17 December 2008
by Mike Katzif
Today I’m doing some research on a band for an upcoming review. While surfing around the internet for articles and official bios, I found many passing references and comparisons to two other bands, both I had never heard of before, as being influences. Those bands are The Deep and The Seeds; both relics of psychedelic folk pop of the 1960’s.
Tossing out obscure or little known bands happens a lot in music reviewing, sometimes it’s a bit heavy-handed or pretentious, other times very helpful. In this case, my interest was peaked, so I did some (very) basic info gathering — on All Music Guide, Wikipedia and YouTube, of course.
From what I’ve gathered, The Deep were not all that notable for the era and their name doesn’t carry much weight compared to similar acts of the time. The Deep formed in the mid-1960s, never toured or gained much of a devoted following, but their lone album, The Psychedelic Moods of The Deep, is thought to be one of the first times the word ‘psychedelic’ was used in an album title.
Wikipedia’s entry plainly describes their rock and roll sound as “protopunk at times, while at others, their music delves into more psychedelic sounds,” while AMG’s brief bio says:
“They took a middle ground between the Seeds, the 13th Floor Elevators, and Kim Fowley with a thinly produced, goofy psychedelia on which tomfoolery abounded. Though basically a silly exercise, the group had their interesting moments, and certainly had a greater sense of melody than either Kim Fowley or the Seeds.” (AMG)
Here is a sample of one of their songs, a slow ballad with melodramatic sighs that almost recall French pop songwriter, Serge Gainsbourg’s song “Ballade De Melody Nelson”:
As for The Seeds, well they were more well known, and had a much lengthier career. Fronted by vocalist Sky Saxon (born Richard Marsh) and guitarist Jan Savage, The Seeds played bluesy, psychedelic garage rock, and were once called — by blues legend Muddy Waters — “America’s own Rolling Stones.”
The band’s first single “Pushin’ Too Hard” was a commercial hit — rising into the Top 40 in 1967 — and immediately spawned ’sound-alike’ follow-ups, “Mr. Farmer” and “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine,” “in an attempt to replicate their success; the latter came the closest to being a hit, just missing the Top 40.” (AMG)
“Pushin’ Too Hard” on Shebang (hosted by Casey Kasem):
“Can’t Seem To Make You Mine” on American Bandstand:
Like countless bands at the time, the group turned towards the arty and more experimental psychedelic rock, no doubt influenced by The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s, but never produced another hit and disbanded at the end of the decade.
It’s hard to tell how much influence bands like The Deep or The Seeds have had on the landscape of pop and psychedelic rock (especially compared to more notable “The” bands from the era: The Beatles, The Byrds, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Turtles, The Stooges, The Kinks, even The Monkees — not to mention Hermans Hermits and Love), but clearly their sound has left a small imprint in current acts who mine the hooks and poppy clatter, whether they know they are or not.