Raul Seixas was a fundamental rocker in Brazil. Along with his expressive discography, whose hits continue to be re-recorded by Caetano Veloso, Margareth Menezes, and others, Seixas' role in continuing the work of establishing the foundation of Brazilian rock was of first importance.
Influenced by João Gilberto, Luiz Gonzaga, and rockers Bill Haley and Elvis Presley (whose albums were lent to him by some friends who worked at the American Consulate in Salvador), Seixas formed a band called the Panthers (later Os Panteras) in 1959. The rock quartet (guitar, bass, drums, lead vocals by Seixas) was the first to utilize electric instruments in Salvador, playing a crazy mixture of rock and baião, with interpretations of Luiz Gonzaga tunes. The surreal performances were felt as a real danger to parents who prohibited their children from attending. The band translated the Jovem Guarda feel in Bahian terms, but Seixas didn't take it too seriously, enrolling in college courses of philosophy, law, and psychology. He took contact with anti-psychiatry, abandoned all those courses, and married an American girl who was the daughter of a Protestant preacher. His wife used to be the head of the family, teaching English for a living while he used to run Salvador in the dawn on a motorcycle bought with the money saved by her to buy an apartment, since they had to live with Seixas' family. In 1967, Jerry Adriani did a live performance in Salvador, at which he was accompanied by the Os Panteras. Loving the group's sound, Adriani convinced them to move to Rio, where they recorded through Odeon their first LP, Raulzito e os Panteras, where Seixas explored metaphysical questionings and the seven Aristotelian questions. Needless to say, the album was completely ignored by the public. Adriani then took Seixas to CBS, where Seixas produced albums by Trio Ternura, Osvaldo Nunes, Renato e seus Blue Caps, Adriani, Wanderléia, and all the iê-iê-iê (the nickname of English rock in Brazil, after "She loves you, yeah, yeah") gang. It was then when Seixas hired two relatively new Brazilian musicians, Sérgio Sampaio and Edith Cooper. Together with Miriam Batucada, they recorded an album called Sociedade da Grã-Ordem Kavernista Apresenta a Sessão Das Dez. The album, strongly experimental, fused jazz and marchinhas and dealt philosophically with chaos, was retracted by CBS shortly after its release and Seixas was immediately fired. The firing was also due to Seixas' highly influential performance at the 7th International Song Festival (FIC) in 1972 with "Let Me Sing, Let Me Sing" and "Eu Sou eu, Nicuri é o Diabo." CBS didn't want to have a producer who was also a star. But the performance ingrained Seixas in a focal position regarding rock & roll done in Brazil, both for its lovers and detractors. That same year, he was hired by Philips, recording the LP Os 24 Grandes Sucessos da Era do Rock, being credited only as producer and arranger. In 1975, when Seixas was already famous, the album was re-released as 20 Anos de Rock, now with Seixas' due credit as a performer. Around this period, Seixas became friends with internationally successful esoteric writer Paulo Coelho, after a vision of a flying saucer in the Barra da Tijuca shared by both. Coelho would participate in most of Seixas' future hits. In 1973, the second LP, Krig-ha, Bandolo, brought Seixas' first big hit as interpreter, "Ouro de Tolo." The album also had other important songs, such as "Al Capone," "Mosca na Sopa," and "Metamorfose Ambulante." The duo also produced one hit after another with "Gitâ" (from the eponymous LP from 1974), "Tente Outra Vez" (from Novo aeon, 1975), "Eu Nasci Há dez Mil Anos Atrás" (1976), "Maluco Beleza," and "O Dia Em que a Terra Parou" (the latter two from the first WEA album O Dia Em que a Terra Parou, 1977, the latter becoming the anthem of hippiedom in Brazil).
His eight subsequent LPs, troubled by his frequent changes of recording labels and health problems due to involvement with drugs and alcohol, had the hits "Como Vovô Já Dizia" (1975), "Rock Das Aranha" (1980), "Cowboy Fora-Da-Lei" (1987), "Capim-Guiné," and "Carimbador Maluco" (1983, the latter having been included in the children's musical Plunct, Plact, Zuum of TV Globo). In 1989, Seixas became partner of Marcelo Nova, a longtime admirer and disciple who had formed and dissolved the punk rock group Camisa de Vênus. The album Panela do Diabo, released that year through Warner, brought a weakened Seixas, who would be increasingly debilitated by the subsequent tour. His death in August of the same year hadn't diminished the fervor of his legion of fans. He was the first Brazilian artist to have an LP organized and released by a fan club, the 1985 compilation Let Me Sing My Rock-and-Roll was of rare recordings (which was later re-released by Polygram as Caroço de Manga). His songs were re-recorded by, among others, Caetano Veloso ("Ouro de Tolo"), Irmãs Galvão ("Tente Outra Vez"), Margareth Menezes ("Mosca na Sopa"), Deborah Blando ("A Maçã"), and RPM ("Gitâ"). In commemorating the 50-year anniversary of his birth in 1995, the book O trem das Sete (Nova Sampa) was released and his first LP, Sociedade Grã-Kavernista Apresenta Sessão das Dez, was re-released in CD format. ~ Alvaro Neder