There is a fine line a band has to walk when writing songs based on TV shows or movies. Do you full on quote from the source material or do you try to compose your own lyrics? Do you try to make your band funny or keep it serious? Add to that something as serious as heavy metal and it seems like an impossible task. Enter Australian doom metal/rock band, Dr. Colossus. Consisting of Nathan Johnston on drums and Jono Colliver on guitar and vocals, the two piece manages to meld some seriously good doom with lyrics all based off episodes of The Simpsons. Combining original lyrics with classic lines taken straight from the show, the lyrics paint a cryptic picture while also adding a fun feel any time you recognize a quote from the show.
Dr. Colossus has released one EP, entitled IV (all three songs based off episodes from season 4), and most recently the Shut Up And Eat Your Pinecone/Whack Sabbath 7″. Both releases are available on their Bandcamp in both digital and physical form (the Pinecone 7″ is still available as a physical release). I can’t recommend checking them out enough.
This blog is partially inspired by Dr. Colossus so I’m incredibly honored that Jono took time to answer my questions.
How did the band come about?
Nath and myself have been playing in bands together since birth. This is the first band we’ve just played as the two of us. It came about one time we were touring with another band. We just joked about how funny it would be to take a seemingly serious musical genre and send it up with something as innocent and funny as The Simpsons.
Doom and The Simpsons are two things that seem like they wouldn’t be very compatible. What was the idea behind playing doom instead of something along the lines of indie or punk rock?
I’ve played in a few indie bands, a folk thing, a few rock bands…Nath and I have played in a blues trio together. Slower, heavier riff based stuff was just something we both loved and hadn’t really explored together much. I think the character name ‘Dr. Colossus’ leant itself pretty well to the world of doom so the rest just flowed from there.
Who is your favorite character from the show?
It changes all the time. I reckon Gil is the best. Just hopelessly working his arse off to keep his head above water…and he’s never very good at what he’s doing. There’s a bit of Old Gil in all of us from time to time. The wolf is at everyone’s door at least once in their life. It’s character building.
Do you have a favorite character to quote/try and write lyrics for?
No favourites. I think the best quotes are the ones that sounds the stupidest in song format. I’m also aware of trying to steer clear of any ‘Kowabunga’s’ or ‘Eat My Shorts’…I think real fans get alot from picking quotes that are a little more shrouded in mystery.
Most people can remember the first time they saw the show. Do you have any memories from the first time you watched The Simpsons?
I remember just being caught up on the fact that the people were all yellow. That spun me out as a kid. I think I was also really caught by things like Lisa’s and Bart’s hair. Really basic visual stuff that today we take for granted. At the time I thought it was just crazy to see.
What is your favorite episode(s)?
Currently ‘Last Exit To Springfield’ from Season 4. It’s been the basis of our track ‘Because of the War’.
A lot of people seemed to stop watching the show sometime after season 9. Do you still watch? If not, do you remember what made you stop watching?
I probably stopped watching it as free to air TV left my routine. In about 2008 I moved to Melbourne and went to uni so I would watch stuff online mostly. The Simpsons was still running new seasons on ‘Free to Air’ TV in Australia and I just never watched it. Now days I stream ALL my TV. Until Netflix gets the Simpsons I probably won’t bother chasing up all the newer episodes. I can safely say I’ve seen probably 15% of the Episodes post Season 17. I’ve heard there’s some decent stuff still being made though so I’ll definitely make a point of watching it all before I die.
Do you have a favorite musical number from the show? Have you ever thought about covering one of the songs from the Simpsons?
We’ve discussed covering Iron Butterfly’s ‘inna-gadda-davida’ before. I reckon that will happen at a few gigs. But ‘See My Vest’ has to be one of the most fantastic songs The Simpsons has delivered/spoofed…definitely the most memorable
Do you have any ideas on how you would like to see the series end?
With the same integrity and drive that it started with. The writers of that show are just so subversive and sharp. If The series was to finish on the same high notes it has delivered in the past that’s all you can ask
Finally, have you ever thought about writing an extra long doom song, ala Dopesmoker by Sleep? I would love to hear something like this with ’22 Short Films About Springfield’ as the lyrical content.
Yeah, that’s a great idea. I’ve considered the idea of rather than just basing the lyrics on the episode….we actually write a doom soundscape/track that you could play during the watching of an Episode. 22 Short Films About Springfield would be perfect for that. It could be a whole heap of varying sections that are all linked by a theme or riff idea. I might get onto this.
You can check out Dr. Colossus at: