REVIEWS/PRESS

The most brilliant, left-field Brooklyn band you have never heard of.”

Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music

The amazing Kenny Young and the Eggplants are a very well kept secret. But now the time has come for everybody to know the Eggplants are the most amusing, wonderful, whacky band in this or any other town.”

— Alexander McCall Smith

New York City seems like a much nicer place these days than it used to be.  I am convinced that no small part of that has to do with Kenny Young and the Eggplants, who have been making music there for a bit over a decade now.  The Eggplants mix brainy, funny lyrics with a fine sense of what makes pop music wonderful, and they are intensely dedicated to showing their audience a good time.”

— Dr. Demento

Giving eloquent voice to the multifaceted neuroses of prolonged adolescence.  ”

— The New York Times

Edinburgh Fringe Preview – Part 1 Every year a host of top musicians and acts descend upon Edinburgh as part of the annual Fringe Festival. With so many artists of all genres and styles to choose from it can sometimes be an overwhelming challenge to skim through and find the ones you like. Luckily, we have taken that challenge on so you don’t have to, and picked out some of the acts we are most looking forward to. Kenny Young and the Eggplants have a sound as weird as the name suggests, actually perhaps even weirder. The trio come from Brooklyn, but are no strangers to Scotland having won a Herald Angel at a previous Fringe Festival outing. They have also won themselves a famous Scottish fan in the shape of author Alexander McCall Smith who said “The Amazing Kenny Young and the Eggplants are a very well kept secret. But now the time has come for everybody to know the Eggplants are the most amusing, wonderful, whacky band in this or any other town.” Their songs include topic matters such as giant squirrels and malevolent washing-machines, so expect a show not entirely rooted on the serious side of reality.”

Thomas Brent, Tenement TV

I can't remember the last time a band made me laugh, whilst still marveling at their ability to pen an interesting tune. Actually, I can. The band concerned was Kenny Young and the Eggplants, and I nearly wet myself drinking in their peculiarly surreal and litigiously funny show at Telfords Warehouse in Chester last year.... The New York Times said of the band that they give eloquent voice to the multifaceted neuroses of adolescence. I say they're the three funniest kids in your year at school, after one too many kool-aids with the Merry Pranksters. Somewhere between the two statements is a tuneful, inventive, amusing truth. ... I love this band. I love to heckle this band, but sometimes that doesn't work out so well. Other patrons of their gigs get a bit pissed off and think that I'm being disrespectful - but nothing could be further from the truth. I'm down with Kenny, Gil and Eddie. When they're in town, the stars are smiling ... See you soon, most egg-celent musical auber-geniuses from Brooklyn.”

— Adam Walton, BBC Radio Wales

****CARVING their singular niche somewhere between whimsy, psychedelia and classic lo-fi pop, this endearingly oddball Brooklyn trio first played the Fringe in the early 1990s, back at the old Acoustic Music Centre on Chambers Street. The Eggplants' withdrawal from the August festival fray some years back mean these return shows by singer/guitarist Young, bassist Gil Shuster and percussionist Eddie Logue thus have something of a homecoming flavour. There was a nearly full house in attendance on opening night, and several fans had submitted requests long in advance. For those new to the experience, though, the very first number provided a pretty good introduction. Entitled Eggplantis, it describes the band's spiritual home as a lost undersea city inhabited by animated vegetables, a story narrated via as many terrible puns as possible. The second proceeds from the viewpoint of "five innocent T-shirts", trapped in a broken washing machine, while the next begins with the line "Curtis Mayfield's on the moon". A subsequent enquiry as to whether we're "ready for some arena rock" leads into a song about a six-foot squirrel (named Earl, because it nearly rhymes, in a Brooklyn accent), complete with random musical allusions to the Rolling Stones. Also on an animal theme, the brilliant Lushy the Grouse, featuring a children's cartoon character with a drinking problem, surely has its origins in a certain famous whisky advert. If such glimpses into the Eggplants' world are leaving you cold, they're probably not a taste you're likely to acquire. Those tickled by the humour, however, may be further tempted by the threesome's impressively taut though understated musicianship, deftly weaving in strands of blues, soul, funk and folk, and setting Young's gently catchy melodies against sharp, punchy rhythm work.”

