Born in 1978, in Gainesville, Florida, Brick Smith hails from the same hallowed oak forests as Bo Diddley, Stephen Stills, and Tom Petty. He moved to California in 2000 with the dream of one day owning a medical marijuana dispensary. In 2006, he met Isadora Crumb during one of her open-air performances in People’s Park in Berkeley. In one of those rare aligning-of-the-stars moments, both Trent Hardmeat and Cornelius Berg happen to separately be in attendance. Hardmeat was visiting in relation to his thesis work as a PhD in physics at Stanford, while Berg was presenting a power point on the effect of the Maunder Minimum on Stradivarius quality to a mixed audience of the Climatology and Music schools. Berg met Hardmeat a year later at Stanford, and Hardmeat met Isadora a two years after that while both were doing community service. Brick had been hanging around Isadora since that fateful day in 2006, and so, Bigfoot Woman was born.
After some initial procedural differences, by 2010, they had begun work in earnest. What exactly these early recordings sounded like remains a mystery, as they were commissioned by a wealthy Japanese benefactor, known only to Berg (the details of this arrangement and the identity of Berg’s benefactor have since been more or less publicly disclosed). Regardless, at least four full albums have been acknowledged by the group as having been completed, though not released. The unusual, if not bizarre, move of not releasing fully completed albums (down to even the cover design, supposedly) can be chalked up to a strong sense of the artistic integrity of the discography in Berg.
“There is an implied narrative when a fan discovers a new band and starts listening through their discography,” said Berg in an interview with Head, Nut, Neck in 2014. While Crumb has expressed disappointment with the process, going so far as to call Berg “anal-retentive”, Hardmeat is “…in complete agreement with Cornelius’ system,” and Smith “…don’t care.”
If there has been mild discord within the group over the years, it perhaps is due less to Berg’s strict artistic philosophy, and has more to do with the rumored love-triangle of Smith, Crumb, and Hardmeat. However, in the last year all three of them have gone on the record in various publications dismissing these stories. Said Smith, “…that was years ago, I just want to jam.”
And jam he has, culminating in the first release (recording dates unclear, of course) of their career with Bigfoot Woman. The album unveils a classic tale of love and loss through the lens of modernity. We experience the joys of satisfying a long-suffered yearning. We live the confidence and affirmation that only comes from battling life’s vagaries together as one, and we drown with its inevitable evolution to a complacency that eats away at the human heart like a cancer. Our silent screams in solitude are heard wailing with futility in this masterpiece’s final seconds.