John Wisniewski Interviews
Sky Saxon of The Seeds
It could be argued that The Seeds were L.A.'s answer to The Rolling Stones, and vocalist Sky Saxon’s talent for writing garage, punk classics with a blues edge -- as well as psychedelia -- is evident on ‘60's hits like "Pushin' Too Hard" and "Can't Seem to Make You Mine."
Though Saxon became involved with the YaHoWha religious sect in the ‘70s and released several albums under the band name YaHoWha 13, The Seeds were rediscovered in 2001. Their song “Mr. Farmer” was included on the Almost Famous movie soundtrack, which won a Grammy for Best Compilation that year. Groovy!
Horror Garage: How and when did The Seeds form? Where did the band name come from?
Sky Saxon: We were born from a dream in 1965. Everybody said we looked “seedy” -- we actually looked garage -- and for that reason we adopted the name, The Seeds. The lineup was put together magically through a lot of prayer. It was, you might say, predestined to bring flower power to the earth, for we needed change and we needed it bad.
HG: In the band's early days, who did most of the writing?
Sky Saxon: I guess I always did the writing. I would write most of my songs on napkins when I'd have coffee in a coffeehouse. Almost all of my songs were written on napkins, including the drawing for the Future album cover of the suffering in the Middle East...[it] was drawn on a big napkin.
HG: Muddy Waters called the Seeds "American Rolling Stones." You were fans of the blues like the Stones... do you think Waters' statement is accurate? Why or why not?
Sky Saxon: It is totally accurate. He loved my singing and he loved the band.
HG: As the times changed, so did the music. Do you now prefer the psychedelic music the band recorded, or the blues sound of the earlier records?
Sky Saxon: I always liked the psychedelic the most, but I still have a great love for blues, as I did play the harmonica on some of the cuts on the blues album. I would, at some time, love to do another blues album. Is there any major label listening?
HG: What was life like for you in 1966 when "Pushin' Too Hard" was in the Top 40? What's your most vivid memory of that period?
Sky Saxon: Suffering and riding on a bus on a tour I was headlining. Some of the members were ? and the Mysterians, The Left Bank, The Real McCoys and Shadows of Night. However, riding on a bus can really hurt one's back. I, myself, would prefer trains as you can walk around. In fact, I'm thinking about doing most of my concerts by train now, so I can see the people when I come into each city -- sort of like a party at each station.
HG: At some point, you added "Sunlight" to your name, calling yourself Sky "Sunlight" Saxon. Why'd you add the Sunlight?
Sky Saxon: Because I felt that if Bob Dylan could change he could have given even greater music to the earth. I really didn't want to use Sky Saxon anymore. At that time, I went by the name SunStar and I was SunStar in the World Peace band. But when I found YaHoWha, he gave me the name Sunlight to balance the energies, so I felt as Sunlight I was now coming back again, but with new energies. Sort of like Cassius Clay and Mohammed Ali, I became a new energy.
HG: You've been involved with the Yahowha religion since the early '70s, and have released music with other members of the group. Can you tell me anything about your beliefs?
Sky Saxon: Peace, love, and kindness elevate the mind so you can liberate the soul. Remember the power of the I AM -- and to always use it positively -- and it will work for you such as: I AM healthy. I AM well. I AM successful. I AM love. I AM in YaHoWha and YaHoWha is in me. The I AM, when it is directed to YaHoWha, will save you from darkness. The Jesus Christ has always been meant to be what it is – a bridge to YaHoWha -- such as Krishna, Allah, Buddha. But nobody can get it while they are still eating Father's animals, for then they are a lie to themself.
HG: In the last few years there's been a renewed interest in garage rock. Have you found there's also been renewed interest in The Seeds?
Sky Saxon: The Seeds are garage rock. They are the ABC's of garage rock. I would advise anyone playing music to listen to The Seeds’ first two albums, maybe even more than other albums because they had a lot of energy and they were simple. But you do have to pick out the minor chords when they appear.
HG: "Can't Seem to Make You Mine" is currently being used in an Axe Body Spray commercial. How'd that come about?
Sky Saxon: Who knows? I'm sure Crescendo Records is making a bundle of money though since they own 100% publishing rights -- something I would love to change if I had the right attorney. My thing would be that the angels that protect me on earth probably whispered in the ears of some people that are in advertising... However, I've got no money for it. It’s like the Grammy for the soundtrack of Almost Famous -- I never saw the Grammy. But, my love comes from the people, and for that I'm eternally grateful and much in awe of the love, and I respect all of them and pray for us all and the earth every day.
HG: In closing, where do you hope to take the band in the future?
Sky Saxon: If The Seeds are the American Rolling Stones, then they are also the European Rolling Stones in a Seeds fashion. A European tour is being planned at this very moment. We will be there for most of November and December... more details coming. Be sure and keep visiting my only OFFICIAL website: www.skysaxon.com Other than my two myspace sites, this is my only OFFICIAL site.