journalism that swims
against the current.
Music Picks

Sky Saxon and the Sound of Horny

Young bands are still copping his feel.

Adrian Mack 9 Jul

Adrian Mack contributes a regular music column to The Tyee.

image atom
Sky Saxon (1937 – 2009).

Even if it hadn't been overshadowed by the death of the most famous person in the world ever, Sky Saxon's passing on June 25 wasn't exactly headline news. But as the (reputedly) acid-gobbling frontman for archetypal LA garage-punks the Seeds, Saxon had an enormous and lasting impact on popular music. A recent commercial for Axe body spray copped the band's 1967 hit, "Can’t Seem to Make You Mine", though the indelible "Pushing Too Hard" is the probably the better known song.

The greater part of Saxon's legacy is contained right there, in those two numbers, but his post-Seeds life was hardly dull. Saxon ended up joining the Hollywood-based Source Family cult, recording with the sect's rolling Ya Ho Wa 13 concern in the '70s and rechristening himself as Sky Sunlight Saxon.

Rumours of his mental deterioration meant that he acquired a Roky Erickson-sized mythos during that time, but the Sky Sunlight Saxon I saw fronting a brand new version of the Seeds at a packed WISE Hall in summer 2005 was definitely all there. Impish, strange, and very old, yes -- but all there.

Saxon was lucid and happy on that hot August night, coming on like a jiggling, almost seventy year old horndog between shout-outs to Ya Ho Wa, and grabbing one lucky girl's butt during a stage invasion at the end of the night. She was up there singing "White Rabbit", which probably would have been great if the band hadn't been playing "Pushing Too Hard" .

Saxon's voice wasn't what it used to be, but then it never really was. Even in his youthful, hitmaking prime, he had more of a strangulated adolescent croak than he did a croon, implying that ol' blue balls was permanently on the verge of ejaculation. The Seeds' first album actually sounds like he's whacking it for 30 minutes straight. Hence, in my opinion, its immeasurable value as rock 'n roll.

Saxon's presence is felt these days in the bracingly snotty neo-garage of bands like Black Lips, and the King Khan & BBQ Show -- two acts that have recently collaborated under the name the Almighty Defenders, as luck would have it. A preview from their forthcoming album called "Bow Down and Die" is all mutant honky blues, distortion, thumping backbeat, and the lascivious yowling of desperate young men. You might even call it a little seedy.

Black Lips plays at the Commodore Ballroom on Thursday, July 23.

Related Tyee stories:


Read more: Music

  • Share:

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Comments that violate guidelines risk being deleted, and violations may result in a temporary or permanent user ban. Maintain the spirit of good conversation to stay in the discussion.
*Please note The Tyee is not a forum for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, denying its existence or minimizing its risk to public health.


  • Be thoughtful about how your words may affect the communities you are addressing. Language matters
  • Challenge arguments, not commenters
  • Flag trolls and guideline violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity, learn from differences of opinion
  • Verify facts, debunk rumours, point out logical fallacies
  • Add context and background
  • Note typos and reporting blind spots
  • Stay on topic

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language
  • Ridicule, misgender, bully, threaten, name call, troll or wish harm on others
  • Personally attack authors or contributors
  • Spread misinformation or perpetuate conspiracies
  • Libel, defame or publish falsehoods
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities
  • Post links without providing context


The Barometer

Who Do You Think Will Win the Conservative Leadership Race?

Take this week's poll