The Seeds, from Los Angeles, only had one top-40 hit in their career, the primitive, fuzzed-up, organ-driven "Pushin' Too Hard", which reached #36 on the pop singles chart in early 1967. They never had an album chart better than #87. None of the members went on to greater success, few paragraphs have been devoted to them in the history books.
Still the Seeds represent a time and a place like almost no other band of their era, and deserve a footnote place in history. Their story is an interesting one; a story of life at the third-tier level for a locally reknowned band that could never quite get it together.
"Moronic" is a word that has been tossed by critics in their direction, unfairly. They never set out to be geniuses. On the surface, the Seeds were a Stonesy garage band with a vaguely cheap organ sound. Daryl Hooper played simplistic organ riffs over and over again, sometimes going up an octave, sometimes going down. They had no bassist; they pioneered the organ-as-bass approach the Doors, also from L.A., would adopt a year later. The guitarwork from Jan Savage was a fuzzfest, and seldom bothered with more than three chords, sometimes making do with two. The vocals of lead singer Sky Saxon had a tight, choked, snotty punk quality to them. They couldn't do anything fancy, they sang repetitive lyrics mostly about sex and drugs, they had long hair and dressed shabbily.
In short; the sonic essence of a true garage band. Except the Seeds didn't record in a garage; for a year or so they were one of the hottest bands on the fertile Sunset Strip scene and had access to some pretty good Hollywood studios. Their label was small enough, hip enough, or fool enough to let the Seeds make their records with little executive interference. The result is a garage band with a substantial body of work; there's that and the singularly strange odyssey of a young man from Utah who became Sky Saxon, leader of the rudest, meanest, most primitive, and openly druggiest band in America. And then went on to be sect devotee and self-made guru Sunlight Saxon. It's a story that could only happen in Hollywood.
Sky Saxon was born Richard Marsh in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1945. At the age of eighteen, he moved to Los Angeles, and hustled around Hollywood, managing to get some studio time and release six soft R&B singles under a variety of names in 1963 and 1964; soon he started experimenting with the name Sky Saxon. Hollywood was bustling in 1964; Capitol records was reaping an enormous windfall from the Beatles, and was spreading the wealth. Studios were everywhere; like many other newcomers to Los Angeles, Marsh had fantasies about scoring big, fast. None of these singles went anywhere, but he left an impression on people. He spent time in a couple of L.A. garage bands, the Soul Rockers and the Electra Fires. They too, were not destined for success.