PUSHIN’ TOO HARD: THE SEEDS DOCUMENTARY! (Please Kill Me)

Article by: Amy Haben

“I’ve never liked the idea of putting on some music before sex, but if I was gonna put on some music to have some sex with, I’d put on The Seeds.”             —Iggy Pop

 

This March, my good friend Gary Farley, took me on a late night rock n’ roll mission to Neil Norman’s GNP Crescendo archives. His father Gene Norman had started the label in 1954 signing talent such as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington. In 1965, the garage rock group The Seeds couldn’t get signed by anyone in Los Angeles, but Norman decided to take a chance on the shaggy haired rockers, even though he was mainly a jazz enthusiast.

Neil walked us around the treasure trove of master tapes by many well known musicians from the 60’s, but when Gary and I laid our eyes on ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’ by The Seeds, we were in awe. The music geeks inside us came squealing out. We asked if we could touch the master tape that Sky had held.

After we finished gushing, Neil told us about The Seeds documentary he was almost finished working on. Gary, who owns Third Eye Records in Long Beach, sold the tickets and helped set up the Long Beach screening. The premiere was set for The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

So this month I went to see the premiere, and was delighted by the comic relief and garage rock nostalgia that exploded on the screen. Not to mention Sky Saxon, Jan Savage, Rick Andridge, and Daryl Hooper’s far out style. Sky had the most unique voice– combined with sexy moans, as featured in ‘Can’t Seem To Make You Mine.’ He was a favorite amongst the girls and had a star presence that everyone noticed. His shaggy bowl cut and full lips made Sky quite the heartbreaker. In one scene, a fan was saying that Sky preferred dating bigger girls so she and her friends tried to gain weight, hoping for an extra hundred pounds. He was THAT sexy.

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‘The Seeds: Pushin’ Too Hard’: Film Review (The Hollywood Reporter)

Review by: Sheri Linden

Sixties L.A. hitmakers the Seeds are the subject of a documentary by music producer Neil Norman

Punk has long been associated with New York, and flower-power psychedelia is synonymous with San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury. But some rock historians, purveyors and artists trace both genres to mid-’60s Los Angeles and a garage band called, appropriately enough, the Seeds. In the engaging documentary The Seeds: Pushin’ Too Hard, first-time director Neil Norman pays tribute to the quartet and the city where it flourished. His affection for the musicians is firsthand and tinged with family pride: The indie label that was the band’s recording home was founded by Norman’s father, and it’s the company that produced this film.

That relationship notwithstanding, Norman’s chronicle of the group’s brief heyday and the long, strange aftermath for frontman Sky Saxon is no mere lovefest, although a more robust critical discussion would have enriched it. Passages of eloquent but overwritten narration, delivered with verve by Pamela Des Barres, too often smack of PR and, rather than smoothing transitions in the narrative, make them clunkier.

Though it runs out of steam and would have benefited from a tighter structure, the doc compiles terrific archival clips and stills, and draws energy and sharp insights from new interviews. For the road beyond its world premiere in the American Cinematheque’s L.A. Rock on Film series, the elements of nostalgia and discovery will be strong draws among rock fans. It should hit a sweet spot for older Boomers especially — those who remember the L.A. underground scene the film evokes, with its long-gone nightspots like the Barn and Bido Lito’s, and those who experienced it secondhand, through the music.

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