Friday, June 26, 2009
I had determined this time around I wasn't going to trot out the old line about celebrity deaths happening in threes. We lost Ed McMahon on Tuesday, and now Farrah, but I would resist the urge to say it. And then I turned on the TV.
Understand that I have never been a fan of Michael Jackson's music or antics. Not my thing at all. Back in high school, during the height of Thriller's popularity and at the height of my Punk Rock snarkiness, I wrote the lyrics for a song called "Michael Jackson, You Suck." Couldn't stand him.
But I sure didn't expect that he would be number three.
I also didn't expect the media circus surrounding his demise. I understand that, despite my dislike for him, millions adored Michael Jackson, or at least his music. I get that he is considered a pop icon. But hour after hour of coverage during which basically nothing of substance was reported? Constant video of...nothing really? He passed, and that is sad, but come on! I almost expected to see Chevy Chase show up to say, "Our top story tonight: Michael Jackson is still dead!"
Most of all, however, I did not expect there would be a number four.
Less well-known to the mainstream, but an important musical figure nonetheless, Sky Saxon also passed away yesterday. Saxon formed The Seeds in 1965 with Daryl Hooper, Jan Savage, Jeremy Levine and Rick Andridge. They had a minor regional hit with their first single, "Can't Seem to Make You Mine," but achieved national notoriety with 1966's "Pushin' Too Hard," which reached #36 on the US charts and has since been covered by roughly a gazillion other bands.
The Seeds were the ultimate '60s garage band; listen to their records today and you can spot every sonic stereotype of that era and style. That's because these were the guys who practically drew up the blueprints for that sound. The band continued through some minor shuffling of the lineup and a slight name change to Sky Saxon & the Seeds before calling it quits in the early '70s.
When that signature sound came back into vogue in the '80s through bands like The Chesterfield Kings, The Fuzztones and The Cynics, Sky Saxon was back on the radar screen. After some solo stuff and collaborations with other bands, Saxon formed a new version of The Seeds and had been performing and recording intermittently ever since.
So, sadly, it turns out that these things don't always happen in threes. This week, it was four, with three in one day. May all four rest in peace.
Listen to The Seeds: