Monday, August 18, 2014

The Seeds

The Seeds were an integral part of the California Music Scene back in the mid-to-late '60's ... and that legacy has now been preserved on film and explored as part of the brand new GNP Crescendo Documentary "The Seeds:  Pushin' Too Hard".  (In fact, GNP Crescendo has put on the full-court press with this one, re-releasing all of The Seeds' recorded tracks in a new compilation CD ... unfortunately, to MY ears anyway, while the band indeed had a distinctive sound, they took those same inventive riffs and musical nuances and then proceeded to recycle them again and again throughout all of their musical endeavors.  As such, nearly all of their music sounds exactly the same ... for the most part, they seem to be a rip-off of THEMSELVES!!!)

"Pushin' Too Hard", of course, was their biggest hit, climbing all the way to #1 here in Chicago.  (Nationally it stopped at #36 in Billboard ... but peaked a point higher in Record World).  Their follow-up release (which was actually their FIRST release ... it just happened to flop the first time around ... so after the success of "Pushin' Too Hard", the record label released it again, hoping to ride the coattails of their other hit currently climbing the charts) was "Can't Seem To Make You Mine."  It just missed The National Top 40, peaking at #41.  

What kind of music were they?  Garage Band?  Early Psychedelic Rock?  Simply a part of the LA Scene from the exciting, counter-culture days of the mid-to-late '60's?  All of the above, actually ... which I guess today has all been lumped together anyway as what we now call "Nuggets" Rock.  Charismatic Lead Singer Sky Saxon left us a few years back, but still maintains a healthy presence throughout this film as the story of The Seeds unfolds.   

For a couple of months now, we've been telling you about not only the making of this hot, new film ... but also about the official movie premier of this new Seeds documentary, which officially premiered this past week at The Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.   

It sounds like they pulled out all the stops for this mega-music event (actually, they've been hosting a rock and roll marathon of films all week!) ... and several of the key movers and shakers of this era turned up to check out this new film ... including Forgotten Hits Reader Timmy Manocheo, who files this report in his first-time Forgotten Hits contribution ...

You wanted a report on The Seeds Documentary - here it is --->   

My wife, Irene and I went to the premiere of "The Seeds: Pushin' Too Hard" documentary film last night. It was done up in the grand Hollywood style of motion picture premieres of old, at the wonderful, beautiful and comfortable Egyptian Theatre, on THE Boulevard. This documentary was the final result of the vision of director Neil Norman's passion, come to the big screen, complete with stars of the pertinent era mingling about the Egyptian's patio entrance before the showing. I met some of my personal musical heroes and everyone was in a delightful mood.   

Johnny Echols of the band Love was there, looking sharp, as he does in the film. Look, here comes the Seeds' lead guitarist, Jan Savage, strolling up to the crowd with noted D.J. and radio historian Gary Schneider! Hugs all around as Jan meets up with some of his old pals. 

I had to squeeze in a photo op with long time KROQ D.J. legend Rodney Bingenheimer and his lovely gal-pal.  Kim Fowley appeared just before lights out and was his usual cordially ironic self. What a guy ... don't miss his wit in this film, folks.  

Then, yeah, I see Daryl Hooper, the keyboard extraodinaire from The Seeds, happy as all get-out. Yes folks, it was truly an evening to remember.  

Another noted D.J., from the era of 1960's Top-40 L.A. radio was Don Elliott, (KMEN, KBLA and KROQ), smiling and joking about. Everyone noticed the red headed ex-GTO's bombshell, Miss Pamela DeBarres, as she pleasantly posed for snapshots in the crowd. I was introduced to another great 60's scene star from The Strawberry Alarm Clock band member, Mark Weitz, wearing a primo, flowering shirt, the only one there to rival mine, as well as recounting some great stories of times past.  

All in all, a festive time for all who showed up, to be part of celebrating an integral, if overlooked, part of the entire musical scene of not only L.A.'s sixties culture, but also America's counterculture period. Following the film, there was a panel discussion and Q&A with key members involved in the film. 

About the film itself -- one has to point out some surprise elements here. Namely Iggy Pop. This guy is fun AND funny. He also makes you think. I think Neil should direct a project around Iggy's phenomenal career sometime in the not too distant future.   

Another huge 60's musical talent, very much involved in not only this film, but also with the entire 1960's music world, is Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys. Unexpectedly, to me anyway, Bruce was a huge Seeds fan and he sheds a unique perspective on the relationship between musical peers of the age of Aquarius.   

Did I mention Kim Fowley? Well, let me reiterate his somewhat blatant and stoic slant on all things 60's and melodic. His charm is ever gleaming in this movie.   

There are more radio air personalities also included in the film, foremost long time radio legend, Humble Harve (Miller), who helped jettison The Seeds to popularity, not only during his reign at Boss Radio's KHJ, but before that time, during his tenure at KBLA / AM. Humble Harve was also the one who introduced The Seeds on their infamous live album.   

Another D.J. of note, mentioned during the documentary, was Dave Diamond ... and also Wolfman Jack. Not to mention the man who was possibly mainly responsible for the band's success, Gene Norman, who actually gave The Seeds their first recording contract. There are more notable individuals from the era who also contribute to the film, but the true stars have to be Jan Savage and Daryl Hooper, who, along with drummer Rick Andridge and lead vocalist Sky Saxon himself, tell THE REAL STORY of the hows and whys and all the rest of the fascinating story.   

There will be future screenings of this monumental documentary, coming to Long Beach this next weekend, followed by San Diego and then San Luis Obisbo, at The Palm Theatre. You would do yourself the pleasure if you go catch this film, before it's inevitable DVD release, hopefully soon.    

~ Timmy Manocheo

For more on the entire LA Rock Scene of the '60's, do yourself a favor and pick up Harvey Kubernik's EXCELLENT new book "Turn Up The Radio!  Rock, Pop and Roll in Los Angeles, 1956 - 1972.  It is a BEAUTIFULLY done "scrapbook" and oral photograph of this exciting era of music, much of it told by the folks who were actually there at the time making things happen.

Done up right in "coffee table book" style, this is a must-have for any serious music fan who grew up during this incredible era.  (You can pick up YOUR copy here):