Sky Saxon and the Seeds



Fri Aug 12, Funhouse, $10, 9:30 pm.

Despite almost 40 intermittent years of activity, Sky Saxon and his Seeds seem doomed to be mislabeled as one-hit wonders for their driving 1966 hit "Pushin' Too Hard." Not too shabby a tune to be remembered by though, as the simple, hammering proto-punk anthem is just about as good as rock 'n' roll gets. The song's lyrics insist, "Well, all I want is to just be free/Live my life the way I wanna be/All I want is to just have fun/To live my life like it's just begun." It's a kind of rudimental honesty that transcends hokey '60s gibberish and holds up like a universal shout-out to every antiestablishment kid who's ever picked up a guitar or smoked a joint.

Appropriately, the story of the Seeds' founder—a textbook '60s cliché—is almost as universal: Small town boy makes it big in the seedy (ahem) L.A. music scene, descends into a world of drugs and debauchery, joins an Eastern-tinged cult called Ya Ho Wa, becomes a recluse for the better part of a decade... you get the picture.

Yet, Saxon is up there with Arthur Lee and Roky Erickson as one of the more intriguing B-grade rock icons. As the years have passed, he has become an outspoken vegetarian activist and has adopted a DIY approach to recording and releasing a slew of his own solo records. Ever entertaining, he still uctuates freely between amped-up egotist and crackpot spiritualist. ("I've kept it quiet for 25 years, but at the right time a command could be given and the spaceships will rise from the pyramids," he insists in one interview.)

In this age of retro obsession and quick-buck reunion tours, I can't really guarantee that Saxon and his band of young stand-in Seedlings are going to blow your mind. Still, I'll be there to give him props, because unlike most of his grizzled contemporaries, the man has stuck to his guns and lived his life like it's just begun.