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Here’s to you: MJ, FF, Ed McMahon & Sky Saxon “You’re Pushing Too Hard”

June 28, 2009
You’re Pushing Too Hard
My friend Ron Wells writes:

Amidst the passings of the King of Pop, the poster icon for Charlie’s Angels, and Johnny Carson’s sidekick, few will notice or mention the death of Sky Saxon, lead singer and songwriter for the  mid-60’s garage band, The Seeds. He died on June 25 in Austin, Texas. He was in his 60’s, though no one is certain of his exact birth date.

So this is for Sky, and all those other adults and kids who were, and are, out there strumming and thrashing their guitars in garages everywhere,  driving the neighbors nuts and causing a horrific amount of racket in hopes of hitting the Big Time.

And this is especially for all those musicians who are now beginning to pass on from this world, with little notice and even less mention.
In the mid-60’s you couldn’t turn on a radio in the greater Los Angeles area without hearing The Seeds, as well as numerous other bands screeching straight out of their driveways on to vinyl platters and blasting throughout the rock and roll world in transistor radios to the waiting ears of eager teenagers everywhere.
The Seeds were lucky: they had a few hits. Others weren’t so fortunate. They came from towns and cities around the country, usually kids trying to find a way out of adolescence or stay out of the adult world that was approaching far too quickly. They played in parks and recreation centers and in Battle of the Bands, anywhere they could get a gig. Summers were the best because that’s guitar weather, and the rock hopefuls turn out like perennials in the sun, dressed in torn jeans and t-shirts and beat-up sneakers.
This is for all of them, for all of the one hit wonders thrashing away and the no hit wonders who gave up and retreated into the not so happy confines of society, their music never to be heard again, their dreams crushed like notes played way out of tune.
Sky had his moments, fleeting as they were. “You’re Pushing Too Hard” and “Mr. Farmer” streaking though the tinny air waves and into ear plugs attached to those same transistor radios. Amazingly, hippies picked up on his garage vibe and 14 minute jam sessions and Sky was happy to join them all. But eventually, like so many of these garage bands, he left his mates, or they left him, and the comet that was The Seeds imploded into the music netherworld.
Sky’s story became attached forever to the tunes of The Seeds because the songs just wouldn’t go away. Some kid would always come along and accidentally hear the music and try to figure out what exactly was  going on, before eventually thinking,  “Ya know, this shit ain’t too bad.”
The glory days of garage bands may be gone, but those groups live on.  The Leaves, ? and the Mysterians, The Count Five, to name just a few. It was like that mid 60’s time period was the perfect breeding ground for bands who would never quite make it, but played on despite the odds. It seemed that any band that came out of nowhere and couldn’t be categorized became known as a “garage band,” a catch phrase for the outsiders and the indescribable.
Growing up as a kid, everything was on the radio: folk, rock, blues, country, even adults like Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Dean Martin could be heard. And somehow, someway, a few of these misfit garage rockers found a way to push their way in and make it through the music industry maze of impossible odds and on to those same radios, right next to the superstars. The Seeds somehow found a way to get  onto those airwaves and into adolescent psyches that were controlled by hormones rampaging way out of control. It was a glorious and mysterious confluence of events.
So, let the world pay respect to the icons, but tonight I’m lifting my glass  to Sky Saxon,  and every other singer, every other nobody, who may or may not have became somebody, if just for a moment. They were part of my musical upbringing, that joyous moment in time when DJ’s, little transistor radios, and loud guitars, drums, and even organs gave a kid walking down the street something to hold on to, and listen to, as he clutched that radio to his ear like it was life itself.
Here’s to The Seeds and all of the rest of the garage dreamers. If only a few of us remember, so be it. Thanks for thundering and crashing into the soundtrack of my life, demanding to be listened to and becoming a small part of that same soundtrack. Tonight I’ll be putting on that vinyl album and turning it up loud, just as if they were playing in the garage next door.
Here’s to Sky Saxon, may he Rest in Peace.
Mr. Farmer:
You’re Pushing Too Hard:
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