The release of DCC #100: The Music of the Spheres (is Chaos) is nigh! In celebration of the Kickstarter’s huge success, Dieter Zimmerman continues his look at the relationship between DCC RPG and music in a series of blog posts appropriately titled “The Music of DCC (is Chaos).” In this episode, he talks with Levi Nunez, the man behind D&D psych-rock band Loot the Body.
If you had the pleasure of virtually attending Empire of Cyclops Con back in November, you might have caught Loot the Body’s video showcase featuring original songs like “Caught in a Gelatinous Cube”, “Barrier Peaks”, “Tower of the Elephant”, and “Sailing the Starless Sea.” Who is Loot the Body? Loot the Body is a one-man musical project by Levi Nunez. Based out of the LA area, Nunez creates songs and videos that appeal to old school gamers and fans of appendix N.
Though he came late into the gaming world, Nunez found music early in life. “Some kids gravitate to sports, I gravitated to music,” he says. In high school he found some other kids who were into it, and that’s when things really took off. He started in a cover band, and eventually he and some friends tried to make a go in the world of college rock with original songs. He later joined an Americana band called Old Californio before going solo.
Nunez became obsessed with D&D and tabletop rpgs more recently. Though he’d been familiar with the concepts, he never played the games as a kid. “I tried to get into it when I was younger but could find no one to teach me and anytime I could get my hands on a book it looked like a math book disguised as a fantasy book. It wasn’t until I could actually listen to podcasts of people playing and watch YouTube videos of people explaining the game that I was able to get into it. Mouseguard was the first game I really played. My kids loved the books and that was the driver to get me to learn how to GM. At some point the 5E starter set came out and that was a very clear introduction. “
Remembering all the cool classic modules he saw when he was younger, Nunez spent some time exploring older editions of D&D. “I can’t say that I like all the old rules better but there is still something about the vibe of those old adventures that is in sync with the type of entertainment I consume.”
He came late to the gaming world, but he’s been into classic fantasy literature for a long time. “Of course it started with The Hobbit as a kid, then I fell in love with Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea books and later on I discovered Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories. The Worm Ouroborous by E.R. Eddison is also a favorite as well as Moorcock’s Elric stories. If I had to pick one I would say Robert E . Howard’s ‘Tower of the Elephant’ is probably my favorite. It ticks so many boxes in style and subject matter.”
He points out that though much of his Loot the Body catalog is about D&D at this point, his music is really just about things he’s obsessed with. He just happened to have a lot of D&D on his mind when he started writing songs again. “My son started to get interested in making his own music. I told him that before he could write one song that he liked he had to write 100 terrible ones, and the sooner he got started the better. As a way to support him I challenged him to write a song a week, I agreed to do the same. Since I already had D&D swimming around in my head I wrote ‘Down at the Tavern’ pretty much in one sitting. It was so much fun that I recorded it and my friend offered to mix it for me. When I thought about it I could confidently say that at least one person out there besides me would like to hear the song. Maybe just one, but that was enough. That’s what got the ball rolling.”
His new interest in rpgs quickly led him to DCC RPG. “I got into DCC pretty early on in my exploration into TTRPGS, maybe around 2013 or so. My FLGS had this great standup display. I saw a bell-bottomed barbarian with a handlebar mustache and I was hooked. I started listening to Spellburn and soon after I participated in a funnel at that same store.”
“Sailing on the Starless Sea” is the first song Loot the Body released that’s about DCC, but it’s actually NOT the first DCC RPG song he wrote. “A few months back I heard Harley Stroh on Spellburn and watched him on a ‘What’s New With Goodman Games’ at that time he was already talking about DCC 100. There was something about the madness in his eyes and the sheer delirium in his voice that just set me off to writing. So actually the first DCC song is still in the Loot the Body vault and was inspired by the yet unreleased ‘The Music of the Spheres is Chaos.’“
Nunez creates all the videos for the songs himself, too. The Loot the Body Youtube channel is a delightful mix of classic art and maps, wind-up toys, old film footage, lead miniatures, and psychedelic colors. He says he doesn’t really have a favorite, but “they each have their moments. For ‘I Am The Flumph’ I made a lifesize Flumph costume and filmed my son wearing it, that was fun.”
“Sailing on the Starless Sea” is currently available as a flexi-disc record in the Goodman Games store, but if you don’t have a turntable each one comes with a download code for a digital version as well.
You can follow Loot the Body on Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, and Bandcamp.