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At Age 60, GNP-Crescendo Label is the Little Indie That Could (Variety.com)

Article by: Andrew Barker Senior Features Writer @barkerrant

In the 60 years since Gene Norman founded record label GNP Crescendo, the pioneering indie imprint has come to encompass so many different styles, genres, artists and revenue streams that current president Neil Norman — Gene’s son — finds it much easier to describe what the label doesn’t offer than what it does.

“My father purposely wanted a label that had a bit of everything,” he explains. “We have everything but opera and rap.” And it’s not hardto imagine they’d make an exception even to that rule if the right artist came along.

Since its founding in 1954, GNP Crescendo has not only survived decades’ worth or industry upheaval, but it also has forged a path and established a set of principles that have been followed in some way or another by just about every oddball indie outfit to come. With a catalog that ranges from jazz and surf to vintage Latin dance, garage rock, polka, Cajun (zydeco act Queen Ida won the label its first and only Grammy in 1982), an Orson Welles spoken-word album, “Star Trek” music compilations and all manner of otherwise forgotten soundtracks, browsing through the label’s offerings is a reminder that the long-tail sales model is hardly a new one.

Such versatility extends to the career of the younger Norman, who has worn virtually every possible hat during his career in music, which started roughly when he played his first onstage gig at age 12. Since then, he’s recorded more than 50 albums for GNP, as well as worked in its mailroom, producing other artists, serving as its A&R, its promotion department, its publicity department, and finally, its label head.

“That’s the great thing about being a small independent label,” he says. “You get to do everything.”

Norman is in the process of editing his second feature documentary, “Pushin’ Too Hard,” which explores the career of the label’s flagship signing, the 1960s garage-psych outfit the Seeds. Gene Norman, now 92, is busy writing his memoir, and one might imagine he has a wealth of stories to tell.

 

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Pushin Too Hard: Rags to Riches in the New Seeds Documentary (RecordCollectorNews.com)

Article by: Harvey Kubernik

Pushin’ Too Hard, a long form documentary about seminal garage band The Seeds, directed by Neil Norman and produced by Alec Palao for the Crescendo Production Company, is scheduled for theatrical and DVD release later this year.

Norman has filmed and recorded all the original Seeds — drummer Rick Andridge, guitarist Jan Savage, Daryl Hooper, their keyboardist and singer/lyricist/ dancer Sky Saxon — from a variety of film, video and audio source tapes.

Also included are clips from interviews with Mark Weitz of the Strawberry Alarm Clock, Johnny Echols from Love, producer Kim Fowley, and Richard France, a roadie from their heyday.

Also taped were interviews with Sky’s brother Robert Marsh and sister Mary Ann Marsh, who revealed reminisced about growing up together in Salt Lake City, Utah, under his birth name, Richard Elvern Marsh.

“She saw it all,” says Norman. “She got to hang out at his house in Malibu. She got to see people go crazy over her brother and hear his records on the radio. She enjoyed it immensely. Early on he’d always have an entourage of girls. He was a magnetic sex symbol. She’s very childlike, fun and smart. Like Sky.”

Norman is currently wrapping up business and licensing activities which might include Seeds sixties television appearances from The Mothers-In-Law andAmerican Bandstand, as well as potential clips “Mr. Farmer” and “Pushin’ Too Hard” fromWhere the Action Is and footage fromShebang!

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