Brian Carney - rhythm guitar, vocals
Johnny Valenzuela - keyboards, vocals, percussion
Steve Mackel - bass guitar, vocals
Steve Baur - drums
Red - lead guitars
The roots of Stonewheat can be traced back to the early 80’s where, in Sun Valley, Idaho, Brian Carney and John Valenzuela formed their first band together. They would remain in bands together through high school and college. It was at Loyola Marymount University where they met Steve Mackel, Steve Baur (who wasn’t originally in Stonewheat, but replaced original drummer Dan Reed in 1994), and Jim “Red” Warner. Their first official gig as Stonewheat was New Year's Eve 1986-87. Stonewheat went on to release two CDs, and played throughout Southern California (and Sun Valley, Idaho, twice a year!) through the 80’s and 90’s. Sold out gigs at The Whisky and Club Lingerie in Hollywood, festival shows, television and national radio appearances, videos in rotation, and an extremely loyal fan base were all parts of the Stonewheat history during their 11-year run from 1986 to 1997.
In November of 1997, Stonewheat decided to call it a day. At that time, they had written enough material to record a third album, and in fact had started the process and completed two songs. But instead of finishing the CD, they played their last gig in November of '97 and went their separate ways. Brian immediately moved back to Idaho. John moved back six years later. Steve Mackel and Red stayed in Los Angeles. Steve Baur got his doctorate in musicology, and now Dr. Steve Baur lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They have remained in touch over the years, and the breakup was amicable.
In January of 2011, John pitched to all the guys that they finish that third CD. With technology, it could now be done over the internet, so with the exception of one initial weekend for basic tracks, they didn’t have to be in the same place to do it. So, they all met in Los Angeles in July 2011 and laid down basic tracks for the remaining 12 songs. For the next eleven months, they each added parts to the songs from the comfort of their own home studios. The process went very well, and the new CD, “Not The Same”, was finally completed in June 2012. In fact, Stonewheat was so pleased with how the CD turned out, that in July 2012 they all reconvened in Sun Valley to play four reunion gigs, which were a huge success.
The new Stonewheat CD, “Not The Same”, is a beautiful document of where the band had left off in 1997, while still sounding fresh and new. The CD stands up consistent with their first two CDs, showing the evolution of this unique band. For the five band members (and producers Jim Bailey and Dan Naim), it has been a delight to revisit these songs, release a CD, and just “be” Stonewheat again. Putting these songs onto CD was truly “unfinished business” and playing the reunion gigs was the logical next step. Now, with the CD out and the reunion gigs a success, Stonewheat’s next move is wide open with possibilities. There is already talk of some reunion gigs in Southern California, a Lake Powell reunion week somewhere down the line, and perhaps even more. Now, for Stonewheat, it’s easier than ever to take it one day at a time.