Josh Steely (right) and his son his Chris Stone — photo taken in the 1990s — make their livings playing guitar. "My dad say he was thoroughly impressed."
Guitarist Jerry Raney of the world famous cow punkers the Beat Farmers often shares the stage with his son, guitarist/drummer Nathan. And Josh Kmak’s Undertone album (recorded under the name Creepseed) was one of the most acclaimed local albums of the last two years. He follows the lead set by Uncle Joel, who drummed in such well-known local bands as the Penetrators and the Crawdaddys, while Uncle Jeff plays all the time with Joey Harris and the Mentals.
Here, for your consideration, are four more examples of local talent that did not skip a generational beat.
Josh Steely and son Chris Stone
Carlsbad’s Josh Steely was working as an electrician’s assistant and playing in a power trio called Sandjacket when fellow North County-borne guitarist Stevie Salas (Rod Stewart, George Clinton) brought him up to Hollywood to fill out Chris Daughtry’s band. Daughtry was a top-four American Idol contestant in 2006, which lead to the formation of his self-named band. Daughtry’s four albums have racked up sales of eight million worldwide. “They just finished their [fifth] album in Nashville,” says Steely’s oldest son, Chris Stone. “You don’t hear about Clay Aiken or Ruben Studdard or any other Idol finalists still going out on tour.”
Like his dad, son Chris has a love of intricate guitar work, as was evidenced in his trash metal band Brutalion (2005-2014). “I parted ways with the group. I got married, had kids, and focused on recording heavy groove, multi-track stuff in my home studio [in Vista].” Stone says his all-instrumental work reminds some of Buckethead. “My dad said he was thoroughly impressed and he would show it other musicians on his next tour.”
Stone says his dad’s day job keeps him from launching solo projects. “His commitments to Daughtry keep him tied down. But when he is in town he loves to play around town with Sandjacket.
Stone, 31, has two children. His youngest, at two years old, is older than his dad’s latest. “When [Josh] is town he’s a full time dad. They have a newborn.”
Candye Kane and son Evan Yearsley
What do you do when your mom, the bigger-than-life burlesque boogie queen Candye Kane, suddenly dies young due to pancreatic cancer? You organize 100 of her closest friends and stage a mardi-gras-style parade in the streets, celebrating her wild, colorful life. “We marched from my house to Cassidy Street Beach with the Euphoria Brass Band,” says Candye’s son Evan Yearsley (aka Evan Caleb) about the South Oceanside party/wake he launched in 2016 just after Kane died.
“We all did a paddle out then we all went bowling at the Surf Bowl. We all did what mom wanted. We all wore feathers. There were a lot of feather boas and sequins at the bowling alley that day.”
Evan now plays drums in the Casey Hensley Band. “We definitely want to pick up where she left off. It’s very therapeutic for all of us.”
Evan acquired his last name when Candye married Paladins bassist Thomas Yearsley (who owns the analog Thunderbird Studios just two blocks from Kane’s old house in South Oceanside).
Paul Kamanski and daughter Tennessee
Because of his cinematic, country-tinged songs he wrote such as “Bigger Stones,” “Hollywood Hills,” and “California Kid,” Paul Kamanski was sometimes called the fifth member of San Diego’s premier ‘80s band Beat Farmers. He eventually released several albums with his own band Comanche Moon and as a solo artist, including last year’s Derailed.
“In my early teenage years, I was really secretive about what I was doing musically,” says Paul’s daughter Tennessee Kamanski, 21. “I didn’t even want him to know I was learning guitar…being an only child going into the same line of work as your dad, I was embarrassed. But embarrassment is such a useless emotion. Singing with him now is my favorite thing in the whole wide world. When I make demos I always ask him what he thinks.”
“The thing I can thank him the most for is introducing me to Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. I used to fall asleep on the cot in the backyard listening to [Parsons'] Grievous Angel.”
Paul says parents can push their kids too hard. “I never hovered.”
But he still takes some credit. “When my wife was pregnant, Tennessee heard [Comanche Moon album] Dreams in Rewind in utero ten hours a day. When I sang those songs to her as a newborn her eyes would come alive. She was dancing to it at two weeks old.”
“When she was little, we’d make up a verse like ‘Deep in the forest where the cantaloupes grow,’ and then we’d each add a new verse and have to remember it for next time. I think that helped her learn how to write songs.”
Tennessee is now based in L.A. with her boyfriend Aaron Dennis. “We live in Silverlake after a weird stint in Las Vegas…I met him at the Che Café when I was 16 and he was playing with his band at the time, Tan Sister Radio. We are both now working on solo stuff.”
Her favorite song by her dad is “Marilyn.” “It sounds like what it feels like to be a 22 year-old kid living in L.A., which is what he was when he recorded it.”
Joaquin “Quino” McWhinney and son Jakob
Quino McWhinney’s vocals made “Baby I Love Your Way” an international smash for Big Mountain in 1994. Quino’s son Jakob admits the Top Ten hit pushed him away from the reggae vibe that helped make the song huge. “I grew up reacting to reggae as vampires react to garlic,” says the 27 year-old guitarist/keyboardist/singer about his early years.
But his rabid rasta reaction subsided. “Over the years, I started to gain respect for my dad’s early work.” The younger McWhinney even joined his dad’s band for a tour. “I made more money on that Big Mountain tour than I probably ever will.”
Long based in the South Bay, Quino moved to Ensenada five years ago. “He just wanted to be in Mexico,” says Jakob. “He opened the Big Mountain Kombucha Café there.”
And the elder McWhinney still tours in Big Mountain. “Since he got the full band back together they’ve been booking tours in the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia where they are really big.”
Father and son handle conscious music differently. “I didn’t realize how politically active he was with his lyrics early on,” says McWhinney the younger. “I think activism has a place in art, but for me for me I prefer to not be a propagandist with my music.”
Instead Jakob and singer Frank Mindingall created Field Trip, a collective of local musicians that stages live shows to raise money for causes. “We raised $2000 for the American Suicide Prevention and $900 for an LGBT youth center in Hillcrest.”
Field Trip has also been a side project incubator that has spun off a number of bands like the “weirdo new wave” Spooky Cigarette, the poppy Space Heat, the punkish Soaks, the post-punk Trips, and the garagy Kooties. The latest is New Me.
“My whole life as a songwriter I had my tail tucked away from pop songs,” McWhinney says. “New Me allows me to fully embrace the pop and big fat hooks.”
Spooky Cigarette appears March 24 at the Helmuth Projects in Bankers Hill.