Sky Saxon Has Left The Building

I yapped with Sky Saxon by telephone in June of 1977. A pal visiting from LA had conjured Sky up via pay phone to quell my doubts that any mere mortal could possibly be on a phone call basis with such a formidable figure. I must’ve gotten gushy from the git-go, as Sky immediately invited me out for a visit. “Ha-ha,” said I, if memory serves, “I can’t do that!” To which he reasoned (and this is verbatim, give or take), “Come ahhn. We’ll spend THIRTY DAYS IN THE DESERT. You know you’ve got to do it.” Six months earlier, a teenage pal from back in Kent had hitchhiked out the Coast and had been curbed on the Strip by Senor Saxon, who had attempted to lure her into a car with … candy. “Oh my God,” said she, later, back home, “I should have got in the car! Sky Saxon! It’ll never happen again!” One might call that brand of charisma, Mansonesque. Everybody in that ratty Ohio brat pack, or bratty Ohio rat pack, if you prefer, was nuts about Sky and Daryl and Rick and Jan, totally gone-nuts berserk insane about the them. We had the Seeds on 45, LP and 8-track. I still have my North American Leisure Corp edition of FUTURE on 8-track with the half split of A Thousand Shadows. The tape has snapped from overuse and there’s some unidentifiable stain across the back, but if you only knew how many times this, hardly the best Seeds longplayer, blasted forth on the 8-track system that my brother had unloaded on me when his fraternity was booking the Amboy Dukes to play the gym, you wouldn’t wonder how it got into such pre-owned condition. In my estimation, Sky Saxon and the Seeds’ entire output is absolutely stellar. They were a perfect band. It was always my dream that there would be a reunion, that drummer Rick Andridge and keyboard king Daryl Hooper and vastly underrated guitar slinger Jan Savage would hook up with Sky and slay us all. Of all the reunion groups, this seemed the most plausible. But it was not to be. A few years back, we were thrilled to finally yap with Jan Savage, who mysteriously appeared in New York to meet up with Sky. Amazing! These cats were our heroes when we were kids, and they remained godlike in our hearts.
There was nothing hippy dippy about the Seeds, even when the flower children were dancing barefoot to their snotty beguines. I marvel at the foppish artists who titter at them in favor of those who charted less, when ounce for ounce, gram for gram, Sky Saxon could out-psych and out-snot any one of them. Nobody Spoil My Fun. Up In Her Room. No Escape. Pushin' Too Hard.

All top rank, all of them. Cavestomp '98 is branded into my brain. It was such a full-on joy, it's hard to believe that it ever happened. This snapshot was taken there, in the basement of Coney Island High (RIP) on St Marks Place, NYC. It was nuts seeing the 16 Magazine bigwigs of '66 roaming around yappin' and snappin'. Mark Lindsay! The Mysterians! Sky Saxon! The Pretty Things! Unreal.
And now, Sky is gone, and we are left with shredded 8-tracks, well worn wax, and faded pictures. Let us never forget the impact and lasting glory of his days, and how blessed we were to have walked alongside him, if only for a little while. Little Ritchie Marsh, two fingers pointing at you.


  1. Yet another cat I didn't wanna see go. The Seeds were the only band to make electric piano actually sound cool. And even decades after their "heyday", their version of "Singer Not The Song" is my fave Jagger/Richards record of all, and I'm counting the Stones' spinners too. I remember years ago in a "where are they now" piece where Rolling Stone erroneously reported that Sky was "praying to dogs", and ya know what, I thought that was pretty cool too... (the next ish printed a correction, where he clarified he was actually "praying to God FOR dogs", still cool for a pooch-smoocher like me).

  2. I'm sure he WAS praying to dogs. There's that great/nuts color plastic solo footlong of introspective Sky noodling on a grand piano, howling and ad libbing for two sides running. Imagine Benny Joy on some sort of fungus that only afflicts night-blooming cactus, every nine years.

  3. Lawd, I never got to hear that one -- I'm imagining an epic mescaline-sweating white-man's answer to "Esquerita and the Voola". Ordinarily I'd say it's time for a reissue, but in this case, maybe my imagination's good enuff...

  4. And what's Lindsay leering at in that picture?! Looks to me like he's keepin' an eye on the Linna Twins while everybody else is distracted by the birdie. That ol' dog...

  5. Apparently, it's Larry Williams time once again:
    Mondello, you a BAD BOY!

  6. On the GaragePunk Podcast, I paid my respects to Sky Saxon with an episode dedicated to his memory: THE MAL THURSDAY SHOW #16: Riot on Sunset Strip Revisited (http://blip.tv/file/get/Malthursday-TheMalThursdayShow16789.mp3).

    Another excellent tribute to Sky is SONIC NIGHTMARES #29 (http://blip.tv/file/get/Voodoorhythm-SonicNightmares29814.mp3).

    I remember when I was in college, giving my hipster musician friends a taste of "Excuse, Excuse" and "Satisfy You," and getting blank stares and/or laughter. Some people can't recognize genius even when it's blasting them in the face...Dogspeed, Sky.

  7. Anonymous4:10 AM

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  8. Hey Miriam - great blogsite, and excellent piece on Sky. It was such a joy to meet him when he and his new Seeds outfit came to Scotland a few years back. And it completely blew my mind that The Thanes got to open for them in Glasgow at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. Although he probably said it to thousands of his fans, I can't say I wasn't touched, bowled over and indeed completely thrilled when he called me his spiritual brother. I could feel the tears welling up as I watched that most incredible video of Painted Doll. Whatta group The Seeds were, and whatta legend Sky is was and ever shall be. For over 25 years or so I never ever thought I would get to meet one of my musical heroes, especially not Sky Saxon of The Seeds; well you don't do you when you are a teen flower punk obsessing over A Web Of Sound and The Seeds and Future, living in a coldwater flat, thinking of starting up a group, if possible to play THAT style of music. Wow!!! Cheers and hope to catch up with you and Billy again in the not too distant...yr pal Lenny

  9. Well said, Lenny. We hope to hear and see you in the new decade. You're a super talent yourself and it's a gas knowing you.