Remembering Supernatural and the Magic of the Mullet – with Chad Lindberg

Chad Lindberg is one of the first Supernatural actors that I got to know well, way back in the early seasons of the show. When Kathy and I were researching and writing Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls, we sat down with Chad to chat one day at a very early convention, and immediately hit it off. In fact, in the middle of our interview, after we’d gotten into a deep discussion of fandom and why it’s so compelling, Chad jumped up and said “You have to meet my friends – they’re making a movie about the same thing you’re writing about in your book!”

That’s how we met Tony Zierra and Elizabeth Yoffe, the filmmaker and producer behind the film “My Big Break,” which starred Chad Lindberg and Wes Bentley among others. We partnered with them and Chad to screen the film and share our thoughts on fandom and stardom in multiple cities, which meant some wonderful dinners and a wild time on Bourbon Street and lots of great conversation. Some of our adventures with Chad are in the pages of one of our first books, Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls. On occasion, he’s even helped us out at convention vendor rooms and with impromptu livestreams!

So let’s just say, I really miss Chad! He contributed a chapter to the new book by the actors and fans of Supernatural that celebrates the legacy of the show, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, which was released in 2020. I hadn’t spoken to Chad since he put that chapter together, so we connected by phone near the end of the year.

Chad: Good to hear from you!

Lynn: OMG you too! When I talked to you last year about writing your chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, the world was a completely different place.

Chad: It certainly was. Every day continually astonishes me. And not in a good way.

Lynn: I know what you mean. I’m wondering, because you wrote your chapter a year ago and it’s about your personal journey with Supernatural and how it impacted you, how has your journey continued over the past year?

Chad: I wish I could say it was all for the best but if I’m being honest with you, this year has been pretty awful from the moment it started in January, with getting bit by a dog and then a car accident, and then Covid hit, so it hasn’t been fun. I feel like I’m rewriting Escape from LA! The time that we’re in has affected everyone. I’m grateful that everyone I know is safe and healthy, myself included – that’s all I can ask for right now.

Lynn: I think that’s the bottom line right now.

Chad: This is no joke, I’ve known people who have gotten sick. For me, I’m extra disappointed that so many people are not taking this seriously. Sorry, you called me to talk about Supernatural!

Lynn: I did, but this is real life too.

Chad: Yeah, it’s like everything else took a serious back seat – what seemed like a priority before really isn’t. It’s about keeping yourself safe. And I hope it will be over soon, but I don’t think so. I don’t know if we’re heading in the right direction, but I hope so. Right now, the world issues are far more important than me going ghost hunting or all the stuff I used to do. Now it’s, how do I keep my head above water? I’m not working or traveling or doing events, and I’m cool with the protocol of that obviously, but – let’s just be patient, people, you know?

Lynn: We have to, absolutely.

Chad: Maybe we don’t need to go out to a five star restaurant and have a meal, you know? Maybe you can pick it up and take it home, that’s where I’m at. I walk around the grocery store and see people not wearing masks when the store is asking you to, and it’s tough to see. It’s a weird time – since we spoke last, everything really has changed!

Lynn: I was just chatting with Lauren Tom earlier today, and one of the things that changed for her that is a positive change is that she started being more real and more of an activist online. It was hard for her and she struggled with it because of wanting people to like her, and knowing she’d lose followers. You’ve also been very real on social media, what’s that been like?

Chad: (laughing) Anyone who follows me knows I do not hold back!

Lynn: I love that about you.

Chad:  I let ‘er rip, I’m passionate about what I say. It’s not always gonna be cookie cutter. I use my profanity. I think America is in danger of losing its way, or has lost its way. So I applaud Lauren for making that decision, because you have to stand for what you believe in. And no matter where you stand, that’s okay. Not everyone is the same. My problem, however, is with the lack of decency. We’ve now allowed all of these really disgusting things to be okay and it’s not okay. It’s disturbing that anyone is complacent with this, and yes you are gonna lose followers if you speak up and yes I have, and I’ve had many online fights, but for every ten people who leave there’s one who comes through and is awesome so you make really cool connections. I could go on and on about this, Lynn!

Lynn: It’s the way change is made, right? Sometimes it feels like one individual person, how much change can you make? But like Lauren was saying, anyone with a platform can make change. So as depressing as the world is  right now, you should feel good about the fact that you are making change.

