The Seeds

The Seeds  were an American rock band.  The group, whose repertoire spread between garage rock and acid rock, are considered an influential proto-punk band.  (More from Wikipedia)
By 1971, the term “punk rock” had already been applied retrospectively by Greg Shaw as well as Greil Marcus to American bands such as Question Mark and the Mysterians, the Standells, the Seeds, the Shadows of Knight, and the Kingsmen who managed to score some hit songs during the height of the British Invasion.  In 1972, Lenny Kaye popularized the term in the first definitive compilation album that he helped assemble for this music, called Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968; his liner notes are almost as legendary as the double-album itself.  (This music is now referred to as garage rock and psychedelic rock). 
(April 2010)
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Even before I played Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 the first time, I knew I would love it, because I was already familiar with a lot of these bands. In fact, I picked up the debut albums by Blues Magoos and the Electric Prunes in the same shipment from Columbia Record Club back when; and it wasn’t long before I also had the first album by the Shadows of Knight, with their killer cover of Van Morrison’s
Gloria”.  The Seeds Pushin’ Too Hard” was another favorite, though it was awhile before I got an album.
(January 2011)
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American teenagers (mostly white suburban kids) were also invigorated by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and all the rest; and they responded by launching a counter-assault, when seemingly every kid in America wanted to be in a band.  This era is now known as the garage rock era (that was the most available practice space for most of these would-be rock stars, hence the name); this time period also saw the beginnings of the psychedelic rock movement on both sides of the Atlantic.  I didn’t know exactly what I was hearing at the time, but the music by bands like the SeedsBlues Magoosthe Electric Prunes, Question Mark and the Mysteriansthe StandellsCount Five, and Strawberry Alarm Clock (among many other bands) was grabbing me almost immediately.  I don’t know that I even realized immediately how bizarre many of these American band names were, as compared to those of British Invasion bands like the AnimalsFreddie and the Dreamers, and the Dave Clark Five
Thankfully, in 1972 (though if I’m not mistaken, the album was actually not released in the US until 1976), Lenny Kaye – later the guitarist for the seminal Patti Smith Group – helped assemble hit songs by all of these diverse bands plus plenty more into what is now regarded as one of the greatest compilation albums of all times:  Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968.  It remains one of my favorite records, and I have spoken of it several times before in these posts. 
(January 2013)
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I was born a couple of years later than Greg Shaw, so I turned 14 in 1965.  By then, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were old news; and while I was still paying attention, what was really grabbing me at the time were American artists and bands.  First and foremost was Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan; that song – plus the flip side “Gates of Eden” that was nearly as long and every bit as good – captivated me in a way that I just couldn’t keep quiet about.  Other great folk-rock sounds of that period included the release of the cover of Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” by the Byrds and the revamped The Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel.  Bob Dylan himself preferred the Byrds’ cover to his own recording of “Mr. Tambourine Man; but in my usual contrarian way, I preferred Dylan’s original – it was a lot longer for one thing. 


These songs were followed closely by the glorious sounds of garage rock and psychedelic rock that were then in their infancy.  Songs like “Pushin’ Too Hard” by the Seeds, “We Ain’t Got Nothin’ Yet” by Blues Magoos, and I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) by the Electric Prunes really made an impression on me.  It wasn’t until I picked up the Nuggets collection and then the numerous Pebbles albums that I plumbed the depths of this scene, but it was by no means brand new to me either. 

(May 2013)
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A cover of “The Trip” by a band called the Fire Escape is included on Kim Fowley’s 1980 album Hollywood Confidential that also features songs by the RunawaysVenus and the Razorblades, and the Seeds


(January 2015/1)

