Kenny and the Kasuals front man Kenny Daniel died Sunday in a hospital, “peacefully” and “surrounded by the love of his children,” according to a post from friend Connie Riddell on the band’s Facebook fan page.
Daughter Taylor Elizabeth Daniel also confirmed the news publicly, saying in a statement that he had been living with dementia.
Daniel was a 1964 graduate of Bryan Adams High School who grew up around Casa View and White Rock Lake, and The Kasuals were largely considered, according to the Texas Historical Society, “one of the most seminal and long-lasting Texas rock-and-roll bands from the 1960s” as well as “pioneers of the psychedelic era.”
The band’s origins can be traced to Daniel’s East Dallas living room, according to THS.
Possibly inspired by Kenny’s dad George Kenneth “Ken” Daniel, a big-band musician, Kenny and classmate Tommy Nichols cooked up a duo called Illusions Combo. The boys soon added neighbors Blaine Young and Charles Beverly and the foursome played BA high school dances and parties.
After Young’s untimely death, the group restructured and added members [such as Jerry Smith, Lee Lightfoot, David ‘Bird’ Blachley, Paul Roach], dropped one more [Nichols] and grew in popularity before a Hillcrest High School kid named Mark Lee [who died last summer] became their manager and they rebranded Kenny and the Kasuals, according to the historical society.
“They had a huge local following that I think is still crucial to any band’s success, and the people loved them,” Lee told Paul Heckmann of Memories Inc.
They played frequently at the Studio Club which was owned by Chili’s founder Larry Levine. It’s where they found their voice, according to Lee.
The group’s biggest hit was perhaps “Journey to Tyme” but they released multiple singles and a live album called “Impact.”
Daniel was a veteran of Vietnam. After the war the members pursued various endeavors but also reunited frequently well into the 2000s.
In 2011, Daniel and fellow BA graduate Richard Parker teamed up to write, “Stomp and Shout: The All-Too-Real Story of Kenny and the Kasuals and the Garage Band Revolution of the Sixties.”
Family members say they will continue to post updates related to memorials and funeral services. We will update this post as that happens.
If you have memories you’d like to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org. If we come up with a few, we will publish those after Thanksgiving.
Note: A correction has been made to the name of Kenny’s father, who we initially called Ed. Also, he Kenny graduated in ’64, not ’66. Thank you to Taylor for letting us know.
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