Chad: I hope so. The Rock just came out and was supportive of Biden and that was really courageous of him, and he actually gained a lot more followers. He went from like 140 Million and of course there were people who were unhappy but he gained like up to 200 million!

Lynn: Wow.

Chad: So obviously there are people we all love and respect and we listen to them, so I’m grateful I have a platform. I don’t know that I’m changing anyone’s mind, but maybe it chips away here and there.

Lynn: I think it does.

Chad: This is beyond politics to me. When someone is like, you’re an actor, you should stay out of politics, I’m like No. 1, you voted for a reality star! And second, this is beyond politics. This is dangerous. Whatever game this is, it’s dangerous. This is not supposed to be about entertainment, and I think that’s a dangerous place to be.

Lynn: The other thing I was thinking about that’s changed in the world is about fandom – I write a lot about how with Supernatural, the actors and fans have interacted a lot over the years, and have developed a relationship that’s a little more reciprocal than you would expect. You’re doing that Cameo thing, right? What’s that like? I think you were one of the first.

Chad: I was! I was trying to get everyone else onto it for the longest time. I don’t think many of them believed me at first!

Lynn: Lots of people are on it now. It lets you connect with people in a one on one kind of way and people seem to really enjoy it.

Chad: I love it! Sometimes Cameo will send me the reaction videos and it could be from an adult or a kid who’s a Fast and the Furious fan, or a Supernatural fan, and to see their reaction and to see them hearing you say their name and be very personal with them, there’s nothing like that. I wish that Cameo existed before I got into the business, when it was this magical thing, like when I was growing up, to have this with this celebrity or this actor, that would’ve been so amazing. So they were kind of a godsend to me in a lot of ways. I can connect with the fans, and I can also support myself doing it. And I can give something that was truly special to people. I go all in when I do a Cameo, I try to give them their worth.

Lynn: Do you do them as Chad or as a character, like do you do any as Ash?

Chad: I don’t think so, but I kinda float in and out of it, or they’ll want me to say the lines from movies or tv shows. I’ll play some music and I’ll dance. There’s not one Cameo that’s not about love and not about building that person up. No matter what, no matter who you are, what you believe in, I will always send you a really positive message. I just love Cameo!

Lynn: I know fans are loving them too – it’s such a nice personal thing for them to keep from an actor or from a show that really meant something to them.

Chad: It’s such a brilliant idea, I wish it had come along sooner.

Lynn: And speaking of things that people love, I saw you also did an October Sky reunion thing?

Chad: Yes! Yesterday they did a virtual Rocket Boy festival, virtual because of Covid obviously, and they wanted to do something fun to keep that going. There was a link posted this morning by Homer where people can watch. It was me, Homer of course, Roy Lee, one of the real rocket boys, and then Chris Ellis who played the principal in the movie. That movie is gonna bring back so much love and great memories, and it reminds me of why I got into this crazy upside down business!

Lynn: I feel like we need our favorite media more than ever in these really tough times. There’s so much nostalgia for these things now because it feels so good to go to the things that take us back to those times that seem so familiar to us. I think that will be the case for Supernatural too, like that beloved favorite thing that you want to go back to again and again.

Chad: I know, I know. And it’s tough because now cons are put on hold, all the things that give people their fix. But I’m hoping, and if I were a betting man, I’d say these cons are going to be around forever. Like Star Trek, they’re still doing the cons. People are gonna need their fix. So I’m hoping that after the show ends that we’ll always be able to see each other and hang out and have those special times. Not having these cons anymore would be a tragedy.

Chad onstage at a con

Lynn: Especially now that we don’t have the show, I feel like we really need these kinda mini reunions.

Chad: Exactly, it has to be or else I’ll go a little crazy. This has been a part of our lives for a long time and yes, it does keep a roof over my head, but it’s more than that. It’s about the love that this show has and the family it’s created. There’s nothing like the Supernatural cast and the fandom, nothing.

Lynn: I agree. Now that we really are at the end of the show, looking back on the experience, what has been your favorite moment on the show and with fans?

Chad: Hmm. On the show, I honestly think the most stand out thing was the mullet and the way that it made me feel once that went on, and the way that it made everybody else feel on set once it went on.

