Skip to main content

Why is Danny Elfman doing The Simpsons theme at Coachella the most badass moment of 2022 so far?

Homer Simpson and Danny Elfman
(Image credit: Getty)

Who had Danny Elfman providing one of the most heavy metal moments of festival season on their 2022 bingo card? The beloved composer - a regular Tim Burton collaborator and responsible for scoring a ton of iconic films including Batman (1989), Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Men In Black (1997) and Spider-Man (2002) - appeared at this past weekend's Coachella Festival in California, playing on a diverse bill that included everyone from pop heavyweights Billie Eilish, Harry Styles and The Weeknd to hip hop noisemakers Run The Jewels and Pittsburgh metallers Code Orange.

It was Elfman, however, who arguably stole the show, rocking up to the Outdoor Theater stage on Saturday night to play a raucous set stacked with classics and backed by a killer band and a full orchestra.

As well as playing a ton of his most iconic film scores, Danny and his band also threw out some covers of tracks by his highly influential New Wave band, Oingo Boingo, plus some of his solo compositions. 

The highlight of the set, though? Undoubtedly a high-energy run through of Danny's legendary theme for The Simpsons. Backed by woodwind, brass and string instruments (most noticeably, of course, a saxophone for that Lisa bit), the first half of the performance stays fairly faithful to the original, albeit flanked by some specially designed Simpsons animations. It's after the sax segment, however, that things get heavy.

As the song progresses, a shirtless (and heavily tattooed!) Elfman picks up a guitar and begins trading notes and riffs with two other guitarists and a bassist on stage with him. The drums get louder, some hellish-sounding choral contributions are added to the mix, and the animations on screen get weirder and weirder.

It's the heavy metal Simpsons breakdown we never knew we needed, and it looks like an absolute riot. Check out the footage below. 

Merlin Alderslade
Merlin Alderslade

Merlin stepped into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.