Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
L.A. garage band whose petulant attitude and swirling, organ-powered garage-psych contributed a couple of classics to the ’60s rock canon.
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Artist Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Best known for their rock & roll standard “Pushin’ Too Hard,” the Seeds combined the raw, Stonesy appeal of garage rock with a fondness for ragged, trashy psychedelia. And though they never quite matched the commercial peak of their first two singles, “Pushin’ Too Hard” and “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine,” the band continued to record for the remainder of the ’60s, eventually delving deep into post-Sgt. Pepper’s psychedelia and art rock. None of their new musical directions resulted in another hit single, and the group disbanded at the turn of the decade.
Sky Saxon (born Richard Marsh; vocals) and guitarist Jan Savage formed the Seeds with keyboardist Daryl Hooper and drummer Rick Andridge in Los Angeles in 1965. By the end of 1966, they had secured a contract with GNP Crescendo, releasing “Pushin’ Too Hard” as their first single. The song climbed into the Top 40 early in 1967, and the group immediately released two sound-alike singles, “Mr. Farmer” and “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine,” in an attempt to replicate their success; the latter came the closest to being a hit, just missing the Top 40. While their singles were garage punk, the Seeds attempted to branch out into improvisational blues-rock and psychedelia on their first two albums, The Seeds (1966) and Web of Sound (1966). With their third album, Future (1967), the band attempted a psychedelic concept album in the vein of Sgt. Pepper’s. While the record reached the Top 100 and spawned the minor hit “A Thousand Shadows,” it didn’t become a hit. Two other albums — Raw & Alive: The Seeds in Concert at Merlin’s Music Box (1968) and A Full Spoon of Seedy Blues (1969), which was credited to the Sky Saxon Blues Band — were released at the end of the decade, but both were ignored. The Seeds broke up shortly afterward. A collection of rarities and alternate takes, Fallin’ off the Edge, was released in 1977
During the early ’70s, Saxon led a number of bands before retreating from society and moving to Hawaii. Savage became a member of the Los Angeles Police Department; he died on August 8, 2020.
Find The Seeds biography and history on AllMusic – Best known for their rock & roll standard…
The seeds band
Best-known for their Rock ‘n’ Roll standard “Pushin’ Too Hard”, The Seeds combined the raw appeal of Garage-Rock with a fondness for ragged, trashy psychedelia.
Vocalist Sky Saxon, born Richard Elvern Marsh in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 20th, 1937, began his professional musical career in the early 1960s when he recorded a string of 45s under the name Little Richie Marsh. After changing his stage name to Sky Saxon, he formed The Electra-Fires in 1962 and later Sky Saxon And The Soul Rockers. Saxon and guitarist Jan Savage formed The Seeds with keyboardist Daryl Hooper and drummer Rick Andridge in Los Angles in 1965. The band secured steady work at the Los Angeles club Bido Lito’s and quickly gained a local following based on their high energy stage show.
They quickly recorded a Sky Saxon original called “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine” and started shopping it around to various record companies. After being turned down several times, the independent record label GNP Crescendo invited them into their studio to re-record the number. After Santa Monica’s radio station KBLA added it to their play list, the song became a regional hit, but failed to break nationally. Late in the year the band released another of Saxon’s tunes, “Pushin’ Too Hard”. Its raw, simple riff and Saxon’s howling, half-spoken intonation established a pattern that remained almost unchanged throughout the group’s career. The song climbed to #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 near the end of February, 1967, and the group immediately released a sound-alike single, “Mr. Farmer”, which stalled at #90. Trying to capitalize on their recent success, GNP Crescendo re-issued “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine”, and this time out it reached #41. June of that year brought another Saxon original, “A Thousand Shadows”, which spent four weeks on the Billboard chart, peaking at #72. It also reached #86 on the Cash Box Best Sellers list. The Seeds were a hot item and made several live TV appearances as well as guest spots on the NBC sitcom The Mothers-in-Law and in the cult film Psych-Out.
While their singles were Garage-Punk, The Seeds attempted to branch out into improvisational Blues-Rock and psychedelia on their first two albums, “The Seeds” and “Web of Sound”, both in 1966. With their third album, 1967’s “Future”, the band attempted a psychedelic concept album in the vein of The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper”. Unfortunately the LP only managed to get to #100 for one week. In November of ’67 The Seeds issued an LP devoted specifically to Blues numbers called “A Spoon Full of Seedy Blues” under the name The Sky Saxon Blues band. Predictably, the LP isolated their Rock ‘n’ Roll fan base and flopped miserably. May of 1968 brought one final album for GNP Crescendo Records called “Raw & Alive: The Seeds in Concert at Merlin’s Music Box”, which returned the band to it’s Garage/Rock roots. Neither the LP or the single taken from it, “Satisfy You” charted nationally. The band was then renamed to the more logical Sky Saxon And The Seeds, at which point guitarist Bob Norsoph and drummer Don Boomer replaced Jan Savage and Rick Andridge respectively. Two non-charting singles were released by MGM Records in 1970 and Saxon continued to tour, using the name The Seeds with several different band members through 1972.
During the mid-’70s, Saxon re-emerged as Sky Sunlight, fronting several combinations known variously as Stars New Seeds or The Universal Stars Band, before retreating from society and moving to Hawaii. Saxon reunited the original Seeds for a short tour in 1989 and in the late ’90s made still another resurgence, having become a cult icon to the international psychedelic crowd. As recently as 1998, Saxon performed at The Campstove Festival in New York, backed by Question Mark And The Mysterians.
In 2002, bassist Rick Collins, along with Sky Saxon, resurrected The Seeds with a new line up, playing all of the band’s classic songs in shows across America. Original guitarist Jan Savage even re-united for a stint in 2003, playing some West Coast, East coast, and European dates before returning home. In 2004, another new line-up appeared, with Ryan Maynes on keyboards, Nate Greely on guitar and Justin Smith on drums joining original members Sky Saxon and Rick Collins. This new edition toured the US and beginning in March, 2005, played several shows in Europe, Japan and Australia. The band also issued a new album on the Global Recording Artists label called “Back to the Garden”, in 2008.
Sadly, Sky Saxon died unexpectedly of heart and renal failure at the age of 71 on June 25th, 2009, in an Austin, Texas hospital, effectively bringing the band’s career to an end. One month later, members of Love and The Electric Prunes, who were scheduled to launch the California ’66 tour with The Seeds, performed a tribute concert at the Los Angeles’s Echoplex in memory of Sky Saxon. The Seeds’ original drummer Rick Andridge died in 2011. In mid-August, 2014, a documentary about The Seeds was slated to premier at the Egyptian Theatre at the American Cinematheque in Hollywood. Using vintage footage, rare photos, memorabilia, audio, and fresh interviews with band members and associates, the film Pushin’ Too Hard tells the bizarre rags-to-riches story of the Rock quartet who took Los Angeles by storm in the mid-’60s.
remembering 1950s, 1960s, 1970s rock and roll