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The Seeds: Pushin' Too Hard Documentary

LOS ANGELES, JULY 7th:  A long form 110+ minute documentary The Seeds: Pushin’ Too Hard, directed by Neil Norman for GNP Crescendo, is scheduled for debut theatrical release on August 16th 2014. The Egyptian Theater at the American Cinematheque will premiere the movie.

Using vintage footage, rare photos, memorabilia and audio, plus fresh interviews with band members and associates as well as notable fans and observers, Pushin’ Too Hard relates the bizarre rage-to-riches-to-rags tale of the rock quartet who took Los Angeles by storm in the mid-60s.

The Seeds – keyboard player Daryl Hooper, guitarist Jan Savage, drummer Rick Andridge and charismatic singer Sky Saxon – were all emigres to early 1960s Hollywood. After building a crack reputation in underground clubs such as Bido Litos, the group bust out in late 1966 with the classic anthem of frustration, “Pushin’ Too Hard,” which went Top 40 nationally in early 1967.

The group enjoyed other regional hits such as “Mr Farmer” and “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine,” and recorded five best-selling albums for the GNP Crescendo label, but despite a huge and partisan fanbase in southern California, the Seeds could not capitalize on their initial chart success. The growing ego and drug-fueled eccentricities of frontman Saxon alienated the other members, and led to the original quartet’s fracture in the summer of 1968.

After 1970, Saxon renamed himself Sunlight, embarking on a strange odyssey that took him from life as a street person in Hollywood to a commune in Hawaii. Sky returned to performing in the late 1980s and, using several different sets of musicians, performed Seeds music the world over until his untimely death in 2009.

The rote rock histories of the time routinely dismissed the Seeds as one-dimensional, but the from the late 1970s on, the group’s minimalist, attitude-laden sound became a major influence upon the nascent punk rock movement, and has subsequently had a lasting impact on generations of players since. Similarly the “flower power” hype that the Seeds were saddled with in 1967 now seems less important than the pulsing, singular drive that is at the heart of their music.

The bands story is examined in detail in The Seeds: Pushin’ Too Hard. All four original Seeds are represented, alongside auxiliary members, band associates, and contemporaries such as Kim Fowley, Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys and Johnny Echols of Love. Major fans like Iggy Pop and The Bangles weigh in on what The Seeds mean to them. Narration is by author Miss Pamela Des Barres. 

The Seeds: Pushin’ Too Hard is produced and written by Alec Palao and edited by Dan Schaarschmidt. Award-winning director Norman and four-time Grammy nominee Palao have spent the past six years developing the project. The movie is accompanied by a major overhaul of the Seeds’ catalog on GNP Crescendo and Ace/Big Beat Records in the UK.

An encore screening of The Seeds Pushin’ Too Hard is set for the Art Theater of Long Beach on August 23rd, sponsored in conjunction with 3rd Eye Records. Further showings across the US and overseas are planned for later this year.



Selected releases