Matt Groening -- who turns 63 today -- is best known as the creator of The Simpsons, the longest running sitcom in television history. But did you also know that he was also the occasional drummer for a supergroup of authors called The Rock Bottom Remainders?
The lineup changed from gig to gig, but the band often featured the likes of Pulitzer Prize winning humorist Dave Barry, journalist Mitch Albom, Joy Luck Club author Amy Tan and horror icon Stephen King. Each one took turns singing and many played an instrument in the most well-read jam band on earth.
Or as Barry often said, "We play music as well as Metallica writes novels."
Groening was one of the group's founding members back in the 90s. But he almost turned down the offer to rock out with the likes of King and Tan because he was worried that the scrivener supergroup would get mercilessly torn apart by members of their own ranks.
"I must admit I was a little reluctant, but I wasn't the only one," he said in a 1992 interview. "Because we knew -- as a former rock critic myself -- what could happen to us as performers being reviewed by the likes of us."
But those concerns probably melted away when they got a thumbs up from Bruce Springsteen. "Your band's not too bad," The Boss once said after jamming with them. "It's not too good either. Don't let it get any better, otherwise you'll just be another lousy band."
Meanwhile, Groening became awestruck by the treatment he got as a musician. "People are throwing panties at you. They certainly never do that at my book-signings," he once said.
Over the years, The Rock Bottom Remainders managed to raise over $2 million for charity through gigs like the Wordstock Tour in 2010. But they decided to pack it up in 2012.
"We’ve gotten as good as we’re ever going to get,” Barry said when announcing the breakup. "You can’t get any better. Well, you actually can get a lot better. But we can’t get any better. We’re up to almost four chords now, and the Beatles quit at that point, I’m pretty sure."
But if Guns N' Roses can set aside differences and get back together, we're sure there's hope for a Remainders reunion. In the meantime, you'll just have to satiate your appetite for wordy rock with this retrospective on the group.