Alf Clausen, the Emmy-winning composer for The Simpsons, has been fired after nearly 30 years on the job. Variety reports that Clausen “received a call from Simpsons producer Richard Sakai that the company was seeking ‘a different kind of music’ and that he would no longer be scoring the longtime Fox hit.” That’s right: The Simpsons are going bro-country!
Clausen has composed or orchestrated the music for many popular shows (Moonlighting, ALF, The Critic) and movies (Airplane II: The Sequel, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Naked Gun), but he’s best known for his work on The Simpsons. He started working with the show in 1990, for the original “Treehouse of Horror,” and he’s been there ever since. Clausen’s scored dozens of songs and written thousands of musical cues as the leader of a 35-piece orchestra, which might explain his unexpected dismissal. “Including costs of musicians, recording studios, and orchestration,” according to Variety, “expenses routinely run into the millions of dollars per year.”
When asked by Consequence of Sound what it’s like working on a show that covers multiples genres, from burlesque to barbershop to grunge, Clausen replied, “I think that’s one of the reasons they’ve kept me all these years. They were looking for somebody who could score all those different types of music in small clip-form. That’s what’s been fun for me. I think that anyone else who would have been hired for this job and stayed for this long would have gone to the nuthouse.” A replacement has yet to be announced, although Variety noted Danny Elfman’s theme song will remain.