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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The sons of a pair of colleagues continue to make music together

Proud dads, Spokesman-Review photographer Jesse Tinsley, far left, and Spokesman-Review Editor Rob Curley, far right, look forward to seeing their son’s and members of the band Vika & the Velvets, Rogan Tinsley (on saxophone) and Jonathan Curley (on bass), open for Peter Rivera Friday at the Fox.  (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

The odds of two music-obsessed high school friends forming a band are pretty good. But the chances of both musicians’ fathers working together professionally? That’s remote.

However, that’s the story of guitarist-bassist Johnny Curley and saxophonist Rogan Tinsley – two members of the up-and-coming band Vika and the Velvets. Curley’s dad is Rob Curley, editor of The Spokesman-Review. Tinsley’s dad is S-R photographer Jesse Tinsley.

“It’s a funny coincidence,” Rogan Tinsley said while calling from his Washington State University dorm in Pullman. “It’s really funny that my dad, Johnny and I played in a band whenever something was going on at The Spokesman-Review.”

Most of those spontaneous gigs were pre-show openers for the newspaper’s popular Northwest Passages book club and event series. On Friday, those old performances come full circle as the two perform as half of Vika and Velvets at the special Northwest Passages event, “Peter Rivera’s Celebrate Symphony at The Fox.”

The trio of Rogan Tinsley, Jesse Tinsley and Johnny Curley never had a name. They would just play music at Northwest Passages events, with the senior Tinsley fronting the act as vocalist-guitarist.

“We just played songs so they didn’t have to play from Spotify or whatever,” Curley said. “I remember how I felt when I started in the jazz band with Rogan and his father. I was new to music and I’m playing guitar with Rogan, who is a phenomenal musician and has been playing saxophone since middle school. I started playing when I was 15. I remember I would talk more with Jesse than Rogan in the band. It was a great experience for me.”

The trio played from 2018 to 2020, the year Tinsley and Curley graduated from Lewis and Clark High School.

Tinsley left for Pullman to study music composition.

“I missed seeing Johnny every day, but that’s what happens when you grow up.”

The two reunited last year to form Vika and the Velvets, which will perform Friday at the Fox Theater. Curley, who moved to Las Vegas recently after scoring a job as an audio technician with Cirque du Soleil, is now in and out of the band. But he’ll be on stage Friday.

“The way things are with my job, I’ll have the ability to fly back for higher-profile gigs with Rogan and the band,” Curley said. “Rogan and I will still play together.”