The Seeds are largely considered one of the most influential prototypical punk bands—despite only having one Top 40 national hit. Their odd and relatively short-lived tale is one that is only known amongst the most hardcore of music lovers but thanks to a long-awaited documentary set to show at the Art Theatre, the garage band’s tale will no longer be relegated to the shadowy knowledge of sonic geeks alone.
The Seeds: Pushin’ Too Hard—named after the band’s aforementioned lone Top 40 hit—is the creation of documentarian Neil Norman and will be brought to Long Beach thanks to the efforts of Bluff Heights vinyl haven Third Eye Records owner Gary Farley.
With 110 minutes of vintage footage, photos, memorabilia, audio files, and contemporary interview, Pushin’ follows what Normal calls “the rage-to-riches-to-rags” tale of the band. The film focuses on keyboard player Daryl Hooper, guitarist Jan Savage, drummer Rick Andridge, and singer Sky Saxon, and how they became a SoCal phenomenon before quickly fading into the annals of obscure music history.
“The growing ego and drug-fueled eccentricities of frontman Saxon alienated the other members, and led to the original quartet’s fracture in the summer of 1968,” Normal said. “After 1970, Saxon renamed himself Sunlight, embarking on a strange odyssey that took him from life as a street person in Hollywood to a commune in Hawaii. Sky returned to performing in the late 1980s and, using several different sets of musicians, performed Seeds music the world over until his untimely death in 2009.”
Ruling the Angelino world by way of their live show reputation at venues like Bido Lit’s and Hullabaloo, The Seeds was signed to GNP Crescendo and recorded five albums—largely popular in SoCal thanks to regional hits like “Mr. Farmer” and “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine”—but failed to capture the attention needed to become a national act.
The Seeds: Pushin’ Too Hard will have its formal premier on August 16 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. It will show at the Art Theatre in Long Beach, located at 2025 E 4th, on August 23 at 9PM.