June 18, 2024

Gabe Serbian—the longtime drummer of San Diego noise punk outfit the Locust—has died. The Locust confirmed the news on their official Facebook page earlier today (May 1). “It’s with heavy hearts that we have to share the passing of Gabe Serbian on April 30th, 2022,” the band wrote in a statement. “This world will miss Gabe as a friend, family member, musician, and artist. He will continue to live on in so many ways and through everyone he has connected with during his time with us.” Serbian was 44 years old, though he would have turned 45 today, Pitchfork confirmed. “We hope that you can find a way to celebrate his life,” the Locust added in their statement. The group asked that fans give Serbian’s family privacy at this time. They also shared a link for Serbian’s memorial fund. All donations will go to Serbian’s family.

Emerging from San Diego in 1994, the Locust became known their high-speed, brutal sonic assaults. Their songs were frequently under a minute long, propelled by Serbian’s punishing yet precise drumming and singer Justin Pearson’s serrated shrieks. Like early punk innovators the Screamers, they coupled typical rock instruments with keyboards and synthesizers, lending an experimental edge to their work.

The group’s early lineup consisted of founding members Pearson and guitarist Dylan Scharf, who had played in a local hardcore band called Struggle in the early ’90s. They enlisted guitarist Bobby Bray, drummer Dave Astor, and keyboardist Dave Warshaw to round out the group. The Locust’s self-titled debut arrived in 1998 via Gold Standard Laboratories. Following a string of lineup changes, Serbian joined the band along with keyboardist Joey Karam, replacing Astor and Warshaw, respectively. The locust’s self-titled debut arrived in 1998, followed by 2003’s Plague Soundscapes, and their final 2007 LP, New Erections.

The Locust issued a number of singles and EPs between full-lengths, including 2001’s Flight of the Wounded Locust and 2005’s Safety Second, Body Last, but they went on hiatus following a tour for New Erections. In 2010, they issued their Peel Sessions record, which had been captured back in 2001—marking the first recording with Serbian on drums. Earlier this year, the Locust announced a reissue of Safety Second, Body Last via Three One G—the record label founded by Pearson in the mid-1990s.

In addition to his work with the Locust, Serbian played in groups like Cattle Decapitation, Dead Cross, Holy Molar, Le Butcherettes, Rats Eyes, Wet Lungs, and Zu. In 2014, he wrote and recorded multiple compositions for Incompresa (Misunderstood), a drama from director Asia Argento.

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