[Today: A nasty relic from a pioneering pre-pre-punk combo…]
Lots of 60’s groups acted tough, but The Seeds were the real deal. The photo on the back jacket of their self-titled 1967 album shows four guys who look like they’d enjoy nothing more than jamming your teeth down your throat for you. The music inside does little to dispel that menacing first impression. The band doesn’t play well, but they assault their instruments with a primitive aggression that translates into simple sonic perfection. Meanwhile, lead singer Sky Saxon goes about his business with a sour sneer that makes Mick Jagger sound positively polite.
The Seeds are an important link in the history of rock because they proved that it was possible to make powerful music without relying on technical perfection. Many other bands reached the same conclusion around the same time (some of the best are anthologized on Lenny Kaye’s historic Nuggets compilation), but The Seeds were the most raw, aggressive, nasty ensemble to make great music not in spite, but because of their musical limitations.
‘Pushin’ Too Hard’ and ‘Can’t Seem To Make You Mine’ were actually hits, but it was fool’s gold – The Seeds were not destined to become a household name. However, their rough and ragged sound inspired the next generation of primitive rockers (The Stooges, MC5, New York Dolls) who would in turn play a huge roll in the birth of punk music. It’s probably not the legacy that the group set out in search of, but it’s a fine legacy just the same.
Listen: Pushin’ Too Hard