It’s a sad day for the music industry as a wonderful artist has passed away. Sebastian Agnello, a talented musician and songwriter, passed away at the age of 71.
Sebastian Agnello’s contributions to the Canadian music business were obviously significant and his death is undoubtedly another setback for the Canadian music scene. Keep reading to know more about it in detail.
Sebastian Agnello passed away
Sebastian Agnello, one of Canada’s finest protest guitarists and singer-songwriters, died in September 2023. Seb was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, pal, and protest singer.
The family shared the heartbreaking news on his official Facebook page.
A Message from the Agnello Family:
We’re incredibly sorry to share the passing of the incomparable Sebastian Agnello.Seb was a beloved husband, father, grandpa, brother, uncle, friend and protest singer.A gifted musician and songwriter, Seb always said “the guitar us just a prop so I can shoot my mouth off”. And he did.Seb was a true master storyteller – whether they were his stories or ones he found. No matter if he was playing Maple Leaf Gardens, the local watering hole or his daughters’ weddings, he made every room feel like his living room.Seb always left an impression.He was kind, generous, and always considerate of others. And he was cool.A lot of people will miss Seb.
*A private service will be held for immediate family only*
About Sebastian Agnello
At Toronto’s Earl Grey Public School, where he was a 12-year-old guitarist, Sebastian Agnello formed D.T. & The Phantoms with classmates Danny Taylor and John Richardson. Sebastian eventually left to play with some “older guys” from East York Collegiate after they had finished a few Tea Dances and Sock Hops.
The Lords Of London
Hughie Leggat, Greg Fitzpatrick, and Gary Elliott were also hired by Taylor and Richardson to perform as The Lords Of London. Sebastian was asked to fill in on bass for the duration of bassist Greg Fitzpatrick’s family vacation to the east coast in the summer of 1966. When Fitzpatrick returned and Sebastian was asked to take over as the keyboard player, the band’s organist Elliott left.
Sebastian made his keyboard playing début for The Lords less than a month later, playing “two finger chords: one finger from each hand” despite never having played the instrument previously and having only a limited understanding of the piano keyboard.
In 1967, The Lords achieved teen pop stardom when their independently released first single “Cornflakes & Ice-Cream” on the Apex label went to #1 on 1050CHUM AM. When the Lords were in the middle of making their debut album in New York, Sebastian, who had never been comfortable with the group’s “commercial bent,” abruptly left the group after learning that the following single would be another “bubblegum” tune. The album was never fully completed.
Agnello’s ideal band
Sebastian, a fifteen-year-old, began putting together his dream band after arriving in Toronto. To create Spuff, a band that could sing four-part harmonies like the Beach Boys and Jordainares, soulful leads like the Stax artists, and musically incorporate everything from The Rascals/Zappa/Hendrix and Frank Sinatra, sometimes within the same song, he enlisted Clint Ryan, Paul Ryan, and Andy Kelly.
Spuff performed all over the world, notably as Jimi Hendrix and The Mothers Of Invention’s opening act, and he also released one album on the Mainstream Records (Janis Joplin, Amboy Dukes, Billie Holiday) imprint in the US. The band declined to sign a management agreement with their A&R agent, who had ‘demanded’ that they do so after being signed. The album was never released, and the act was dropped.
The tapes are regarded as permanently lost. As the Yorkville Village scene began to fade, Spuff disbanded in the latter half of 1969, and Sebastian, then 17 years old, quit playing music but continued to write. Roly Pacquin, the manager of Leigh Ashford, called Sebastian at the beginning of 1971 to inform him that “Brian Ahearn and Bill Gilliland need songs for a girl singer named Anne Murray.”
None of the songs Sebastian played for them were considered “appropriate.” However, when Seb sang a song he’d just written about three Rock martyrs (Jimi Hendrix, Allan Wilson, and Janis Joplin), Yorkville Records promptly signed him, and producer Pat Riccio hastily recorded “Jimi, Janis, and Allan” with Leigh Ashford as the rhythm section.
200 Albums Retrospective
For the following six years, Sebastian was one of Toronto’s most in-demand session musicians and sidemen, appearing on more than 200 albums and 300 shows annually for artists like Gary & Dave, Gordie Tapp, Diane Leigh, Jack Bailey, The Allan Sisters, Gail Dahms, The Cycle, Al Cherney, and Maurice Boyler.
During one of these sessions, Sebastian would perform some folk tunes he had composed in the 1960s that were described as having “black humor.” Cachet Records’ Ed LeBuick requested Seb to create a tape of these tracks for his wife. Seb worked late one night with engineer Fen Friesen (Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot) to record 10 tracks that would later be released as “Head Roach” (Vintage Records, 1972). Due to the themes of drugs (“Let’s Go To The Drugstore”), homosexuality (“Jack The Ripper”), and groupies (“They Call Her Pig”), the album was initially outlawed.
