The Seeds

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The Seeds
The group in 1966. From left: Rick Andridge, Daryl Hooper, Sky Saxon, and Jan Savage
The group in 1966. From left: Rick Andridge, Daryl Hooper, Sky Saxon, and Jan Savage
Background information
OriginLos Angeles, California, United States
GenresPsychedelic rock,[1] acid rock,[2] garage rock, proto-punk
Years active1965–1969, 1969–1972 (as Sky Saxon and the Seeds), 1989, 2003–2009
LabelsGNP Crescendo, MGM Records, Bam Caruso
Past membersSky Saxon
Daryl Hooper
Jan Savage
Rick Andridge
Don Boomer
Bob Norsoph
Bill Chiapparelli
Paul Kopf
Jeff Prentice
Alec Palao
Rik Collins
Mark Bellgraph
Dave Klein
Justin Polimeni
Jeremy Levine
Harvey Sharpe
Jimmy Valentine
Sean M'Lady
Dave Walle
Tommy Gunn
Christopher Robin
Gary Stern
Don Bolles
Geoff Brandin
Kevin Dippold
Atomic
Justino

The Seeds were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1965. The group became known for psychedelic rock music and is considered a prototype for garage punk rock bands.[3][4][5][6]

Formation[edit]

The Seeds were formed in 1965 when lead singer Sky Saxon responded to an advertisement. Saxon, who had relocated to Los Angeles from Salt Lake City, had recorded a string of 45s under the name Richie Marsh. The band secured regular gigs at the LA club Bido Lito's and quickly gained a local reputation for high energy live performances.[7]

Keyboardist Daryl Hooper was a major factor in the Seeds' sound; the band was one of the first to utilize keyboard bass. Guitarists Jan Savage (born Buck Jan Reeder)[8] and Jeremy Levine along with drummer Rick Andridge completed the original quintet, but Levine left shortly after the first recording sessions for personal reasons. Although Sky Saxon was usually credited as bass player, he did not play bass on any of the Seeds' recordings. This was handled by session musicians, usually Harvey Sharpe. On stage, keyboardist Daryl Hooper would perform the bass parts via a separate bass keyboard, in the same manner as Ray Manzarek later did with The Doors.

Recordings and TV appearances[edit]

The Seeds' first single, "Can't Seem to Make You Mine", was a regional hit in Southern California in 1965. The song was also played regularly on AM rock stations in northern California (and probably elsewhere), where it was well received by listeners, and eventually went on to become, and is considered today, a 60s cult classic song. The band had a national Top 40 hit, "Pushin' Too Hard", in 1966 and performed the song on national television. Three subsequent singles, "Mr. Farmer" (also 1966), a re-release of "Can't Seem To Make You Mine" (1967), and "A Thousand Shadows" (1967) achieved more modest success, although all were most popular in southern California. Musically uncomplicated with a flair for simple melodic hooks and dominated by Saxon's unorthodox vocal delivery, their first two albums, The Seeds and A Web of Sound, are today considered classics of 1960s garage music.[citation needed]

A major turning point for the Seeds came in 1967. The band's self-produced third album Future presented a grander psychedelic artistic statement and thrust the group forward as torchbearers during perhaps the most creative and experimental time in American pop culture and music history. The more expansive musical style with accompanying orchestration – presented with a gatefold sleeve featuring ornate flower-themed artwork by painter Sassin – was a departure from the rawer tone of the band's previous hits, but nevertheless received acclaim from fans and critics as a notable work of flower power psychedelia. It remains a genre curiosity piece today and is regarded as a pioneering effort in full-blown psychedelic rock. Iggy Pop, Smashing Pumpkins, Animal Collective and members of the Beach Boys have all sourced the band, mentioning this album and previous ones as genre classics.[citation needed]

The release of Future in mid-1967 generally marked the commercial peak of the Seeds’ career, coinciding with a major national hit, raucous concerts, numerous live TV performances, as well as prominent guest appearances on the NBC sitcom The Mothers-in-Law and in the hippie/counterculture-themed cult film Psych-Out. The Seeds also recorded another album devoted specifically to the blues (with liner notes by Muddy Waters). A Full Spoon of Seedy Blues, bearing the artist moniker Sky Saxon Blues Band, was released in November 1967.

