The 60s punk anthems ‘Can’t Seem To Make You Mine’ and ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’ pack as resonant a punch today as they did when first heard as the first two singles by a strangely attired, off-beat sounding Los Angeles outfit known as the Seeds. The group stands prominent amongst the handful of mid-60s garage bands whose influence is palpable in rock to this day. Led by charismatic frontman Sky Saxon, their unique and exciting brand of minimalist rock’n’roll has remained forever contemporary.
Both of these classics were included upon the Seeds’ eponymous debut long-player, which was the apotheosis of the band’s achievement. Like the first Ramones album, it is one of rock’s great debuts; a record where a signature style was sharply defined. Never mind that, at the time of its release in July 1966, “The Seeds” was one of the very few albums by an unknown group that contained completely original material; it was also one of the few albums from a group of their kind, full stop. Saxon’s insistence upon a stark and eye-catching front cover, depicting the combo in all their hirsute glory, guaranteed curiosity at the very least. But it was what the record contained that counts, and it is mandatory listening for any true fan of rock’n’roll in its purest, most elemental form. With cuts such as ‘No Escape’, ‘Girl I Want You’ and ‘Nobody Spoil My Fun’, “The Seeds” still represents the band at their edgiest and most focused.
Richard Marsh had arrived in late 1950s Hollywood from his native Salt Lake City hungry for stardom, but it was only after a half-dozen schlock singles that he turned what might have seem a distinct disadvantage – a thin, whining voice, less than movie star looks, and only a modicum of musical prowess – into the charismatic persona of Sky Saxon. Those familiar with Saxon’s often diffuse and rambling post-Seeds work may hardly recognise the incredible focus and power he brought to the band’s first two years of existence. Saxon would not and could not have achieved his eventual breakthrough without the express assistance of his fellow Seeds – who were never, ever his “sidemen,” no matter how the media (or on occasion, the band’s management) viewed them. Daryl Hooper, Jan Savage and Rick Andridge were, like Saxon, all refugees from middle America, subsisting on cheapHollywoodgigs in the vague but resilient hope that success might come their way. The quartet span their own relentless web of sound, tinged with a haunting patina that is uniquely Seeds.
With the generous co-operation of original label GNP Crescendo, no stone has been left unturned in order to present “The Seeds” in the best possible quality. Our deluxe reissue boasts the superlative, punchy mono mix, heretofore unavailable on CD, along with ten bonus tracks – seven of which are previously unissued – thereby doubling the length of the original album. These include the full length, unedited take of ‘Evil Hoodoo’, the unreleased song ‘Dreaming Of Your Love’ and early versions of their classic B-sides ‘Daisy Mae’ and ‘Out Of The Question’, spiced with some priceless studio chat. The 36-page booklet examines the Seeds’ early career in unprecedented detail, based on fresh research and interviews with the surviving participants. Keyboard player Daryl Hooper – the true architect of the Seeds sound – opened his files to share a swathe of incredible, rarely seen illustrations. Big Beat’s expanded and definitive edition of this cornerstone garage rock opus is the first salvo in our campaign to reinstate the Seeds’ catalogue to its rightful glory – watch this space.
By Alec Palao