A country band named Patches, which included “rock musicians” Real Lanthier (Crowbar), Pinky Dauvin (Stitch n’ Tyme, Lighthouse), Mike Holder, and Jon Lehti, was founded by Sebastian in 1977 under his own Cabbagetown Records label. They performed as the openers for Charlie Pride and Hank Snow and released two songs.
After Patches split up in 1979, Sebastian published an EP of political and philosophical rock songs under his own name titled “Ubermensch.” The political component intensified in 1981 after Cleve Andersen and Bazil Donovan of The Sharks’ rhythm section formed S.C.A.B. S.C.A.B released one tape, ‘Know The Enemy,’ which was a live performance at Toronto’s The Headspace (Larry’s Hideaway) with Andy Kelly in place of Cleve Andersen. Local new wave and punk bands dubbed S.C.A.B. “The Most Hated Band On Queen Street” due to their political abrasiveness and talent.
Sebastian Country, a nine-piece country swing group, established in 1984 and issued the album “Full Moon & Welfare Cheques.”
With the release of his acoustic album “this is a protest album” in 1986, Sebastian returned to his folk roots. He also played the Mariposa circuit, culminating in his hosting of the festival’s “Music & Politics” section, featuring Bob Rae, the leader of the NDP in Ontario and future premier.
The Rogers Cable System’s “An Evening Of Phil Ochs” and “Three Faces Of Protest” television specials were produced, written, directed, and starred in by Seb that same summer. He also performed live with John Ottway and The Flaming Lips, and he oversaw the music for Kinky Friedman’s performances in Canada. Sebastian’s album “White Liberals On Reggae” with his reflections on the political correctness of the 1980s was published in 1989.
Most campus radio stations in Canada ranked it among the Top 10 songs. With artists like Lori Yates, Valerie Shearman, Annette And The Revtones, and Roy Payne, the ’90s were spent in the studio and on the road. Sebastian’s first album in ten years, “While Baby Sleeps,” which he wrote, produced, and played entirely, was released in 1999.
Seb was mainly a protest singer. Seb can transform the largest venue into a small and dynamic setting. He can be scathing, hilarious, politically wrong, and always entertaining.
Sebastian Agnello cause of death
Details about Sebastian Agnello cause of death were unknown at the time of publication. The absence of knowledge concerning the circumstances surrounding his death can lead to speculation and concern among his fans and the general public. In situations like these, it’s critical to highlight the importance of patience and respect for the individual’s and their family’s privacy. In the meanwhile, the music community can come together to encourage one another and honor his legacy.
Tributes to Sebastian Agnello
Many people expressed their profound sympathies to his family and expressed how much they loved him. The news of this occurrence has upset his supporters and fans.
Frank Terzo wrote: “R.I.P. UNCLE Sebastian Agnello A CANADIAN LEGENDIt is hard to encapsulate everything Seb meant to me as an uncle and a musician. There is no one that I have boasted more about in my life, than this man. He was my mentor. He taught me about freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of creativity. Rock’n Roll Heaven has just gained a Legend.”
Les Yatabe wrote: “Sending sincere condolences to Hyla and family. News of Seb’s passing has hit me really hard. His CDs and YouTube videos have been playing since I first heard the bad news. I’m not sure how/when I first met Seb, but it would have been sometime around 1980. There was so much I admired about Seb. He was a kick ass guitar player, song writer, story teller but mostly a caring and generous person. I followed SCAB, Sebastian County, Denim and his solo work across the city. I was grateful for Seb allowing me to contribute photography, video, and graphic design for his LPs, CDs, and T shirts. One of my favourite memories is when Sebastian played at my wedding reception in 1989. It was a mix of SCAB originals and country covers that shocked and astounded many in attendance. I often visit the Vincent Chin memorial in Detroit. Next time I will place a flower in your honour. Rock and Roll Heaven is an even better place today. Seb, thank you for all you have given us.”
While his death is definitely heartbreaking, it also provides an opportunity to reflect on his legacy and the music he shared with the world. Sebastian Agnello’s music has a destiny to continue to inspire and impact the lives of countless people, ensuring that his memory lives on through the power of his art.
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Rohini (Editor) is a content writer with 3 years of experience in content writing. She joined Medico Topics on the Breaking News trainee scheme in 2022 and now works on MedicoTopics.com. She possesses a keen interest in political and entertainment matters, including the latest and most widely circulating celebrity rumors, and comprehensive resources on the wealth of renowned actors, athletes, players, and politicians around the globe.