The Surprising Way Mudvayne Explored Ed Gein

The dark and macabre often find their way into heavy music. From the gruesome lyrics of Cannibal Corpse to Korn singer Jonathan Davis' fascination with serial killers — as explored by Blabbermouth – it isn't unusual to find horror enmeshed in the musical genre. Riding the nu-metal wave of the 1990s, the band Mudvayne offered their own take on this darkness when they explored the humanity of notorious killer Ed Gein in "Nothing To Gein."

Gein was convicted of the murders of Mary Hogan and Bernice Worden. But he was most notorious for his grave robbing and corpse mutilation. After the death of his mother, Murderpedia claimed that Gein began to unearth corpses from graves and create trophies from their skin and bones. In this depravity, Mudvayne saw humanity.

In a 2000 interview with Unearthed, drummer Matt McDonough spoke about the band's decision to wade through non-fiction literature in search of "really dark topics" — a journey that led them to Gein.

According to McDonough, Gein has "become an almost fictional character" that cannot be explained by the traditional labels and formulas deployed by disciplines like psychology, science, or even religion. "The thing with Ed Gein is, I don't think anyone could ever explain him," he said.

Mudvayne tried to understand Gein's psyche

Despite Gein's unexplainable crimes, Mudvayne took a shot at understanding what made him tick. In "Nothing to Gein," lyrics posted at Genius reveal the band describing Gein's "sheltered life" with his mother, who they said maintained his "innocence" by protecting him from the outside world. The band uses the song to paint the scene of the killer wearing "aprons of flesh" and the skin of corpses on his face, and even suggests that the Butcher of Plainfield, as Gein was dubbed, believed that his mother's love was the only kind with meaning.

Singer Chad Gray shed light on the cause of his fascination with the killer when he spoke with Maximum Ink in 2001. In particular, he said that he found the unique relationship between Gein and his mother cathartic amid parental issues of his own that he was dealing with at the time.

Regardless of the band's interest in Gein, McDonough acknowledged that the killer had to be removed from society. During his talk with Unearthed, McDonough said"Still, I think Ed Gein reminds us that we live in a very mysterious, ever-changing, moving, the potential universe."

(Discovery+ will stream the documentary Ed Gein: The Real Psycho beginning April 9.)