In May 1968 the band released their final LP for GNP Crescendo Records, Raw & Alive: The Seeds in Concert at Merlin's Music Box, which musically revisited their more aggressive garage rock roots. However, the album and its accompanying single "Satisfy You" both failed to chart nationally. The band was renamed "Sky Saxon and the Seeds" in 1968, by which point Bob Norsoph (guitar) and Don Boomer (drums) had replaced Savage and Andridge respectively. Saxon continued to use the name "The Seeds", utilizing various backup musicians, at least through 1972. The last major-label records of new material by The Seeds —two non-charting singles on MGM records – were released in 1970.

Dissolution and reformation[edit]

After the dissolution of the Seeds, Sky Saxon joined the Yahowha religious group, inspired by their leader Father Yod. Although a member of the Source Family for several years, Saxon did not participate in any of the albums released by Yahowha 13 in the mid 1970s. He does appear on the "Golden Sunrise" album by Fire Water Air, which was a Yahowha 13 offshoot, and later recorded the "Yod Ship Suite" album in memory of the deceased Father Yod. In the 1970s, Saxon also released the solo LPs "Lovers Cosmic Voyage" (credited to Sunlight) and "Live at the Orpheum" credited to Sunlight Rainbow. In the 1980s, Saxon collaborated with several bands—including Redd Kross and The Chesterfield Kings—before reforming the original Seeds in 1989 to headline "The Summer of Love Tour", along with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Arthur Lee and Love, The Music Machine, and The Strawberry Alarm Clock.[citation needed]

The Seeds remained dormant again until 2003, when Saxon reformed them with original guitarist Jan Savage and newcomers Rik Collins on bass, Mark Bellgraph on guitar, and Dave Klein on keyboards and Justin Polimeni on Drums. This new version of the Seeds went through several incarnations, with Savage departing midway through their 2003 European tour due to his health. Saxon remained the only original member of the Seeds, which continued to tour Europe and the United States.

Saxon died on June 25, 2009 of heart and kidney failure.[9] The Seeds' original drummer Rick Andridge died in 2011.[10] Jan Savage died on August 5, 2020, aged 77.[8]

Legacy and influence[edit]

The Seeds have been among the most frequently cited pre-punk influences by American punk musicians since the 1970s. Cover versions of various Seeds songs have been recorded by The Dwarves, Alex Chilton,[11] Johnny Thunders,[12] The Ramones,[13] Yo La Tengo,[14] Garbage,[15] Murder City Devils,[16] Spirits in the Sky,[17] Paul Parker,[18] Pere Ubu,[19] The Makers,[20] The Embarrassment,[21] The Bangles,[22] The Rubinoos,[23] Strawberry Alarm Clock,[24] and other artists. Some lyrics in Frank Zappa's album Joe's Garage satirically refer to "Pushin' Too Hard": "You're plooking too hard, Plooking too hard on ME".[25]

On July 24, 2009, members of The Smashing Pumpkins, members of The Strawberry Alarm Clock, Nels Cline and The Electric Prunes performed a tribute concert at the Echoplex in Los Angeles in memory of Sky Saxon.[26]