Chad: The immense amount of laughter that came from the set. It didn’t feel like work. And then for it to become a global phenomenon and something that means so much to people, you can’t put a price on that. I’m grateful to be a part of that and even though I was on back in season 2 and 5, it will always be a disappointment not to come back, that’s just being truthful.  I know I speak for myself and Sam Ferris, we were really hoping to come back and be there one more time. Especially after it became what it became, that would’ve been cool. But that’s okay, and I’m grateful for what it’s given me and will continue to give me for the rest of my life.

Lynn: It has changed lives for so many of us, absolutely. I’m grateful too.

Chad: So I think I’m tying both answers together. The fandom is a family and going to these cons and being around the fans, it really does fill you up in a way that’s nobody can ever describe. It’s like being a rock star for five minutes, but it’s more than that. These people have continued to support me in ways that are beyond Dr. Badass. They support me and my family, through some really really awful times, and also through the amazing times. So I want them to know, I will always be there for them, and to thank them for being there for me.

Lynn: I was thinking about the moments we’ve shared too over the years – not the personal ones because we’ve had them, but con moments – one time at a karaoke when you were running across chairs wearing a boa and sunglasses and smoking a fake cigarette comes to mind…

Chad: Yep.

Lynn: Like an iconic rockstar, and that was so much fun. Those were the days – karaoke was insane back then! And at the last con, those two little kids who were dressed as Ash and as Asmodeus who came onstage during your panel with Jeffrey Vincent Parise.

Chad:  That was pretty special, that it got to that level where kids that weren’t even alive when I was actually doing the show, that they still respond to that show and to my character, who is no longer with us. I’m not on Season 15 rocking and rolling, I was on Season 2, and yet you’ve got these kids dressing up and coming onstage. It’s mind blowing. And it’s a beautiful thing. It is really cool.

Lynn: It is. You were on the show so early on, before many of the people who we now know were on. What was the atmosphere like on the second season? People always say oh, it’s amazing that after all these years, Jared and Jensen and Misha still take it seriously and they don’t phone it in, but you were on the show very early. What was it like then to be on the Supernatural set?

Chad: We had a blast, obviously. We had an amazing time, and especially getting to work with Sam Ferris (Ellen), who is amazing. I can’t say enough good things about Sam. We laughed a lot and had fun. I do think they were still trying to find what worked for them back then and I think, about the roadhouse, they just weren’t sure, that’s my feeling. That’s why we saw it burn down (laughing). To be honest, and then I felt like as time went on around Season 5 and then they brought on Misha and it just went into the stratosphere. I loved having been on it before it became this phenomenon, it was just Supernatural.  It was just the guy with the mullet and then it grew into what it’s become. I still can’t believe that it’s gone on that long. And now kids are dressing up as Ash!

Lynn: Fourteen years later.

Chad: Exactly. And that was lifetimes ago for me, I’ve been through so much since then. It’s funny, I’ll put it this way. When I go to the Supernatural cons, I forget sometimes that I was in the show.

Lynn: (laughing)

Chad: I forget that they’re there to talk about Dr. Badass. I get onstage and I’m like oh yeah, and then I’ll get back into my role and then let’s talk about the show. Most of the time when I get onstage, the conversations go toward the paranormal because people wanna know about the real deal. That’s been fun to kinda share that with them and give them the real slice of it. So I’m like oh yeah I was on that show…

Lynn: The paranormal thing is in the realm of the show anyway, so it’s not really a departure.

Chad: Not at all, it’s an enhancement. All this stuff is based off of truth somewhere, the folklore and the myths, there is some truth to Supernatural.

Lynn: I was thinking about you the other day. I was doing an online panel with two of my fellow con vendors, Scout and Zerbe, and they told a story about driving across the desert, I think in Utah, and out of nowhere there was this young guy dressed in I think it was like a basketball uniform, just in the road. She slammed on the brakes at the last second and veered around him, then looked in the rear view mirror because a big semi truck was right behind and if it swerved it might roll. But the semi didn’t swerve at all, because there was nothing there.

Chad: I love that.

Lynn: He looked I think like he was out of the 70s or something, if I’m remembering right.

