Dereck Higgins’ ‘The World is Burning’ tracks stretch back to Digital Sex days…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:51 pm July 9, 2018

Dereck Higgins’ The World Is Burning includes tracks that date back to his Digital Sex days.

by Tim McMahan,

Dereck Higgins has played in dozens of bands over the past 30+ years, but most notably was a member of seminal ’80s band Digital Sex. Higgins is still in at least a half dozen bands, including Son, Ambulance, Skuddar and RAF, not to mention his  solo work.

Last week a new collection of songs and recordings written and performed by Higgins that date back to his Digital Sex days was released by Randy LeMasters, a Pittsburgh-based music entrepreneur who released the last Digital Sex compilation Essence and Rarities back in ’94 as well as a 2012 collection of rarities by The Millions called Poison Fish.

“Randy is a super fan of my music, starting with his discovery of Digital Sex,” Higgins said. “When he traveled to Omaha in 2000 to meet me and see DS play we visited at my house. I played some of the stuff I recorded at home for my own sanity and enjoyment. He begged me to have copies.”

Over the years Higgins sent LeMasters CDs of recordings, which he said were never intended for public consumption. “A few years ago Randy approached me with the idea of releasing some of his favorites of the hundreds of songs I had sent him,” Higgins said. “I was reluctant at first but agreed.”

Titled The World Is Burning, the CD is limited to 300, of which about 100 already have been sold via Higgins’ website, which is the only place you can buy them locally. “Put simply, if you actually like the music of Digital Sex you will like this,” Higgins said. “Some music is as old as 1984, (with the) most recent likely from the ’90s. I wrote the original music and played all of the instruments on the home recordings, the same recordings from which Digital Sex sprang from — drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.”

Higgins said the title track reflects our current national state of affairs. “…Things have only gotten worse since I wrote the song,” he said. “It’s a totally topical song about the state of the world.”

You’ll get a chance to hear Higgins perform songs off the new album live at The Down Under Lounge July 19 as part of his residency at the club. The night also will include a performance by Todd Grant of the band Compost whose solo album, 1994’s Strangled Soul, is one of my faves.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


The return of Stephen Sheehan (ex-Digital Sex); Big Thief, Thick Paint tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:42 pm July 13, 2017

Stephen Sheehan (ex-Digital Sex) returns to the stage Aug. 18 at Reverb.

by Tim McMahan,

One band that is part of Omaha’s music folklore is Digital Sex. The band, who at its core was Stephen Sheehan, Dereck Higgins and John Tingle, released material in the late ’80s and last reunited in ’94. You can read about their history and that ’94 reunion right here.

Digital Sex split up shortly after that reunion and hasn’t played since, despite almost constant calls for another reunion. Well now, fans of Digital Sex will finally get to hear some of those songs again when when Stephen Sheehan performs at Reverb Lounge Aug. 18, the night before the Maha Music Festival.

Called “Stephen Sheehan: A Reunion of Songs 1982-2017,” the show will feature Sheehan performing songs from his bands Digital Sex, The World and Between the Leaves backed by a band that includes Donovan Johnson on keyboards, Randy Cotton on bass, Ben Sieff on guitar (all from Bennie and the Gents) and Dan Crowell on drums, who played in the final version of Digital Sex in 1994.

Sheehan says it was his work with Bennie and the Gents as part of a David Bowie tribute concert in January 2016 that sparked the idea of returning to the stage to perform his own material.

“This has been a thought of mine for several years, to do a retrospective show with musicians who could test the elasticity in the songs,” Sheehan said. “I’ve always been interested in hearing artists revisit their songs and ‘develop’ them years after they were written, even if it means only a slight flourish. I’ve never really done that with my material. It’s always been about performing them as close to the recording as possible.”

Sheehan said he approached the guys in Bennie and the Gents specifically for this project as they are “master interpreters.”

“With many of the songs, we are straddling the line between note-for-note reproduction and 2017 interpretation,” he said. “I don’t want to be bored doing these songs as I always have and I don’t want the band to feel they are a human jukebox.”

In addition to the greatest hits selection, Sheehan and company also will perform a new song. That said, he says the Aug. 18 performance is a one-and-done sort of thing… as of now.

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As of this writing, that Big Thief show tonight at O’Leaver’s is still not sold out. Surprised? I know I am. I still anticipate a crushed room tonight at the club. Thick Paint opens. $10, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.