This March, Canada’s punk scene lost one of its loudest voices: Todd Serious, lead singer of long time Vancouver punk band, the Rebel Spell. For many, he was an introduction to both radical politics and social justice; often proving that they didn’t have to be two different things. The Rebel Spell’s most recent album was personal, political, and widely regarded as one of the best punk records to come out of B.C. in a long time. Jonny Bones, host of CJSF’s Rad Radio put it best when he said, “A lot of punk musicians fuel their music with hate. Todd’s words were powerful, but they always had hope in them. They didn’t always come from a place of aggression, but rather a unique sort of love.”
Todd and I were both raised in the small town of Williams Lake and knew a lot of the same people. Earlier this March, Todd had finished organizing a full tour for one of my friends. Planning tours is a lot of work and in this case Todd wouldn’t get paid, wouldn’t get much glory, and he wasn’t in it for any sort of down the road trade-off.
Todd liked my friend’s music. That was it. He liked my friend’s music and he believed in it so he worked hard to share it. It’s too bad that this type of selflessness is surprising, but in an industry where people can get hung up on the weird idea of “climbing ladders,” doing something exclusively to support someone else is a precious rarity.
Although Facebook may be a surreal place to grieve, it has been a powerful visual representation of all the people who really, really cared about Todd. On the day we heard the news, hundreds of people from across the country landed on Todd’s page to remember and thank him for everything he had done, both on a personal level and for his contributions to the BC music scene as a whole. It would be very difficult to overstate the influence and importance of Todd to people who care about his music. He simultaneously “gave the least fucks” and was one of the kindest, most intelligent people in Canadian punk. He will be deeply missed.