Back in 2016, I wrote some words about Blood & Gourd 1 and 2, the gory pumpkin-patch set indie Halloween comic about an evil pumpkin conglomerate and a giant pumpkin monster wrecking shit one blazing orange October day.
Since then, a third issue has been released and B&G has become part of my annual Halloween tradition. Also since that time, I’ve learned that B&G creator Jenz Lund is a stellar human being with excellent taste in everything, especially music. Rather than try my hand at another review of issue 3 (which would really just be a rehash of all the praise I heaped on issues 1 and 2), I thought it’d be more fun to reach out to Jenz with some questions—music, comics and anything else. Fortunately, he was goodly enough to not only answer my questions but go above and beyond. Before getting to the questions, I have to note: make sure to get to the end and check out the excellent Halloween tune he’s recorded during quarantine!
Let’s talk music, comics and movies…
Bloody Popcorn (Johnny): Ok, it’s late October, Halloween season, though it’s getting close to the end. What are your favorite records/bands/songs to spin this time of year?
Jenz Lund: As much as I love horror movies and comics all through the year, October is when the magic happens. I think it’s amplified with the Fall and all that comes with it. Most of us fell in love with horror movies as kids, and we associate falling leaves with going back to school and a full month of socially acceptable weirdness we just don’t get for the rest of the year. And naturally, you need the perfect soundtrack to go with all that.
I find myself listening to a lot of old school garage, novelty and rockabilly tunes. Obscure prog rock and doom metal; I absolutely adore bands like Windhand and Uncle Acid this time of year. Can’t celebrate Samhain without Roky Erickson and The Cramps that’s for damn sure! I strongly suggest you check out Kogar’s Jungle Juice blog. There, you’ll find Lux & Ivy’s Favorites. The greatest compilation of bands/songs that inspired The Cramps anywhere.
BP: I know you’ve made playlists for characters in the past. What tracks would you include in a Blood & Gourd movie soundtrack?
- B-52s: Give Me Back My Man
- Greg Weeks: Made
- PJ Harvey: Sheela-Na-Gig
- Melvins: Goin’ Blind
- Stooges: I’m Sick of You
- Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats: Withered Hand of Evil
- Shangri-Las: I Can Never Go Home Anymore
- John Leyton: Johnny Remember Me
- Wipers: Is this Real?
- The Troggs: Night of the Long Grass
- Sonics: The Witch
- Os Mutantes: Ave, Lucifer
- Current 93: When the May Rain Comes
- Dicks: Bourgeois Fascist Pig
- Dead Kennedys: Halloween
- Charlies Feathers: In the Pines
- Duane Eddy: The Girl on Death Row
- Sonic Youth: Dirty Boots
- Cramps: New Kinda Kick
- Damned: Ignite
- Camper Van Beethoven: Seven Languages
- The Gits: Second Skin
- Pixies: Cecilia Ann or Rock Music (Opening title sequence)
- Sleater-Kinney: Prisstina
- Replacements: Takin’ a Ride
- Roky Erickson: Sputnik
- Bleached: Waitin’ by the Telephone
- Bikini Kill: Magnet
- Brigitte Fontaine: Le Goudron
- Bran: Breuddwyd
BP: Halloween III is an easy thing to point to when reading B&G. What else—movies, comics, music, etc.—directly inspired you when coming up with this story?
JL: My mom worked at 7-11 for a time when I was around seven-years-old and she’d bring me home comic books. I got my copy of Secrets of the Haunted House #44 with the Bernie Wrightson cover and always wanted to replicate that feeling it gave me. Not just with the comic itself, but also with the Slurpees and Hostess pies, playing Asteroids at the laundromat; all that junkfood, time-well-wasted awesomeness I associate with being a brat in the ’80s.
One of my happiest Halloween memories is sorting through my Halloween candy while Halloween 2 played in the background. I wasn’t allowed to watch it, but I could listen and man – that did something to my brain. A testament to John Carpenter’s excellent synth work. And naturally, all the Halloween specials, movies like The Return of the Living Dead, Poltergeist, Creepshow, Reanimator, and Night of the Creeps; but mostly I was trying to produce a feeling tone. Another reason why it’ll have to be a movie if I’m ever going to really achieve that. People used to ask us all the time when the movie was coming out. Intuitively, we all sorta know that’s what it’s meant to be.
