June 28, 2009

A Death Less Obvious

“Sky has passed over and Ya Ho Wha is waiting for him at the gate. He will soon be home with his Father.”

In amongst the recent departures shocking and stellar (Michael Jackson), prefigured and less stellar (Farrah Fawcett) and purely fictional (Jeff Goldblum) was that of a man who, arguably, had a greater influence on popular culture than all of them but who remained a figure beloved only by the cognoscenti and those who do actually remember the 60s.

I first noticed that Sky Saxon had died while reading Mick Farren’s blog the other day.

From Bruce Weber’s Obit, NYT, June 26, here

“Sky Saxon, the mop-haired bass player and front man for the psychedelic protopunk band the Seeds, whose 1965 song “Pushin’ Too Hard” put a Los Angeles garage-band spin on the bad-boy rocker image personified by the Rolling Stones, died Thursday in Austin, Tex. He was thought to be 71.”

The truly impressive thing is that he played his last gig on Saturday night and was admitted to hospital on Monday. That, surely, is a rock ‘n’ roll death.

I remember hearing The Seeds not long after puberty and the discovery of real rock music coincided in the early 60s. Finding anything that wasn’t commercially-oriented was tricky in those days, especially here in Australia. I disagree with Mr. Weber in that I thought the Seeds, musically, had a more "dangerous" edge than the Stones, but they certainly prefigured punk, and they remain one of the bands that musicians have been name-checking ever since as a major influence. Just wish I’d managed to keep all my records from those days.

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