Dustin Grooms is the mastermind behind the doom metal project Old Thunder. Behind all the crushing riffs hides someone who has an excellent understanding of songwriting melody and intensity, as portrayed in a song like ‘June 2, 1910.’ The song has been a constant favorite of mine since first hearing it, do to the beautifully put together middle section of clean vocals and emotionally taxing doom. Old Thunder was also part of my favorite split release of the year. Bloodlines by Twilight Fauna and Old Thunder is two bands writing some of the most heart wrenching and wonderful metal of the year. Also, I highly encourage Dustin and Paul to reverse this split and cover each others songs.
I had the privilege of meeting and hanging out with Dustin last weekend while we both saw Yob. Dustin is a charming guy and has some great tastes in music. It was a fun time and I look forward to hanging out again.
What is your history with The Simpsons? Do you remember the first time you saw the show?
I remember the Simpsons being one of those slightly risque shows that my parents still let me watch circa 1995-96 when I was about 7 years old. I wasn’t allowed to watch Ren & Stimpy because my parents thought it was little too over-the-top, but somehow The Simpsons was more permissible. I can’t remember any specific time when I first saw it; I just remember it constantly being there from the ages of 4-10 or so.
Who is your favorite character?
When I watched it as a kid, I obviously identified as Bart; I was sort of the black sheep in the family and was usually getting myself in trouble. Now, though, I honestly see Marge as my favorite character, probably because I see so much of myself in her: Her selflessness to take care of things around the household, and (usually) keeping cool in the midst of crises. For where I am now, I really see Marge as the backbone of the family.
Do you have a favorite episode(s)?
“Home Away from Homer” is one of my favorites of all time just because it shows the strange balance and harmony that characters like Flanders bring into the Springfield universe; I think that Homer especially realizes that he may not always like Flanders, but he needs an irritating neighbor to keep him reined in. “Whacking Day” also sticks out as a favorite since it touches some nerves on some things I’ve dealt with working in education, e.g., Bart and others being “swept under the rug” for making their school look bad.
The Simpsons has a wide array of guest stars. Do you have a favorite?
Dude. Spinal Tap ’til death.
Who from the world of metal would you love to see guest on the show?
I’d love to see a post-humous tribute to Ronnie James Dio. There’s this visual in my head of Dio doing a killer rendition of “Heaven and Hell” while Homer runs around shirtless. As far as current metal people, though, Barney from Napalm Death would be a frighteningly good fit to have dialogue with Lisa.
What character would you be most excited to find out was a fan of your work?
I’m pretty sure Moe already loves Old Thunder, given his chronicled bouts of depression and existential bitterness. He gets me.
Do you have a favorite musical number from The Simpsons? Also, what band would you love to see cover said song?
“Dr. Zaius” from “A Fish Called Selma.” I think that was the actual first musical episode from The Simpsons I had seen. Long live Troy McClure. I’d like to hear Blind Guardian cover it; can we make that happen? What kinda connections ya got?
I’ve always thought Lisa Simpson would be the one character to end up getting into punk or metal. Who do you think will grow up and discover metal or punk?
I think it would be Maggie, honestly. Think about the factors: Youngest of three, usually not the focus of the family (lots of repressed anger and frustration), the quiet one. She has all the makings of a future metalhead or crust punk. I can totally see Maggie being the type to front an anarcho-crust outfit.
Do you still watch new episodes of the show? If not, do you remember what made you stop watching?
I definitely still watch new episodes. The Simpsons is one of those shows that, even at its worst, still has better writing and good running jokes than most other animated shows. It’s just so deeply embedded that I can’t imagine just not watching it.
How would you like to see the series end? Any ideas on where you would like to see the family end up?
I’ve read about the whole theory that the entire plot is just a figment of Homer’s imagination as he’s in a coma, blah blah blah. I’m not so much worried about that having an impact on the end of the series. If I had an ideal scenario to end the series, I’d like to see Lisa finally succeed and get out of Springfield. She (and Marge) is definitely the voice of reason in the family, so if she were to leave, it would be interesting to see how that would affect the family dynamic. Perhaps Homer would finally be the family man we’ve always known he could be and Bart would take on his role as the elder brother to Maggie.