BP: We’ve talked Halloween songs, B&G soundtrack tunes—what are your favorite bands/records in general?
JL: I like anything that makes me feel something. Leonard Cohen, Pixies, Cramps, Neko Case, The Beatles, Public Enemy, Shangri-las, Iggy Pop, Nirvana. Nirvana has always been a huge influence. Aberdeen, WA is a sister city to my hometown of Shelton, WA., so that put bad ideas in all our heads. Anything felt possible. It felt like even if you were some poor kid from a dying lumber town, if you were talented enough you could get out. But I was also blessed with a local record store and the guy who ran it introduced me to Iggy Pop, The New York Dolls, Ramones, Velvet Underground, Nina Simone, Modern Lovers, Dead Kennedys, etc. so I grew up listening to some of the greatest music ever produced. I live for music. It’s all about the music for me.
BP: During the pandemic, what have you been doing to occupy your time and keep you sane?
JL: Mostly I’ve been writing ukuleleian folk-punk tunes. In fact, I’ve written a little diddy especially for Halloween and the good folks and followers of Bloody Popcorn called “Gremlin Hearts”. I’ve got about an album’s worth of demos I hope to produce when humans are allowed to touch each other again. The rest of the time I’m just writing or reading mostly. I’m on a big Mario Puzo kick right now. He’s an exceptionally good storyteller. Something I’m still trying to refine. NanoWriMo starts in November, and I hope it helps me finish my first novel. I’m also working on a sort of spiritual successor to Maximum Overdrive with my good friend John MacLeod. I think we’re tapping into something special.
Blood & Gourd
BP: So, are we gonna get any more Gourdfather action figures? I missed out the first time and I need him! The retro style figure was cool, but man, I’d also love a larger scale vinyl figure to hang out with my other kaiju. If I’m gonna start my own personal wish list and stuff, I’d also add one in the style of the 90s Maxx figure, and instead of the Isz, he could come with those little pumpkin bud monsters. Toy possibilities for him are endless.
JL: Honestly, that was a disaster. Very expensive and the quality wasn’t great. Which speaks to the frustration of trying to do something like this without proper exposure, distribution and support. We’re always looking for creative types to help lend a hand and join the Dead Peasant party! But I agree, the Gourdfather has the potential to be iconic. Perhaps the people trying to make cool shit can collaborate with the people trying to showcase the cool shit. We’re open to any suggestions. Despite all the setbacks and sacrifices made, I still love Blood & Gourd. I would love to see it be what I know it can be as an IP.
BP: I remember a Kickstarter for issue 4 being announced around Halloween last year, but I honestly can’t remember if I backed it, though I’ll be first in line when it’s available to order. How is progress on that going and any idea when that will see print? Is issue 4 the end of the series or are their plans to go further? An extended pumpkinverse?
JL: We never officially announced a Kickstarter for #4, but we did put out a promo video for the series in the hopes that it would generate more hype and sales. Covid’s done a lot of damage to our little publishing company. Going to conventions is a big part of what keeps us alive. Plus, it takes us a long time to produce an issue. Three issues in five years doesn’t work well when people are used to bingeing entire seasons in a weekend. Our artists have all gone on to be very successful, and we’re insanely proud and happy for them. But that also means we have to find somebody new, and that vetting process takes time.
That being said, we have a great story to wrap-up and we’ll do what we can to make it happen! The fans (stem-heads) we do have are the greatest in the world. They’ve been with us since day one.
I want to thank Jenz for taking this time to talk to me. You can follow Blood and Gourd and buy comics (and shirts) below. Make sure to watch the amazing promo video and check out Jenz’s original creepfolk classic “Gremlin Hearts” below, which will definitely need a place on your Halloween playlist.
And finally, check out Jenz Lund’s “Gremlin Hearts” —