Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hula Nite with Sky Saxon

Yesterday, following my Tune-Up column on The Seeds: Pushin’ Too Hard documentary, which is showing at the Jean Cocteau next week, my KSFR crony and fellow Seeds fan Sean Conlon sent me an email about the time he went to a Sky Saxon show 25 years ago.

With Sean's permission, I share the email here:

"Bring me the hula girls!"
In 1990 I visited a friend in San Francisco and he told me we were going to see another friend's band open for Sky!  I was surprised because I'd heard Saxon had burned out and disappeared, but my friend told me he'd seen a reunited Seeds share a bill with Love a few months earlier, and that Sky had been in fine form.  

So we head down to the venue, which turns out to be the lobby of a seemingly deserted SRO hotel in the Tenderloin.  There was a hand-drawn cardboard sign on the door, and that was apparently the only advertising that had been done for the gig besides word of mouth.  There were maybe 20 people in the dimly lit room.  There was a bar, but no stage; just a corner that had been cleared out.  In another corner was Sky, sitting with 5 or 6 hippie chicks.  They were young, maybe about 20.  He looked old, and in bad shape.  

During my friend's opening set (they were sort of a Toiling Midgets-wannabe band.  In 1983 the Midgets had been our upstairs neighbors in the Mission district.)  Sky's entourage got on the dance floor and hula-hooped.  Things were looking up.

There was a problem, though.  Sky hadn't brought a band.  I'm not sure if he thought the promoter was going to provide one, or if he just forgot.  He asked my friend's group to back him, although they didn't know any of his material.  No worries, he said, just do your thing and I'll work with it.  So they noodled around while he recited some verse and a few lines from Pushin' Too Hard, and sang "Mr Mojo Risin'" over and over while the hippie chicks continued with the hula hoops.  After about 10 minutes of this, Sky went back to his table in the corner, the entourage packed up and they all left.  

I'm still not sure if it was the best or worst show I ever saw.

So there you have it.

Don't forget the The Seeds: Pushin’ Too Hard is showing at the Jean Cocteau Cinema (418 Montezuma Ave., 505-466-5528) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and Thursday, Nov. 19. The doc’s director, Neil Norman will be on hand for Q & both nights.

I don't think hula hoops will be provided.

And don't forget tomorrow night's Terrell’s Sound World on on KSFR-101.1 FM. here I'll be playing a special segment featuring the music of the Seeds, Sky Saxon, and lots of cool bands covering their songs. The show starts at 10 p.m. with the Seeds set starting at the 11th hour.

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