A 2014 feature-length documentary film about the Seeds titled The Seeds: Pushin' Too Hard was directed by Neil Norman. The film draws on first-hand knowledge of the band, interviews, and concert footage. [3][27][28] In June 2017, a "reunited version" of the band (with founding member Daryl Hooper and drummer Don Boomer and adding Paul Kopf on lead vocals) gave their first performance after a viewing of the documentary at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley, California. The band continues to perform to this day. [29]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Song Peak chart positions
U.S. Billboard[30] U.S. Cashbox CAN
1965 "Can't Seem to Make You Mine"
b/w "Daisy Mae"
"Pushin' Too Hard"
b/w "Out of the Question"
1966 "Pushin' Too Hard" (re-release)
b/w "Try to Understand"
36 40[31] 44
"Mr. Farmer"
b/w "No Escape"
1967 "Mr. Farmer" (re-release)
b/w "Up in Her Room"
86
"Can't Seem to Make You Mine" (re-release)
b/w "I Tell Myself"
41 55[32] 33
"A Thousand Shadows"
b/w "March of the Flower Children"
72 86[33]
"The Wind Blows Your Hair"
b/w "Six Dreams"
1968 "Satisfy You"
b/w "900 Million People Daily Making Love"
1969 "Fallin' Off the Edge of My Mind"
b/w "Wild Blood"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reid, Graham (October 13, 2014). "The Seeds: Singles As and Bs 1065–1970 (Big Beat/Border)". Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  2. ^ Patoski, Joe Nick (February 1979). "Gather Ye Records While Ye May". Texas Monthly. Vol. 7 no. 2. p. 144. ISSN 0148-7736.
  3. ^ a b Brian Addison (July 10, 2014). "Prototype Garage Punk Band The Seeds to Have Documentary Screening in Long Beach". Long Beach Post. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Weber, Bruce (June 26, 2009). "Sky Saxon, Lead Singer and Bassist for the Seeds, Dies". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Pehling, Dave (January 1, 2019). "Iconic LA Bands From '60s Team Up at the Chapel". San Francisco: CBS News.
  6. ^ Peter Buckley (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. p. 916. ISBN 9781843531050.
  7. ^ Spitz, Mark (2001). We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk. Danvers, Massachusetts: Three Rivers Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-609-80774-3. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Buck Jan Savage, October 23, 1942 - August 5, 2020", The Ada News. Retrieved 8 August 2020
  9. ^ "Yahoo". Spinner.com. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  10. ^ "'The Seeds: Pushin' Too Hard': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  11. ^ "'Bangkok/Can't Seem to Make You Mine' – Overview". AllMusic. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  12. ^ Schoemer, Karen (April 1989). "Spin Offs". Spin. SPIN Media LLC. 5 (1): 113. ISSN 0886-3032.
  13. ^ "Album Reviews". Billboard. 106 (3): 44. January 15, 1994. ISSN 0006-2510.
  14. ^ Robbins, Ira. "Trouser Press – Yo La Tengo". Trouser Press. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  15. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (2006). The Great Rock Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 431. ISBN 978-1-84195-860-6.
  16. ^ Cantalini, Chris (August 25, 2007). "Can't Seem to Make You Mine". Gorilla vs. Bear. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  17. ^ Bronson, Kevin (August 29, 2009). "Billy Corgan, Dave Navarro Debut 10 Songs". Spin. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  18. ^ Shapiro, Peter (2006). Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco. New York: Faber and Faber. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-86547-952-4.
  19. ^ "Datapanik in Year Zero - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved August 2, 2010.
  20. ^ "Shout On!/Hip-Notic – Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved August 2, 2010.
  21. ^ "Blister Pop – Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved August 2, 2010.
  22. ^ McIntosh, Dan (August 14, 2007). "The Bangles: Return to Bangleonia: Live in Concert [DVD]". PopMatters). Retrieved August 2, 2010.
  23. ^ "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Rubinoos – Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved August 2, 2010.
  24. ^ Britton, Wesley (June 24, 2012). "Music Review: Strawberry Alarm Clock – 'Wake Up Where You Are'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  25. ^ McDonald, Lisa (October 27, 2010). "Project/Object an interview with Andre Cholmondeley". TimesSquare.com. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  26. ^ "A Tribute to Sky Saxon – at The Echoplex – Los Angeles / Silverlake, CA – July 24, 2009". Big Wheel Magazine. July 24, 2009. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  27. ^ Stax, Mike (2013). "A Web of Seeds" Issue 35, Ugly Things Magazine.
  28. ^ Kubernik, Harvey (2013). "Pushin' Too Hard: Rags to Riches in the New Seeds Documentary" recordcollectornews.com. Retrieved August 21, 2013
  29. ^ Lynch, Joe (June 2, 2017). "The Seeds: Pioneering Garage Rock Drummer Talks '60s Revolution & Reuniting Nearly 50 Years Later". Billboard.
  30. ^ "The Seeds Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  31. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 2/25/67". Cashbox Magazine, Inc. Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  32. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 6/3/67". Cashbox Magazine, Inc. Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  33. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 8/5/67". Cashbox Magazine, Inc. Archived from the original on September 11, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2012.

External links[edit]