Author: Anthony Strutt
Penny Black Music Link to Interview
Sky Saxon was the frontman with the Seeds, a Los Angeles-based act who recorded six albums of garage rock/psychedelic material in the 60s, 'The Seeds', 'A Web of Sound', 'Future', 'A Full Spoon of Seedy Blues', 'Raw and Alive' and 'Rare Seeds'.
The Seeds' 1965 debut single, 'Can't Seem to Make you Mine', flopped, but its follow-up, 'Pushin' Too Hard', reached no, 36 in the Billboard chart. Despite abandoning their early punk style, and embracing the acid-tinged sounds of the emerging flower power movement, the Seeds, however, never met with the same subsequent commercial success as their fellow Californians, Love and the Doors, and by the beginning of the 70s had folded in obscurity.
A strong influence on the CBGB's bands of the 1970s, their critical reputation has, however, increasingly grown. The Edsel label to much acclaim remastered and collected together all their 60s albums on three CDs in 2001.
A double CD compilation, 'Pushin' Too Hard : The Best of the Seeds', also came out in 2007.
Sky Saxon, or Sky Sunlight Saxon as he is also known, has released three albums, 'Red Planet' (Rogue Records, 2004), 'Transparency' (Jungle Records, 2005) and this year's 'Back to the Garden' (Global Recording Artists) under the Seeds moniker. The latter finds him reunited with keyboardist and original member Daryll Hooper.
In interview with Pennyblackmusic, Sky, while maintaining all the hippy ideals of his past, revealed himself to be an erudite and very witty conversationalist.
PB : Why the name Sky Sunlight Saxon ? Was this your birth name, or did you just think that it had a cool feel to it ?
SS : Sky Saxon to me was like my hero, Errol Flynn. The name sounded great and he was great and made great movies. Who could ever forget 'Robin Hood' ? Sunlight was given to me by my spiritual father, YaHoWha, a few years later. The three names together carry a lot of power and a lot of liberation. They are also energy names. It is like any movie star name. The movie star is not the person. The person is not the movie star. It is a whole new super identity. That gives me the power to stay young and be prolific.
PB : Why the name the Seeds? Is that about growth?
The Seeds is grunge before grunge. People have said, "That person looks seedy. Or it is a seedy part of town." But in reality, seeds are all-life. Everything comes from a seed. Some seeds thrown on the cement don't sprout so when the seed of man becomes a sprout and can get no further it just dies its death. My new slogan is, "Seeds on Earth and in Space 21st Century."
The word 'Seeds' appears over 5000 times in the Bible - not so with the Beatles. The Seeds might quite possibly be one of the great rock names of all time. What can you grow from a Rolling Stones ? As I knew it, a rolling stone gathers no moss. It is just a rock'n'roll name. It meant even more with flower power which is also a part of my energy.
I'm also initiating now glow rock and trance music. Glow rock you will know it when you hear it. My band, World Spirits, is playing it now.It makes you happy when you hear it and excited. My trance music has come about because I've taken many trips and it puts the listener in a trance. Each song is an experience but a good experience. The name the Seeds didn't allow me to express myself fully.
I have other new bands now as well. Berlin Now was initiated by me in Berlin and has Rudi Patrudi in it, the Cheeks in it, the Polaroids in it, Manuela in it, as well as Atomic and myself. Some of our videos are showing up on YouTube.
My band which I made in Spain I call WOW Lost Brothers and Sisters - for that is what we all are. My last band - The Royal Family Band Save the World - is coming out with two great singles which are now out but in limited pressing. One is called 'Amnesty' and the other called 'Halt'. Also, I have a spiritual band called Sharing Shepherds which is just myself.
PB : How did the Seeds evolve ? Were you all at school or uni together ?
SS : We evolved through life. I went to UCLA and studied piano for a few semesters. Daryll Hooper was a natural and more like Beethoven. Rick Andridge (Drums-Ed) was an every boy in the neighborhood boy. Jan Savage (guitar-Ed) was truly an Indian, a Cherokee. I, myself, was like Johnny Appleseed. The combination was too great to just pass by. It has endured through the love of the people which I am very grateful for.
PB : I know the band through the six 60s LPs reissued by Edsel on 3 CDds in the early 2001, and your three more recent albums. I know nothing about the years in between. Did you still record and tour ?
SS : Sum it up like this. You can look at my biography on www.skysaxon.com but should also know I am going to be putting out the 'Lost Lost Lost Tapes' and some other recordings soon too. There is enough music that I have recorded to go into the 22nd Century !
PB : The Seeds are not just a psych garage band but most people know you because of 2 songs, 'Can't Seem to Make You Mine' and 'Pushin' Too Hard'. Do you think you get judged on those two songs too much ?
