The Seeds and Ya Ho Wa 13 are two completely different yet equally influential bands, linked by one man with the name of Sky Saxon. Though something of a mystery over the last thirty years, Sky Sunlight Saxon is now back with both groups. Recently L.A. RECORD’s Jed Maheu got turned on with him.
Where are you living these days?
I live in gorgeous Marin County, California, with my beautiful wife, Sabrina, and our dog and cat, Lucy and Licorice. But we are not attached to anywhere. We could be in Greece, England, Hawaii, or just stay in Marin. Marin is home to my other new band, the Tribe SSS. They won’t be playing around right away because I’m making a DVD video set to introduce the band. The band members change all the time but basically there are thirteen people in the band. Marin is great but it is very expensive! There are a lot of great musicians here—especially in Fairfax, the magical town we hang out in just on the way to West Marin and Point Reyes National Seashore.
Did you go back and forth between playing in the Seeds and Ya Ho Wha 13?
No. Ya Ho Wha 13 is a very magic band—mostly instrumental—that chants the name of God. I will be closing the show with them at the Echoplex. I consider them one of the best bands ever and totally misunderstood. But now listen to the music some 35 years later.
How did you meet Father Yod and the Source family?
[The Source] was one of my favorite restaurants to eat at because it was totally vegetarian. I guess that is the first time I did see Father Yod. I felt drawn to the family and when Father told me to come home, I knew it was the right thing to do. However, it wasn’t that easy as I had to disband the Seeds totally to go to God.
How would you describe the music of Ya Ho Wha 13?
The best. The only other instrumental band I can remember that meant something was the Ventures. But I do believe that Ya Ho Wha 13 is much greater because as advanced as they are musically, you will see Djin—Father’s chief lead guitar player—playing with such things as a violin bow, glass, a feather, and a bone—among other things—thus making the sound sometimes primitive. Which feels good. It brings us back to our awakening. We have been force-fed so much commercial music that we no longer know what real music is. To further emphasize this, we have gone away from analog—which is a warm sound—and to digital—which is a cold sound—and I think that will kill a lot of brain cells. We were all sold a bill of goods. Digital is not that good. Better we get back to analog. It is a better and more true sound.
What was the recording process like for Ya Ho Wha 13?
It was natural—as natural as could be. It was played from the moment—the music that was born of the moment, and it was the music for the times. However, since it has always been great, it will always be music for our times. It has been defined as some of the best music we human beings have ever done on the Planet Earth.
Did playing with Ya Ho Wa challenge your ideas about being a musician?
Absolutely. Father was the greatest. He probably could have played many instruments, but he chose the instrument I told him would be great for him, and that was the big kettle drum. Father, in my opinion, was the greatest singer—better than Al Jolson, better than the Beatles, better than Elvis, better than myself or the Doors or anyone else because Father experimented with his voice. He wasn’t afraid to sing in any style. History will record him as one of our great singers. I was totally influenced by what Father knew about music. He was very magic. He was like a great magician playing music with his sons and daughters. Only this great musician was our spiritual Father. All power to Ya Ho Wha and his children.
Did Father Yod and Ya Ho Wha ever play outside of L.A.?
We played San Francisco and we played Hawaii and many other places.
What was the reaction from the crowd during live performances?
Their minds were all blown—including mine.
When was the last time you played as Ya Ho Wha and what can we expect?
The closest I played was two years ago when I made three unreleased albums with our band Fire ~ Water ~ Air. I have not released these three albums, but take my word—they are great. So, in Fire ~ Water ~ Air, Fire and Water are two of the main players of Ya Ho Wha 13, which are Djin on lead guitar and Sunflower on bass and myself on lead vocals as well as piano and drums.
Do you remember performing with the Seeds on the TV show The Mothers-in-Law? Can you tell us about that?
Oh please… the show is forty years old. It was a stupid show. It still is a stupid show. I never give it any energy. It was offered to the Buffalo Springfield. The Seeds accepted it to be on major television. I think it was a stupid show and I can’t give it any more energy.
Would you like to talk about your vegetarian beliefs?
I believe that vegetarianism is a beautiful way of life. We have already gone through four ages. How long is God supposed to wait for people to have the consciousness that we were not put on earth to eat his animals? I believe every major plague and major disease and illness and sickness is the result of the barbaric insane habit of eating God’s animals—especially red meat. It will tarnish your spirit and lay your soul in havoc. To me, vegetarianism is the only way for people to understand the meaning of life. For if they eat animals, they will never understand the meaning of life or what God intended for them or the great kingdom they lost. So I fervently pray that the light will come in to everyone through the spark of God that is within everyone, and they will cease eating animals and become the beautiful beings they were procreated to be.
Tell us about the music you are currently working on.
I’m working on my new song, ‘Ordained Warriors.’ I’ve been working on this one for three months. I have a lot of music that I have worked on over the past few years that has yet to be released. Some of it is amazing and needs to be heard. I’m working on that. I also am working on my cosmic liquid sound style of music that embraces spontaneity, and the spontaneous music and lyrics that can come from a session with musicians who can flow with the improv style of performing. For the L.A. concert, you can see the set list on my official website—www.skysunlightsaxontheseeds.com. You’ll see that it is a broad list that encompasses all my years in music, and most of it is very timely for this day and age. The Seeds band for the L.A. show is made up of some amazing musicians that I’ve played with many times over the years. It will be an amazing show!
What else would you like to talk about?
It is time for the independent to rise to the top. I feel I helped give birth to this which now must be ever so. Green energy—which is money—will sometimes be hard to get but if the true artist is selling his own music, he’ll find it liberating and fun and won’t have to wait for some ignorant person at a record company to tell him his music is no good or the truth is most people are out of touch. Everybody knows anything new comes first from the underground. These people wait like vultures for someone to bring them something. When that happens it upsets the balance because if they were really that great, in time they would have made it on their own and on their own terms. So for music—the main goal is to bring enjoyment and soothe the savage beast of man. That is what I have always wanted to do with my music. And I want to keep it as pure as possible. That is why up to date I have not bothered with major labels for I feel they really cannot afford me. So don’t ever sell yourself out. If it is at all possible, be as independent as you can.
PROCESS MEDIA, COLD SWEAT AND FLAUNT PRESENT SKY SAXON AND THE SEEDS PLAY FRI., NOV. 16, WITH YA HO WA 13, ENTRANCE AND HECUBA PLUS DJs SMALL TOWN TALK AND VISUALS BY ISIS AQUARIAN AT THE ECHOPLEX, 1154 GLENDALE BLVD., ECHO PARK. 8 PM / $16-$18 / 18+. WWW.ATTHEECHO.COM.