Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Not since Darby Crash died around the same time as John Lennon has a great musician's death been so overshadowed - this time Sky Saxon's death happening on the day as Michael Jackson's. Fitting I guess, since his crucial '60s garage/psych/punk band The Seeds is always overlooked every time Los Angeles' Sunset Strip scene is discussed. Everyone always talks about The Doors, The Buffalo Springfield, The Mamas & The Papas, Love, etc. Some of those bands certainly did some great stuff, but for some of us, it's all about bands like The Leaves, The Standells, and The Seeds. Wild 'n' crazy garage punk at it's finest, all fuzzed-out three chord raunch, hyper tempos, sleazy electric organ, some guy yellin' about puttin' his baby down.

Even in this wiggy world, Saxon stood out. After The Seed's demise, he realized that his initials (S.S.) were the same as Hitler's secret police so he added the middle name "Sunlight." He joined forces with the The Source Family cult, who were headed by a guy named Father Yod who led a band called Ya Ho Wa 13. Their numerous private-press recordings of free-form psychedelia were released by Saxon.
I remember listening to an interview with Saxon on the Rodney On The ROQ show in the '80s were he announced he was a "fruitarian." Not a vegetarian, a fruitarian.

In the '60s when fellow Cali garage-punks the Chocolate Watch Band opened for The Seeds one night, they played The Seeds latest album
in it's entirety. It was such simple, basic 3-chord stuff, they learned it all in one day. They just thought this stunt would be funny, but The Seeds, fuming, had no choice but to go out after them, play all the songs everyone had just heard, and get booed. Totally fucked-up, wrong, indefensible...but so damn funny.

Nothing funny about their music. Songs like "Pushin' Too Hard" were big hits, but my fave tune of theirs is "Evil Hoodoo," an awesome 3-note fuzz-bass (no doubt played by Sky himself) trippy rocker. It builds momentum so well it's not too long even at a five-plus minute length. Psychedelic in the best possible sense - no meandering mellowness here. This tune is available on this comp, but I have the vinyl:

The Seeds: "Evil Hoodoo"

Turn out the lights, put on a strobe light, crank this up, and dance like a spazz.


-Ed said...

I remember that he was in a great movie called Psych-Out

Mr Fab said...

Was he? Been so long since I've seen that film I forgot. I just remember Jack Nicholson's band playing a ripoff of "Purple Haze."

Olra Setay said...

Sky Saxon was a legend - a friend of mine did some recording with him a couple of years ago and put him up in his flat. He tells of how the man himself boasted of turning Janis Joplin on to heroin and espoused a theory that he was only still alive because he'd never stopped taking drugs (shame that didn't work out) - he also accused said friend of stealing a girl he had his eye on and when they went to bed he followed them into the bedroom to ensure the newly met couple didn't get up to anything all the while telling my bud how uncool he was for stealing someone elses woman. They don't make 'em like that anymore.

Nice blog by the way.