It’s just after midday and I’m heading towards Salem with two members of the horror punk band Bedlum to watch them practice. Calvin Lieurance, the guitarist, is at the wheel, and Paige Hanna, the vocalist and main lyricist, is in the passenger seat. Between listening to The Smashing Pumpkins, Megadeth, and talking about their viewing of Bram Stoker’s Dracula from the night before, Paige quotes jokes from an old, crinkled book called “Halloween Jokes and Riddles” by Craig Yoe. “This thing is practically our bible,” Paige said of the riddle book later that afternoon.
Bedlum is an up-and-coming horror punk band based in Portland. They were formed in November 2022 by Paige and Calvin, then brought in Parker Hanna, the bassist (and Paige’s brother), and Casey Raber, the drummer, to complete the group.
I first heard Bedlum when Paige sent me some demos from their forthcoming extended play, which releases later this year. Most of the songs on the EP revolve around a monster, with songs like “Human Chimera” featuring lyrics about using body parts to bring a Frankenstein monster to life backed by harsh, energetic guitar riffs, and “Blood Is The Life”, opening with a mosh worthy intro before Paige hisses vampiric lyrics about needing the blood of the living to feel alive. I could tell then that there was a passion and enthusiasm for the horror genre that bled through into the music effortlessly.
Practice began as everyone settled into a spare bedroom in Casey’s basement with their instruments, and within moments of their playing, I felt the same passion I heard in their demos right in front of me. It was unforgettable.
Bedlum has a fondness for darker and heavier artists like The Misfits, Black Sabbath, and Type O Negative, but finds their main influences in the aesthetics of classic monster movies and the explorations of those characters’ stories in a more human light. Their lyrics are laced with deep and utterly human storytelling techniques that contrast the quick, heavy instrumentals that are typical of the punk genre. Their sound is sure to excite fans of punk and horror, and the way they explore the very human sides to these monsters is something to love. Their music is uncompromising of their punk roots, using the genre as a medium to speak on the lives of those monsters that may have problems that aren’t so different from ours.
We talked about their backgrounds in music as the practice session continued and more of the band’s catalog was played. All of the members of Bedlum were brought into music at a relatively early age, and the memories associated with those beginnings still stand strong to help them perform today.
WB: What are some of the earliest memories of music for you and how has that helped you today?
Paige: Our dad (well, me and Parker’s dad) is a musician, and so I’ve been singing before I can talk, basically, is what he says.
Calvin: My parents just started making me play when I was a kid, so I just learned and then didn’t stop.
Casey: I got kinda pushed into music in like middle school… and then all of a sudden I heard Rush and a couple other bands on the radio, and it’s not just like, playing the beat… Maybe I wanna do that.. And then I met a couple other people that wanted to get together and do that in real life and that was it…
Parker: I joined the music program in seventh grade and it was the School Of Rock so we had three options; Guitar, bass, or sing, so I chose the bass. There was one other kid that played the bass with me and they locked us in the closet to practice like… the whole period.
WB: What’s one word you’d use to describe Bedlum?
After a bit more chatting and a few more songs, the group was warmed up and played “Reaper” for me. This song is perhaps the best showcase of Paige’s vocals, as she belts out long sustained high notes about the temporariness of a body, revenge, and the all consuming rage of Pumpkinhead.
Practice ended with the band deciding on what to do for next time they met up. We all decided to go out to eat at Shari’s, a well known spot in Oregon for pie and breakfast food. We shared stories, like Casey talking about his time working at an actual graveyard, our favorite horror movies, and the group talked about costumes for upcoming shows. The energy was upbeat and the kinship between the bandmates was wonderful. While no shows are currently on the calendar yet, the band is excited to perform their EP and show the world what they can do.
Bedlum is a band that should be on any punk fan’s radar, with raw, powerful energy, a love of the genre, and bonded by the monsters that we fear, they bring a fresh and unique sound to the horror punk genre. If they have one piece of advice for new listeners and fans, it’s this: Be afraid.