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The Nuggets album collected the garage rock and psychedelic rock hits and would-be hits from the mid-1960’s from bands like the Electric Prunes, Blues Magoos, the Standells, the Seeds, etc. There are some omissions, but Nuggets is as good an overview of this scene as there is. “96 Tears” by ? and the Mysterians, is the missing song that always comes to mind for me (that song didn’t even make the Nuggets Box Set, though it was on the list for the Nuggets, Volume 2 album that was programmed but never released). Interestingly, Wikipedia notes: “One of the earliest written uses of the ‘punk’ term was by critic Dave Marsh who used it in 1970 to describe the group Question Mark and the Mysterians, who had scored a major hit with their song ‘96 Tears’ in 1966.” Here is what I have to say about this album: .
(December 2016)
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An overview of the Loons was published in the San Diego Reader in 2015 upon the release of Inside Out Your Mind; eight other articles about the band had been published previously by this alternative weekly. The article lists the “genre” for the Loons as noise/experimental and punk and describes the “full scope of their sound” as “Beatlesque vibes reincarnated in the form of post-punk fervency”. Influences are listed in the article as the Pretty Things, the Seeds, the Yardbirds, the Monks, the 13th Floor Elevators, MC5, the Misunderstood, and the Dutch band the Outsiders
(June 2017)
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There are some great covers on the Tell-Tale Hearts CD that run the gamut of the whole Sixties scene, among them “Just in Case You’re Wondering” (originally by the Ugly Ducklings), “Me Needing You” (the Pretty Things – the band who inspired the name of Mike Stax’s magazine, Ugly Things), “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” (the Shadows of Knight), “Satisfy You” (the Seeds), the great lead-off track, “My World Is Upside Down” (the Shames), and “Cry” (the Malibus).  The band’s original songs are steeped in the same Sixties brew; my favorites include “(You’re a) Dirty Liar”, “Crawling Back to Me”, “It’s Just a Matter of Time”, “One Girl”, and Promise.  As usual though with the UARB’s, all of their music sounds great to me.
Stephen Cook with Allmusic gives the album 4½ stars and writes:  “Taking Brit blues invaders like Themthe Animals, and the Yardbirds as a template, not to mention plenty of ’60s garage inspiration, San Diego’s Tell-Tale Hearts forged a fairly original beat homage between 1983-1986.  A bit too gritty and blues-based to really fit in with L.A.’s contemporary Byrds and pop-psychedelia revival (the Rain Paradethe Three O’ClockPlasticland), the Hearts only cut one album, an EP, and a smattering of singles and live tracks. . . .  Compiled by bassist Mike Stax and featuring the snider-than-Van Morrison vocals of Ray Brandes, the 21-track collection includes studio highlights like ‘(You’re a) Dirty Liar and ‘Me Needing You, as well as some super lo-fi demo covers and a live rendition of the Seeds’ ‘Satisfy You.” 
(September 2017)
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The Under Appreciated Rock Band of the Month for December 2017 is SS-20, a psychedelic rock band dating from the mid-1980’s.  The band recorded two albums, one EP with Sky Saxon, the frontman for the Seeds, and numerous other stray tracks.  I don’t have a lot of information on the band other than what the various Bomp! Records sources have.
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This is taken from the write-up by Greg Shaw in Destination: Bomp! for the SS-20 song “Arnold Layne”:  “Once in a while I get enthusiasms that few others seem to share, and this was one of those.  I was in awe of Bruce Wagner’s ability to squeeze original ideas out of the boneyard of rock guitar cliché, and I particularly love what he did with old songs.  We cut stuff by people including the Seedsthe StoogesLove, and the Doors, in each case adding something new to songs I thought had already been done to perfection.  Against this, SS-20 had Madeleine Ridley’s morbid, gothic poetry, a blend I found intriguing.”
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Sky Saxon is the former frontman for the Seeds, best known for their hit song “Pushin’ Too Hard”; while not among the biggest garage rock hit songs, peaking only at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100, it is likely one of the best known.  Pushin’ Too Hard was included on the Nuggets compilation album and the Nuggets Box Set, and it is featured in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s exhibit showcasing “The 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”.
Wikipedia notes that the Seeds performed Pushin’ Too Hard live on an episode of The Mothers-in-Law that starred Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard.  Like He & She, which came along in the same time period, The Mothers-in-Law is one of my very favorite sitcoms but did last two seasons.
From Wikipedia:  “Allmusic’s Richie Unterberger wrote that ‘Pushin’ Too Hard [by the Seeds] is one of the songs most commonly cited when people are trying to celebrate or denigrate 1960s garage rock, and sometimes championed for precisely the same reasons as others put it down, though in time the critical balance tended toward praising the tune rather than dumping on it.’” 
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The two songs on the B side of SS-20 with Sky Saxon are outtakes from the Dream Life LP (Sky Saxon is not involved in these recordings) and are two more cover songs by SS-20 of the Music Machine’s “Trouble” and No Matter What by Love (who had called the song “No Matter What You Do”).  In their entry on this disc, the website notes:  “This EP is a very rare post-Seeds instance of Sky [Saxon] not including ‘Sunlight’ in his name.” 
(December 2017)
Last edited: April 7, 2021