Punk rock star found dead, son charged with second degree murder

Gord Lewis, the founding guitarist of popular Canadian punk band Teenage Head, was found dead this weekend in his Ontario apartment, according to The Hamilton Spectator. Local police announced on Monday that Jonathan Lewis, the musician’s son, has been charged with second degree murder in what is being investigated as a homicide.

Detective Sergeant Sara Beck of the local homicide unit did not name Gord Lewis, 65, as the victim during a press conference on the investigation, but a man identified as the guitarist’s brother told CBC Hamilton that he learned on Sunday that his brother had died, and the band’s official Instagram account paid tribute to Lewis. Beck named Jonathan Lewis as a suspect in custody, and CBC reported that Gord Lewis’ family confirmed Jonathan was his son.

Teenage Head formed in the 1970s in Hamilton, Ontario, and found success in their native Canada. They released hit singles in the 1980s such as “Let’s Shake” and “Somethin’ On My Mind”, and several of their albums were certified gold. In 1980, they were one of the featured artists at Ontario’s Heatwave Festival, billed by promoters as the “Woodstock Punk.” The event, which also featured the Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, the Pretenders and others, became notorious due to its surprisingly large crowd size.

“Our hearts go out to his family and all who knew and loved him,” Teenage Head’s Instagram account posted on Monday. “Gord was a strength and an inspiration to many. You were taken from us far too soon.

Gord Lewis of Canadian punk band Teenage Head was found dead over the weekend, according to reports. Her son was reportedly charged with second degree murder in what would be investigated as a homicide. Here, Teenage Head are seen backstage at a club in Toronto, Canada, summer 1977. Left to right are Steve Mahon (bass), Gord Lewis (guitar) Nick Stipanitz (drums), Frankie Venom (vocals).
Photo by Erica Echenberg/Redfern

Fans flooded the Teenage Head Instagram post’s comments thread with messages paying tribute to Lewis’ legacy and well-wishes for his surviving bandmates and family.

“A gigantic loss to the Canadian music landscape…and even greater to Hamilton’s punk scene. Heartbroken for you guys,” one person wrote.

Another said: “Thank you for your rock and roll service Gordie and for welcoming us to the table. Absolutely crushed by this news.”

Other fans weighed in on Lewis’ death on Twitter.

“Maybe the greatest rock ‘n’ roll ‘punk’ band ever to come out of Canada, Teenage Head, had a stellar guitarist in the person of Gord Lewis, one of the nicest, sweetest people you would like to meet. I’m devastated to hear that he was murdered yesterday,” one tweet read.

Eric Alper, who hosts a music show on SiriusXM, also commemorated Lewis.

Alper wrote on Twitter“So sad to hear of the passing of Gord Lewis of Teenage Head. One of the most important – and underrated – bands this country has ever produced. A leader in punk and rock and roll from the 1970s , his enthusiasm and tenacity in his craft were astonishing and worth remembering.”

Newsweek has contacted Teenage Head for comment.

Diana J. Carleton