Chad: Sure. Yeah, it coulda been a blip in time that was just replaying. There’s so many possibilities. Did he make eye contact with her?

Lynn: I don’t know, but I got the feeling maybe he did because she was so freaked out.

Chad: Yeah, yeah. So he got in front of her and she thought she was gonna hit him? That’s amazing. It can happen anywhere. We live in a very strange universe. If we open our eyes to all the crazy stuff outside of all the actual crazy stuff that’s happening for real, this is even crazier than the paranormal right now because it’s real. And what’s compelling about that is that he seemed to be in a period uniform.

Lynn: And in the middle of the desert.

Chad: I just thought of something, that maybe there was an accident or something, like a college basketball team or something. I’d be curious if anything happened years ago in that area where she was.

Lynn: I have goosebumps just thinking about it. Okay, last question. If you could have taken three things from either the Supernatural set or from cons, like three memorabilia to remember the show and what it’s meant to you, what would they be?

Chad: No. 1, the mullet.

Lynn: I figured. You really should have that.

Chad: No 2, Gabriel Tigerman.

Onstage with Gabe at a con

Lynn: Oh, I don’t blame you.

Chad: I’m just gonna take Gabriel and put him in my pocket so I can hug him whenever I want.

Lynn: Understandable. He has a chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done too that I also love.

Chad: No 3 is my chair back. Which I think might be possible, so I’m gonna try to get my hands on that.

[Update: success, I’m guessing, since Chad posted this photo recently]

Lynn: I love that. Such a good answer. It was so nice to talk to you, I miss everyone so much, can’t wait until we can all be together in person again.

Chad: I agree and I appreciate your questions, it’s good to talk about the stuff that’s not so cool right now too. It’s just been really good to hear your voice.

And with a hello to pass on to Lindsey Senter, that wrapped up our conversation. Who knows, if and when the reboot happens, maybe Dr. Badass and his mullet will be back.

Until then, you can read Chad Lindberg’s chapter with lots of behind the scenes stories from the set of Supernatural and more on what the show and the fandom have meant to him (along with chapters by Jared and Jensen and many others) in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural.

And follow him on twitter @ChadLindberg for lots of fun content, including livestreams, his GCrew podcast show, and some beautiful handcrafted jewelry too! Thanks for helping to keep the SPNFamily love going, Chad!

— Lynn

You can find There’ll Be Peace When You

Are Done and Family Don’t End With Blood

at peacewhenyouaredone.com or at the

links on the home page here

 

2 thoughts on “Remembering Supernatural and the Magic of the Mullet – with Chad Lindberg

  • Thanks for the great interview, that was a fun read! Chad seems like such a sweet sincere guy (I guess a lot like Ash was too!) It’s wonderful to know that Supernatural still means a lot to him. I want to see him at a con soon too!

    I really appreciate the work you are putting in on this blog Lynn! Every time I see a new post I’m like “SQUEE!” It’s helped keep me going in this mourning period we are all in. It’s so exciting to get new content from you <3

  • I appreciated your kind response to my comment on your plans to do rewatch reviews, and I wanted to let you know I realized two things: One, watching Supernatural together was (aagghh! I hate saying that in past tense!) something my husband and I looked forward to each week, and we had agreed to start over and watch one or two a week after it ended so that we could still enjoy that. The plan was to support Jared’s new show and then watch Supernatural later. I realized that as hard as this loss and change has been, we need to follow through on that and just be in the moment with the Winchesters’ story as it unfolds (he hasn’t watched them a gazillion times like me). Two, I can push away any lines or images from the finale and focus on the past season stories because I’m an Air Force mom. While our son is deployed I will have to put troubling thoughts out of my mind or I’ll go nuts, and spending time with my other boys will help with that. So, we took the plunge and, since I’d forgotten we’d finished “In My Time of Dying,” we started back with “Everybody Loves a Clown,” where we get to meet Ellen, Jo, and the wonderful Mr. Lindberg as Ash. Getting to read your delightful interview with him after seeing the episode again made it that much more special. I look forward to your “Wendigo” review and anything else you can share that puts a bright spot in my day (my son is deploying in two weeks; I need the all the bright spots). Wishing you and your loved ones all the best in 2021, and thanks again!

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