The final offering from Ed Gein came several years after everyone had kind of thought them to be disbanded anyway. In the words of bassist/vocalist Aaron Jenkins, ‘we probably should have broke up a long time ago.’
But I’m glad they did this last thing that they did because it did show there was some gas left in the tank and the whole thing was an overall fun experience.
To back up a bit, Ed Gein hadn’t toured in years. After finishing a relentless touring schedule for “Judas Goats…” where they were on the road for the better part of two years they took a hard break. It was time to settle down for bit. Drummer Jesse Daino put most of his free time getting Recess Coffee off the ground and that soon became a very full-time endeavor. Aaron further developed his skills as a screen printer and eventually opened his own business (the Black Arts Studio) as well doing just that. Guitarist Graham Reynolds, after time, became the head roaster at Recess and running a lot of the day-to-day. Music took a back seat for all of the members.
After a few years getting situated in their new roles the band felt the itch to write new music, but definitely not tour. They started getting together again to compose new music that was decidedly far less technical and way more just fast, metallic punk. The result was “Bad Luck”, a record that was considerably different than other Ed Gein records insofar as most of the songs focusing on just a few parts instead of 1000. The constant with all other material is that it remained fast. Really fast. It went quite underappreciated amongst fans and they only played a few shows during this time to promote it. It retrospect it is definitely not their strongest material, but it’s a lot of fun and there’s a handful of total thrashy rippers on the record.
And then they went quiet again. Work and adult life took over once more and it seemed Ed Gein was put to bed for good. And yet, they got back into it one more time. This time some of the music saw Aaron taking the lead for composition and out of that came a couple songs of slow, riffing, chunky dirges. They followed it up with a few more fast, thrashy songs that had a renewed vigor. The band approached me once more about doing something with it all. It was to be the very last of the Ed Gein stuff. For good.
The entire effort was completed in secret. We began working on things in the late Spring and surprise released it right before Christmas. I even managed to keep the whole project secret from my own band, who was sharing a practice space with Ed Gein. It was tough to keep a lid on it all, but we succeeded.
The result of this discreet planning was a project Aaron and I worked closely on bringing together, as he has traditionally been the more art-minded planner in the band. We went with once again using the unique arigato packages created by Stumptown Printers that I have used for several other records (Playing Enemy, “My Life As the Villain” and Lemuria, “Ozzy” 7” most noteably). Aaron had a whole idea in mind that he designed and screenprinted onto the blank packages himself at his shop. We also thought it would be fun to try doing a double 7” instead of a 10” or one-sided 12”. I thought that if you’re going to get this cool package that’s one step away from being a box you may as well fill it with more than one thing. So the five songs that comprised “Smoked” were spread out over two records because why not?
Part of the elaborate screenprinted packaging for the record(s)
Plenty of time was accounted for ensuring the recording came out right, all the steps of pressing the actual records, and printing (and then the origami-like task of folding them together) the covers. It honestly couldn’t have come together more smoothly. I was surprised at the ease of it all. Of course, except the part about keeping it a secret.
The guys had planned a big show for right after Christmas which was not kept a secret. There was no mention of the new record. About a week or two before the show the surprise was unleashed. No pre-order, or teaser track. Just, ‘hey, here’s a new Ed Gein record. Enjoy.’
I knew there would be some interest, but it was far greater than I could have imagined. It was nice to see that after all these years, and the very limited, sporadic activity from the band, people were still excited for anything they did.
And that’s really the story of Ed Gein. Over the next year they played a couple shows and then called it a day as they transitioned into the band they all do now- Shadow Snakes, which also features former Breather Resist vocalist Steve Sindoni and Architect guitarist/recording engineer Jay Bailey along with Aaron, Jesse, and Graham.
To say that Ed Gein was a foundation for Hex Records is truly an understatement. Before they came along the label had some well-received records. But even now, when I meet people who are familiar with what I do inevitably Ed Gein’s name will frequently come up. It’s almost as if the label really started with them sometimes, and they started with this label, and then they wrapped up their time as a band in the place they started with. It’s humbling. And after all this time we’re all still friends, we still play shows together (as infrequently as that occurs), and we support each others businesses. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Smoked” is a solid chapter to close the book of Ed Gein on. No interviews necessary because at this point I’ve talked their ears off enough. If you haven’t heard the record(s), give them a listen.
I have a total of about a dozen of these double 7"s left. If you want one (or more) it will run you $5 this week because I want to get rid of them. You can find those HERE. If you're just a digital connoisseur feel free to drop $3 and get the tracks on sale this week HERE. Half the copies are on the bandcamp, the other half in the BigCartel store.