— Sue Wilson, The Scotsman

They are immature perhaps but Kenny and the Eggplants are having far too much fun to stop The official version is that they met when they were all hired by Nasa. zany TRIO: Kenny Young and the Eggplants featuring Eddie Logue and bassist Gil Shuster. But why, you might ask, would Nasa want to hire musicians who turned out to be useless astronauts, especially musicians whose songs include such classics as Attack of the Manic Librarian, Rage Against the Washing Machine and a eulogy to Earl the Squirrel? A slew of other songs that concern life on the planet Eggplantis might suggest that Kenny Young and the Eggplants are indeed space cadets or even immature. The truth, however, is that these Fringe regulars and Herald Angel winners from Brooklyn wouldn't take offence at accusations of immaturity, and that they're having far too much fun to stop. They may even have found the secret of eternal youth; Young by name and young by nature, as Mr Young has it. We never set out to be teen idols," says Young down the line from New York. "And some might say that's just as well. But our first thought was that if we could entertain ourselves we might entertain other people and we just kind of stumbled into this thing that we do that we all enjoy. Heaven help the compilers of pop features along the lines of those that divulged the Beatles' favourite food and sundry minutiae had Young and his Eggplants ever come close to superstardom. He's not a man who feels comfortable giving straight responses to straight questions but he will concede that at a certain point in his youth he was invited to sing with a band at a party and enjoyed the experience so much that he decided that he needed to be involved in music. I also decided that I needed to learn to play the guitar because I pretty quickly realised that I was never going to be able to hear myself if I was playing with a bunch of teenage guitarists whose idea of volume control was to turn it up," he says. "So I got a guitar and as soon as I started playing I thought, this is what I want to do. I wouldn't have known who was playing guitar on any given record because they didn't announce such things on the radio. But later I discovered that the guy playing the really cool stuff on Elvis's records was Scotty Moore and that Stax records had Steve Cropper and I gravitated to people who could find exactly the right guitar part for a song without drawing attention to themselves. People like Curtis Mayfield, George Harrison, Dave Davies - they were all great at that. Young could go on at considerable length about his guitar heroes - Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck , Brian May, Chuck Berry, Charlie Christian and Johnny Ramone provide a random sample - but guitar heroism, like pop stardom, was never in his plans. Meeting percussionist Eddie Logue and bassist Gil Shuster was the beginning of a long friendship that has seen the trio play at an impressive array of prestigious venues including the Royal Festival Hall and Ronnie Scott's in London and BB King's in New York as well as returning to the Fringe with, this year, promises of playing a set of theme tunes from their TV work in a parallel universe. Young began writing character songs, although not exclusively, as soon as he put his first set of lyrics to a melody and chord sequence and as soon as Logue and Shuster heard his offbeat creations, they got the zany humour and agreed that was the way to go. There have been times, Young says, where he's "crossed the line". A song about rats in the New York subway system got the thumbs down from the Eggplants and Young says that, looking back, they've always been right to censor him because he's recycled the basic ideas into something more suitable. We have been told that if we could be normal we'd be more successful," he says. "But we've always disregarded that advice. It's not that we don't appreciate being able to play big theatres and I've had moments when I've thought, this is really cool, I should remember what this feels like. But we rather like that our audiences can be children or pensioners - or both - or somewhere in between, and we know that love songs to aliens are not going to be to everyone's taste. It's our job, though, to win people over or perplex them, hopefully the former. And what was it about eggplants that made them become such an obsession? Well, firstly it's a fun word," says Young. "But we also like the idea that in the vegetable kingdom the eggplant would be the rebel. ”

Rob Adams, The Herald (Scotland)

****Parents of Harry Potter fans wondering how to fill the void after the publication of the boy wizard’s final adventure may wish to consider trading quidditch for Auberginemania. A “suitable for ages nine to 90” mental health warning would be no exaggeration – in fact, one of these endearingly nutty New Yorkers’ Fringe gigs boasted just such a demographic in attendance – for the appeal of a band whose most popular songs include the tale of T-shirts raging against a despotic washing machine and My Dinner With Elvis, in which our hero not only spots the King’s face in a pizza but gets savvy advice into the bargain. Not only that, they also teach kids to say “please” before granting their requests.Songs from their brand-new album that look certain to join the Eggplant Hot List include the title track, The House at Creepy Lake, which carries a “scary song alert” but only gets scary because resident poltergeists get freaked when a navel-gazing singer-songwriter arrives next door, and the delightfully silly Attack of the Maniac Librarian. An hour of gentle insanity with irresistible tunes.”

— Rob Adams, The Herald (Glasgow, Scotland)

****A Fringe star receives a lovely e-mail from a female admirer, requesting that when he gets to Edinburgh, he sings her favourite song especially for her. The star feels flattered, senses promise and then discovers that the fan is six years old and she's here with her parents.Cue much hilarity, or as it's known on the planet Eggplant, business as usual. Kenny Young is a singer-guitarist-songwriter who can't help having innocent fun with words and creating kooky situations, and he delights in sharing them with a self-deprecating, natural storyteller's flair.So we have T-shirts trying to keep their necks above water in Rage Against the Washing Machine, an alcoholic grouse whose best pal is a worm that lives in a tequila bottle, and a gregarious squirrel called Earl who sings - all together now - "Squirrels just want to have fun".With the Eggplants variously playing bass guitar and multifarious electronic and acoustic percussion and having Star Wars sword fights with the audience, it's like a kids' party that's continued for the grown-ups and possibly the most charmingly diverting hour on the Fringe.”

— Rob Adams, The Herald (Glasgow, Scotland)