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Sebastian (Agnello)

Websites:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOQLbGRDNpdcjQxYF4qXlkw, https://www.turtleshellmusic.com/
Origin: Toronto, Ontario, 🇨🇦

In 1964, twelve year-old guitarist Sebastian Agnello started a rock band with fellow classmates Danny Taylor and John Richardson at Earl Grey Public School in Toronto, and called themselves D.T. & The Phantoms. They played a few Tea Dances and Sock Hops until Sebastian left to play with "older guys" from East York Collegiate.

Meanwhile Taylor and Richardson recruited Hughie Leggat, Greg Fitzpatrick and Gary Elliott to gig under the handle The Lords Of London. In the summer of ’66, bassist Greg Fitzpatrick went on a family vacation to the east Coast and Sebastian was called in to play bass for the whole summer. Organist Elliott left the band when Fitzpatrick returned and Sebastian was asked to become the keyboard player. Having never played keyboards before, and with only a megre knowledge of the piano keyboard, Sebastian made his debut as The Lords’ keyboard player less then a month later playing "two finger chords: one finger from each hand."

The Lords become teen pop stars in 1967 when their independently recorded first single "Cornflakes & Ice-Cream", on the Apex label, became a #1 hit on 1050CHUM AM.

Sebastian had never been happy with the "commercial bent" of the band and while the Lords were recording their first album in New York, Sebastian abruptly quit the band when told that the next single was another ‘bubblegum’ song. The album was never finished.

On returning to Toronto, fifteen year-old Sebastian started assembling his ideal band. He recruited Clint Ryan, Paul Ryan and Andy Kelly to form Spuff, a band that could sing four-part harmonies like the Beach Boys and Jordainares, sing soulful leads like the Stax artists and musically incorporate everything from The Rascals/Zappa/Hendrix and Frank Sinatra, sometimes within the same song.

Spuff toured everywhere including opening shows for Jimi Hendrix and The Mothers Of Invention and recorded one album for US label Mainstream Records (Janis Joplin, Amboy Dukes, Billie Holiday). When the A&R man that signed them ‘demanded’ that they sign a management contract with him, the band refused. The act was dropped and the album never released. The tapes are presumed lost forever. With the Yorkville Village scene dieing, Spuff broke up in late ’69 and Sebastian, at the age of 17, stopped performing but not writing.

In early 1971, Sebastian received a call from Leigh Ashford manager, Roly Pacquin, saying that "Brian Ahearn and Bill Gilliland need songs for a girl singer named Anne Murray". Sebastian played some songs for them but none were ‘appropriate’. But when Seb played a song he’d just written about three Rock casualties (Jimi Hendrix, Allan Wilson and Janis Joplin) Yorkville Records immediately signed him and "Jimi, Janis and Allan" was hastily recorded by producer Pat Riccio with Leigh Ashford as the rhythm section.

For the next 6 years, Sebastian was one of the most sought after session men/sideman in Toronto playing over 300 shows per year and performing on over 200 albums for such acts as Gary & Dave, Gordie Tapp, Diane Leigh, Jack Bailey, The Allan Sisters, Gail Dahms, The Cycle, Al Cherney and Maurice Boyler.

It was during one of these sessions that Sebastian would play some 'black humour' folk songs he had written in the 60's. Ed LeBuick, owner of Cachet Records, asked Seb to make a tape of these songs for his wife. Seb and engineer Fen Friesen (Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot) stayed up one night and recorded 10 songs that would become 'Head Roach' (Vintage Records, 1972). The album was banned upon release due to the subject matter: drugs ("Let’s Go To The Drugstore"); homosexuality ("Jack The Ripper"); and groupies ("They Call Her Pig").

In 1977 Sebastian started his own Cabbagetown Records label and a country band called Patches comprising ‘rock musicians’ featuring Real Lanthier (Crowbar), Pinky Dauvin (Stitch n’ Tyme, Lighthouse), Mike Holder and Jon Lehti. They released two singles and opened shows for Charlie Pride and Hank Snow.

In 1979 Sebastian disbanded Patches and released an EP of political/philosophical rock songs called 'Ubermensch' under his own name. In 1981, the political aspect became more intense with the formation S.C.A.B with The Sharks' rhythm section Cleve Andersen and Bazil Donovan. S.C.A.B released one cassette entitled 'Know The Enemy' recorded live at The Headspace (Larry's Hideaway) in Toronto with Andy Kelly replacing Cleve Andersen. S.C.A.B.’s political aggressiveness and musicianship earned them the title "The Most Hated Band On Queen Street" from local new wave and punk bands.

In 1984, Sebastian Country, a nine piece country swing band was formed and released the 'Full Moon & Welfare Cheques' album.

1986 saw Sebastian return to his folk roots by releasing the acoustic album 'this is a protest album' and played the Mariposa circuit culminating in hosting the "Music & Politics" segment Of the Mariposa Festival where his guest performer was Bob Rae, Leader of Ontario’s NDP Party and future Premier. That same summer, Seb produced, wrote, directed and starred in the television specials "An Evening Of Phil Ochs" and "Three Faces Of Protest" for the Rogers Cable System. He also did shows with The Flaming Lips, John Ottway and was music director for Kinky Friedman’s Canadian appearances.

In 1989, Sebastian released the album 'White Liberals On Reggae' showcasing his observations on the political correctness of the ‘80s. It reached Top 10 status at most campus radio stations across Canada.

The ‘90s were spent in the studio and on the road with acts like Lori Yates, Valerie Shearman, Annette And The Revtones and Roy Payne.

In 1999, Sebastian released 'While Baby Sleeps', his first album in 10 years where he wrote, produced and performed everything. Sebastian’s newest release is Sebastian Country’s album 'Modern Day Cowboy' (Turtle Shell Music, 2002).

Sebastian spends most of his time in his own studio writing, recording, mastering and producing a variety of acts and occasionally performing live shows.
-Sebastian Agnello



Sebastian 944444443

Sebastian (Agnello)

A 1762315 1546646106 1846

Sebastian (Agnello)


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