SS : What about 'Mr. Farmer' ? What about 'Thousand Shadows'? What about 'Evil HooDoo'? What about 'Fallen'? What about 'Six Dream'? What about 'Flower Lady and Her Assistant'? What about 'Chocolate Rivers'?
I wrote 76 songs with the Seeds. I consider them all to be classics to be discovered now or at a later date. It doesn't matter. They will always be classics. The people have told me so. I think I should be judged by my body of work - not two songs. I shouldn't be judged at all. I just wanted to help and give good music. God knows I haven't made any money on it. I do it for the love of the earth and the people and animals that walk upon it.
PB : Are there any films made on the band or books written on the band worth checking out ?
SS : Only bootlegs to my knowledge. But there is a new documentary in production now about the Seeds along with a re-release of all the early albums. This is being done by Alec Palao and sould be a great and well-done documentary. Stay tuned at www.skysaxon.com for all new news of this and everything else happening with me.
PB : You were around at the same time as the Doors and Love. Were you friends ? Were you close ? Do you miss those two characters no longer with us?
SS : We were always friends, great friends but I believe the Seeds were around first. I miss Arthur Lee very much but don't wish to join him and I think Arthur Lee should be remembered also for his saying, "People are the greatest fun" which I totally agree with, but I find dogs are more fun still. They are always there to cheer you up and make you laugh and help you when you cry.
PB : Are all the original band alive and well ?
SS : They are all alive but Rick Andridge unfortunately has dementia and does not remember anything. Everyone else is alive and well. Daryll Hooper played on my latest Seeds album, 'Back To The Garden'. This album can be purchased by going to www.skysaxon.com.
PB : What were your influences originally. What was the game plan ?
SS : My original influence was classical music. I loved it. After that it was the blues. I thought I could be a solo artist. With Ricky Nelson and Elvis Presley and people like that, it was hard to do that unless you were on a major label.
I would not get on my knees for a major label, so I decided that a band was the only way to go but it needed to have a piano because everyone else at the time had only guitars. I needed the piano to express my words better.
PB : The 60s were a cool time. What was your favourite period and why ?
SS : Actually my favorite period was 1964 because that is when the Beatles came. My favourite period after that was 1965 because that is when my music happened as well as a lot of other great music. There was so much great music that could bring tears to your eyes, but where are these bands today ? I hope they are all okay and that God has blessed them.
PB : Would you change anything if you could ?
SS : I would have paid my income tax and not lost my two homes in Malibu to the IRS in the late 60's. I would never have taken loans on my publishing rights and have them taken from me so that I now have 0% publishing rights to my old songs. Those are two things I would change for sure.
PB : On the live Seeds album things sound pretty much like Beatlemania. Did you like all the attention ?
SS : Absolutely, unequivocably. The limos were the best. To me that is one of the keys. Arrive in a limo and leave in a limo.
PB : What keeps you writing and performing when you could be happy and be retired ?
SS : Well, I think you could retire when you die. I don't, however, believe in death, so I guess I will retire when I leave my body. But I plan to continue writing and performing in heaven. It is my mission. I have a lot of callings in life and ways to make a lot of money, but I stay true to music for I believe just like 2 + 2 = 4 it opens the door to understanding throughout the world.
PB : You are reunited with Daryll on this new album. How did that come about ?
SS : That was always in the works. Daryll and I have written many songs. A song I wrote with him that has not come out yet is 'Paper Money'. It is so good. We shouldn't sell our souls for paper money. Daryll and I have always been and always will be great brothers and friends. I look to the time when Daryll and I can play what we deserve which is colosseums with our friends.
PB : Was writing the three recent albums easier ? Does writing get easier with age ?
SS : Since I don't write it is hard to answer that. I channel. I, however, refine it after I make the first recording. It is usually straight by the third or fourth recording.
PB : Do you have any plans to come back and tour Europe again ?
SS : I just got back from Europe but Europe is my second home or maybe it could be my first home. It pulls me like a magnet. I'm magnetized by the beauty of the people and their beautiful energy. A tour is in the works for this summer, probably June and July. But then I have to come back to America for a tour in the states with Love and Electric Prunes in August. I will return to France to work on a collaboration with Etant Donnes' in September. They are great brothers and I look forward to an amazing collaboration with them.
PB : What are your future plans ?
SS : That strikes a bell in my head because I want to make the album, 'Future Revisited', but this time I will use a philharmonic symphony maybe from Germany or England or even Austria. It will be a 4-volume set. My wife and I now have a flat in Austin, Texas and hope to find a enchanting dwelling in Europe. We will be looking for that place on our next visit this summer.
PB : Thanks for your time, Stay beautiful, Sky.
SS : Thanks so much. You are beautiful too.