millions of fans mourning Michael Jackson, my thoughts are with Sky Saxon. In
this multi-dimensional universe we live in–it is often the obscure and obtuse
moment(s)undocumented by the masses which affects us in the most profound of
ways. Let me explain:
I did’nt discover Sky Saxon
& the Seeds by being the studious record collector I am. I discovered the
Seeds by chance and learned to love them by circumstance. The year was 1967 and
I was living in Lahore West Pakistan(while in the 8th and 9th grade). This was before the area was marred by
muslim terrorism and Taliban bullshit. In those days, Lahore was a
sleepy 3rd world backwater destination and for us American expatriates who lived
there, our Mayberry (minus the conveniences). There was no TV and only a few houses had telephones that didn’t even work half the time. The news was always 3 days old and if you were lucky, your short-wave radio might just might pull in the BBC for a minute or two.
There was no peanut butter or chocolate milkshakes or record stores or sneakers or anything cool. We did have record
players and Akai reel-to-reel tape recorders. And our American school had 250 kids in grades 1-12. We
were all tuned into the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Beach Boys, always looking for the next big thing. The only time we heard new
music was in September when the new kids came over there from the states. Our
group hung out at the Jones’ house (they had a pool table)—two very popular brothers who set the scene
for all of us.
The Summer of 1967 one of the gang Richard Shaw brought the
2 Seeds albums over to Duke Jones’ house. The Seeds and Web of Sound. These
records became the Jones brothers’ favorite records and they played them ad
nauseum. When we weren’t shooting pool we
were looking at the album jackets for hours. “Do you think you would grow
your hair this long?” I wonder where this photo was taken”? We had arguments
lasting hours what song was better-“Try to Understand” or “Can’t seem to make
you mine”(actually he same song) To us 9th graders the Seeds were Gods.
Fast forward to 1974-I was at
Georgetown University and was doing a radio show called “Mystic Eyes.” Lenny Kaye just released his
compilation Nuggets-and the world was getting their first formal introduction
to garage music. I played the Seeds—and If I may be so bold to say—I was playing “garage music” as a
radio format light years before the thousands who now carry the torch. As a
record collector, I became interested in the post Seeds “Discography” looking
for “Little Richie Marsh doo-wop records” and willing to kill for the rare Seeds
single “Love in a Summer Basket.” My father recently died and his favorite Seeds song was “Faded Picture” which I pulled out and
listened to in his honor.
Fast Forward to May 2009. I
am having a dinner at my dear friend and radio co-host of yester-year Dr. Joe
Sasy (the man behind all those Time-Life informercials you see at 3
AM!!) We talked about the upcoming Seeds tour and it was decided the good doctor would buy tickets for the local Birchmere show and my wife Nancy & I would spend the
night there. We all thought-what a great fun way to spend an evening.
Forward to the evening of June 26-I am bored at home and surfing the
net. I see the headline “Singer Dies from Infection.” Of course I
click the link. A wave of sadness descends over my body. I didn’t know
what to do. I call “Duke” in Utah–a prominent dentist now –and still a
very dear friend. The Secretary say’s “can you hold and I will see if
Dr. Jones can take your call.” In the few seconds that I am waiting I think back to the Dukes’ condom collection–all 120 brands he was so proud of and filled many up and used as lethal water balloons(but’s that’s another
story). Duke jumps on the phone and says, “Hey Herc!” (my 7th grade nickname) how are you?'” I tell him, “I am calling you because something very sad happened today.” What?
“Someone Died” Who? -your not calling me about “Farrah” are you Herc?”
No Duke, Sky Saxon died today.” A noticeable silence come sover the line….. “You know Herc,
he was from Salt lake.” I tell him, I know duke.” ” You know his real name was not
Sky Saxon,” No it was Richie Marsh–and he was probably a Mormon.” “Yeah Herc, Marsh is a well known
Mormon name, the Duke replies. We continued chatting making the same jokes we made in 8th grade. Who would have ever thought we were 56 year old adults?
conclusion I have to say Sky Saxon’s passing was sad and beginning
of the realization that my Generation is entering the twilight of our
lives. I was very upset with NPRfor not doing even a small
story on Sky. Those holier-than-thou Ivy League ectomorphs who pride themselves on the unique and forgotten news story–totally dropped the
ball on this and this was a story that begged to be told. Instead, NPR
was indistinguishable from Fox news in their coverage of Michael and Farrah. In their lame coverage of Michael, they even forgot
to mention the only cool thing Michael ever did was name his kid
Blanket! But then again, Sky talked to Dogs and played with Father Yod & Yahowa 13.
Yes, it’s a “Faded Picture,a picture of my childhood,” RIP Sky.
Steve Lorber is a founding member of the Rock Institute- an organization started in the 70’s to interdict and stop the export of rare American Rock and Roll records sold and smuggled to Europe. A life-long promoter of cassette technology and is currently working on a diet & philosophy book tentatively titled The Porky From New Yorky’s Guide to Weight Loss and Positive Mental Health.