The Keggs' sole 45 from 1967: One of the best Detroit records ever!

Feb 9, 2015 at 7:56 am

In order for a record to achieve true cult status, it doesn't hurt if there's an interesting and macabre story behind it, and of course it really helps if the thing is now impossibly rare. If the music is the kind of primitive outsider material that you wonder how it ever got pressed in the first place, that really helps.

The Westland-based Keggs' 1967 not-hit on the super obscure Orbit label rings all of those notes and more (many more, when you consider how far from tune this raw, proto-punk record is). First off, there's only one record by the band, because the singer was decapitated en route to practice, in a motorcycle wreck. Secondly, only 75 were pressed up, and those were made from a safety master after the Detroit studio they cut the record in went up in flames in the riots just days after they recorded the thing. Of those copies that did survive, all were given to friends and family, who mostly didn't think anything of it so they didn't hold on to the records. And finally, both songs are, in their own way, amazingly great. Listen for yourself!

About a dozen copies of the record are known to have survived. A physically broken-all-the-way-through copy that only plays if you weigh the tonearm down sold for almost $400 a few years ago, while the copy used for Back from the Grave vol. 6 (where most people first heard the band) sold a decade ago for over $2500 and would probably fetch twice that today. And actually, my favorite anecdote about the Keggs comes from the liner notes to that classic compilation. Allegedly, the band was so reviled, that they had to change their name for each show they played, or else no one would show up! Awwww, so much love for these misunderstood primitivists.