Groening had plenty of underground cred with his uber-angsty comic strip, “Life in Hell.” As the name suggests, the theme of his work was much more along the lines of “surviving post-modern desperation” than “hot blonde chucking a sledgehammer at Big Brother.” But Gen Xers had a reputation (whether earned or not) for capitulating to the daily grind, and Groening’s nervous, insecure art probably felt like a perfect fit for engaging with disaffected young people preparing themselves for the job market.

The brochure was passed out in college bookstores and in between the pages selling computers as the newest college necessity, Groening’s cartoons provided a few funny, self-effacing prototypes of disoriented students. I’m sure they kept prospective customers’ attention. Groening also did a couple of posters for Apple, including one titled “Bongo’s Dream Dorm,” a fantasy of college life for his “Life in Hell” lead character. Shortly after, The Simpsons took off, and Groening’s been free to mock Apple’s “culture of innovation” ever since.











Via Vintage Zen

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Meet the real-life ‘Simpsons’ kids in a 1969 film made by Matt Groening’s father, Homer
11:46 am

Pop Culture

The Simpsons
Matt Groening


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Homer Simpson’s headstone?

A suitable gravestone for Homer Simpson…or, even Matt Groening, at some future date?
Previously on Dangerous MInds

‘Adamson’: The original Homer Simpson from 1949?

Via Tam O’Shanter and b3ta


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Adamson’: The original Homer Simpson from 1949?

Meet Adamson - a dead ringer for Homer Simpson, as published in Icelandic paper Fálkinn in July 1949.

Adamson was created by Swedish cartoonist Oscar Jacobsson, whose work was published successfully around the world. In America Adamson was known as Silent Sam, and had a considerable following. Was Adamson a possible influence on the look of Matt Groening’s Homer Simpson?
More pictures of Homer, d’oh, Adamson, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
1967 Frank Zappa & Linda Ronstadt radio ad that influenced ‘The Simpsons’ theme

When Matt Groening hired Danny Elfman to write the theme for The Simpsons, he gave him a mixed tape of songs that he wanted the music to sound like: The theme from The Jetsons, some of Esquivel’s “space age bachelor-pad music,” a teach-your-parrot-to-talk record, selections from Nino Rota’s Juliet of the Spirits soundtrack and this unused Frank Zappa-produced radio commercial for Remington electric shavers that features the vocal stylings of none other than a young Linda Ronstadt.

The future queen of country rock is nearly unrecognizable here, speeded-up, multi-tracked and sounding like she’s just taken a hit off a helium balloon. At the end, Zappa tells listeners that the Remington electric razor “cleans you, thrills you… may even keep you from getting busted.”

According to legend, after giving the tape several listens Elfman told Groening, “I know exactly what you’re looking for!”


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment