Kenneth Higney’s absurd album Attic Demonstration, issued on his own Kebrutney Records in 1976, has gained a reputation as an outsider classic over the years.
The album was originally recorded to promote the former truck driver’s work as a songwriter, with Higney roping in friends Gordon Gaines (guitars, drums), John Duva (bass guitar), and Mark Volpe (guitar, percussion) to help fill out the sound. The collection of demos was never intended for commercial release, however when none of Higney’s songs proved sellable he had a limited run of just 500 copies pressed, “because I figured it was easier than constantly making up cassette tapes to send out,” he explained in a 2011 interview for It’s Psychedelic Baby magazine.
One of those 500 discs found its way to the editors of Trouser Press, who called Higney’s work a “cross between Lou Reed and Neil Young without the aid of melody”. That’s a pretty accurate description, and although Higney was none too flattered, he did like the idea of his work being mentioned alongside such luminaries as Reed and Young. In 1980 he released a 7”, I Wanna Be The King/Funky Kinky, a tribute to New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders backed with a hideous stab at disco. The single, limited to just 1,000 copies, again featured Gaines and Volpe, plus John Lynch on bass. It’s a delightful mess.
After years in obscurity, occasionally issuing recordings by other artists through his Kebrutney label, Higney resurfaced in 2003, reissuing Attic Demonstration (or “A Demo”) as a limited run of 3,000 CD copies and adding the two sides of the single in for good measure. He followed that six years later with a new album, American Dirt. Many of the songs on the album were written around the same time as those on Attic Demonstration, which featured musicians such as Jack Pearson, formerly of The Allman Brothers Band. Two years later he issued his third album, Ambulance Driver: a collection of newer songs but still with one – Nonsense – from the Attic Demonstration days.
You can purchase all of Kenneth’s work via his own website, http://www.kebrutney.com/
Here are a couple of the standout tracks from Attic Demonstration, Quietly Leave Me and Night Rider, Higney’s song about the Ku Klux Klan.
Download Quietly HERE
Download Night HERE