Ed Kemper Trio

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EK3 on tour in 1999. L-R: Glenn Grant, Vonda McLeod and Kenny Johnson

The Ed Kemper Trio was an independent Art/Noise rock band based in Montgomery, Alabama. The band was formed in 1997 after the breakup of two Montgomery-area noise rock bands, Bert and He is the Queen. EK3's sound was characterized by short asymmetrical song structures, sheer volume and odd meter. EK3 played hundreds of weekend shows and completed four Southern/Midwestern tours. The band translated its live show into three studio albums, two of which were recorded at Zero Return Studios by Jim Marrer, who engineered most Man or Astroman recordings for Touch and Go. In addition to the studio recordings the band released one live recording. EK3 was also the focus of the 2004 independently produced documentary People Will Eat Anything, directed by Shane Gillis. The band split up in 2004. Each former member is still active in the Montgomery music scene.

History[edit]

In the summer of 1997 ex-He is the Queen members Kenny Johnson (guitar and vocals) and Vonda McLeod (bass) formed the trio with Jason Singleton, drummer for local band 41 Down, which would later become the major label band Trust Company. Singleton soon left the band and Glenn Grant (Bert) joined cementing the line up. Within three months the band recorded a demo from which one song was released on a Chicken Ranch Records (Flat Duo Jets, The Woggels, Tiger! Tiger!) compilation based in Tennessee. EK3 immediately started touring the Deep South and would go on to do four independent tours of the Midwest. The band played two mini-tours with Man or Astroman, as well as shows with many noise, metal, and indie rock bands of the day including: Craw, The Flying Luttenbachers, Jucifer, Sweep the Leg Johnny, Ex Models, The Violent Femmes, The Locust, Hot Rod Circuit, Cream Abdul Babar, VHS or Beta, Pferd, Apollo Up, and others.

The band’s first two recordings were made in rural Elmore County, Alabama by Jim Marrer, engineer for most of Man or Astroman’s Touch and Go albums. During the recording of their second album, How to Win a Sword Fight, the band was signed to Tulsa, Oklahoma based Yawn Records and the CD was released in 2002 to mixed reviews. That was soon followed by their final studio recording, Hack, which was released by the Atlanta based label Moodswing Records. Hack was recorded at Sarcophagus Studios in West Point, Georgia by Lynn Brydges, Adam Vincent and Jamie Uertz, who would later record a session with Devendra Banhart for Young Gods Records (Michael Gira/Swans).

Due to the more experimental nature of Hack. A friend of the band, Dave Veatch, was recruited to play keyboards during their live sets. Although not a writing member Veatch’s addition to the band in 2003 was instrumental in expanding the scope of EK3's sound.

While active EK3 was featured, reviewed or mentioned in several magazines including: Copper Press, Chunklet, Skyscraper, Punk Planet, Alternative Press, Performer Magazine and others.

Years of touring strained the working relationship of the band and in June 2004 EK3 split up. Johnson and McLeod are currently in the band El Chupa Cobras. Glenn Grant plays drums in Unsect. Dave Veatch fronts the Rudy Banes Breakup. Johnson and Veatch are currently in Black Racers.

Members (1997-2004)[edit]

  • Kenny Johnson – guitar, keyboards and vocals
  • Vonda McLeod – bass, keyboards, samples and voice
  • Glenn Grant – drums, samples and keyboards

Other Personnel

  • Dave Veatch – keyboards 2003 -2004
  • Shane Gillis – guitar in 1997
  • Jason Singleton – drums in 1997
  • Jeff McLeod – bass in 2001 (Vonda recovering from knee surgery)

People Will Eat Anything[edit]

People Will Eat Anything is a documentary about the rock music scene in Montgomery, Alabama. During 2002 several Montgomery-area bands worked together to put on shows or festivals each weekend of the year. The film serves as a musical diary between 1999 and 2004.

The documentary begins with its focus on the Ed Kemper Trio. Even in the earliest stages of the band's development they established themselves as the one band that could hold the scene together and pull bands from other areas into it for added strength and diversity. The mid-film expansion into the lives and music of these other groups documents the diversity of the Montgomery music scene. Most of the major bands profiled in the film split up within a few months of each other.

The film moves chronologically as the scene develops, gains momentum, and suddenly collapses. The live performances and interviews establish a sense of how fragile any music scene can be. Included are live performances by: The Ed Kemper Trio, Last Transgression, Hematovore, Saragashum, Weak Music For Thomas, Supreme Dispassion, Pferd, Liquid Brick, Spiders and Flies and Scifu.

Running time is 117 minutes.

Discography[edit]

Ding Dong School/Evil (1999)

1. My Least Fav Part

2. Grinding Down in Two

3. Agitate To the Top

4. Pain in Sound Experiment

5. Scatter

6. Man With the Tommy Dorsey Ending

7. Moves On Its Belly

8. Alienating the Fan Base

9. Best Beats Even

10. Liquid Flesh

11. Science Rash

12. The Very Best Finishing Contestant

13. Debt Free and Posthumous Living

14. Little Pink Pencil

15. A Thing or Two About Self-Defense

How to Win a Sword Fight (2002)

1. Killed for This

2. Spells Devil Backwards

3. What's New, No. 2?

4. Scatter

5. Even Burns Underwater

6. And Here's Why

7. A Blow To the Head

8. Pain in Sound Experiment

9. Why Death Works

10. My Least Favorite Part

11. Liquid Flesh

12. Hard and Black

13. Bleeding Strategy

14. How to Escape from Killer Bees

15. Agitate to the Top

16. Little Pink Pencil

17. The Catastrophe Event

Hack (2003)

1. The Blacklist

2. Walks With a Limp

3. Post-Rock Reply

4. My Pants, on Fire

5. The Shoes of the Chief Justice's Wife...

6. ...Are Some Suck-Assed Slippers

7. A Big Time

8. The Art of Not Listening

9. Horns and a Tail

10. Lower G.I. Joe

11. When It's Too Much

12. People Will Eat Anything

13. #7 Needs Title

Like a Legless Baby… Dragging (2004)

1. Stay In School Sucka!

2. Post-Rock Supplies

3. My Pants On Fire

4. Kilt For This

5. Even Burn Ubervater

6. Breeding Strategy

7. Walks Like A Pimp

8. How To Escape Killer Steve

9. Horns And Some Tail

10. Debtors Prison And Southern Living

11. Alienating To The Top

12. Spells Dio Bakards

13. Little Pink Honkey

14. Guten Nacht

Compilations

“Jose! Ha!” on Chicken Ranch Round Up 4 (1999) – Chicken Ranch Records

“Next to You” on Many Miles Away: a tribute to The Police (2001) – Solarmanite Records

“Windshear” on Digging Out The Switch Again: a tribute to the Dazzling Killmen (2002) – Subversive Workshop

"Even Burns Underwater" on The Five Sounds (2002) - WMFT

Sources[edit]

Copper Press #14 “The Ed Kemper Trio” by Steve Brydges (Feb.1, 2003)[1]

EK3 interviews in “People Will Eat Anything” a film by Shane Gillis (2004)

Crucial Blast review of People Will Eat Anything [2]

Ink 19 article [3]

The Vanguard [4]

Hack on Buddha Kahn, a music blog. [5]

How To Win A Sword Fight on Buddha Kahn, a music blog. [6]

External links[edit]