The Ventures: Stars on Guitars (2020) Movie Script

They asked me what I do.
I said, well, I play the guitar.
They said, well, are you in a group?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
here are The Ventures.
I love The Ventures. -I know you do.
This is like one of my
favorite groups in history.
Certainly, for us guitarists,
Jeff Beck, myself and Eric,
we've all played Ventures material
when we were kids.
The Ventures.
In the sixth grade in grammar school,
every boy in my class
could play Wipeout on his desk.
Those instrumentals led the way.
They have recorded 3,000 songs.
They have written 1,000 songs.
They took other people's songs
and made them way better.
All we have to do is hum Hawaii Five-O,
or Walk Don't Run,
and the person's instantly like, oh yeah,
I know that.
Of course, I know that.
They're the number one song instrumental group in the history of the music.
There was no language barrier.
It was just movement.
The guitar has arrived,
and The Ventures are the messengers.
None of the rest of us would be here
without The Ventures.
I think like every band in the world
had Walk Don't Run in their set.
Everyone wants to get that sound.
It just speaks to you directly to the soul.
It just as magic to me.
This is surf music,
and The Ventures were
a really important part of it.
This was like everything I was aspiring to.
The Ventures always made me feel
like I wanted to dance,
pick up a guitar and just look really cool.
When I was younger
I wanted to learn how to play the trombone.
I thought the trombone
had such a mellow sound, you know.
It was Tommy Dorsey that I really liked.
I started playing it in junior high school.
Then when I went into the army,
I went to Germany.
They said, I see you play the trombone.
Would you like to go into the band?
No, I don't think so.
Biggest mistake I ever made in my life.
Use to wake you up at 03:00
or 4:00 in the morning,
for a 20-mile hike.
Then we'd go out on what they call biv-wack.
You would march and you'd stay out
for about a week.
And I'm talking winter time.
After about three months
I'm thinking
I'm going to try to get in the band.
I'll be darned if I didn't have my orders cut
to go to the band.
They called me out and said,
I guess you're going to the band.
We got the orders
that your request came through.
So, then I was in the band.
And it was really good.
I really enjoyed that.
And I did meet a guy that was in the band.
He played the glockenspiel, which is bells.
And he played a guitar
and he was kind of jazzy,
and I played a few chords on a guitar
that I learned from my mom,
believe it or not.
He was with some trio that you might know,
the Page Cavenaugh Trio.
So, he taught me some kind of jazzy chords,
and stuff like that.
I never did pick up a guitar,
for a while until I met Bob Bogle.
I was working in my dad's car lot,
and I was considered to be the lot boy.
Bob Bogle came in one time.
I didn't know him at all.
And he wanted to buy a car.
He said, how about that car over there,
he'd point to.
And I said, nah, you don't want that car.
You know, I was a terrible salesman.
A good salesman would say
yeah, that's the car for you.
He and I got to talking,
and we got along real good.
And so, I asked him.
I said, what do you do.
He said, well, I'm in the bricklayer trade.
He got me a job.
The first thing I did was I was a hod carrier.
As a lot of people know,
it rains a lot in Tacoma and Seattle,
so a lot of times, if you're working outside
replacing the mortar between bricks,
a lot of times you can't work.
Bob and I, we thought what are we going to do.
You told me you play a little bit of guitar
and so do I.
Why don't we buy a couple of guitars,
and when we're not working out of town
we have nothing to do anyway.
Might as well try to learn
how to play the guitar.
In 1959,
we bought two guitars in a pawn shop
in Tacoma, Washington,
and we probably paid $10 or $15
a piece for them.
And the strings were, I don't know,
half and inch from the neck.
Those guitars were so hard to play,
but we bought chord books and things,
and learned everything we could,
and then we thought we'd step out,
and pay a down payment on some Fender guitars,
which we did.
I think something that really
set The Ventures sound apart from other groups
is how they utilized two guitars
to really fill out their sound.
you think of there's the lead guitar,
and the rhythm guitar.
And the lead is always in the front,
and the rhythm's in the background,
and thought of as not as important,
but in The Ventures both guitars
were always just as important.
There was only two of us to begin with,
two guitars.
I tried to make up for not having a drum,
and he tried to make up
for not having a keyboard.
You know, by using the whammy bar.
Make it wavy.
The guy playing the lead,
which I believe was Bob Bogle,
but I didn't know that then,
but the guitar was really twanging.
It was going imitates twanging.
The lead was great,
but the rhythm parts were always
just as interesting.
Don Wilson
is a really interesting rhythm player.
I looked at his amp settings.
He's got the high end cranked all the way,
and he's got the low end cranked
all the way off,
and he's playing it,
and it's a percussive sound.
Just the rhythm man.
It was just straight ahead.
Mostly downstrokes.
Not imitates mellow guitar playing
I never did that.
That kind of rhythm was unheard of.
And when I was a kid, nobody played like that.
I mean, I just really beat hard.
He didn't just strum a chord.
He didn't just play Arpeggios.
He always made it interesting
by muting, adding reverb
and making it a little more percussive.
Me playing real hard rhythm,
and him playing that kind of style,
when we got a bass and drummer,
it just stuck.
We thought we were hey, versatile,
so we called ourselves The Versatones.
And we went to register the name,
and by god, it was already taken,
otherwise we'd be The Versatones.
For about two weeks,
we called ourselves The Impacts.
I remember that.
And then my mom said, you know,
you guys are venturing into something new.
Why don't you call yourselves The Ventures?
I said, well, that's pretty corny, you know.
But anyway that kind of stuck,
and we said, well, okay.
We'll call ourselves The Ventures.
We'd play for anybody that wanted to hear it.
If somebody's having a party,
can we come and play?
We weren't quite good enough
to play for clubs,
and there was only the two of us.
So, we entered a lot of talent contests,
which are really a popularity contest.
In those days
you had to do something
more than just play music.
I mean, a lot of times a drummer
would put on some gorilla mask
or something, and act like a fool, you know
which that just wasn't our way.
We played some pretty rough places.
We worked at a place called the Blue Moon.
We worked there probably for a month,
and then we worked at the Java Jive for,
I don't know how long,
maybe a month,
month and a half something like that.
At night
I'd be at the Britannia every Saturday.
The Britannia, boy that was a rough place.
That was where they had a lot of soldiers
from Fort Lewis,
and Canadian soldiers that were training
at Fort Lewis.
There must have been five fights a night,
beer bottles flying.
They had actually a police car out in front.
When a fight broke out,
they would go and get these people,
put them in the car.
They'd just wait
until they got about five of them,
and then they'd take them all to jail.
When we played there,
we played from noon until midnight.
It did us a lot of good though,
because we had to have quite a repertoire,
and not keep playing the same things
over and over again.
We saved enough to go into the studio,
and we were $25 short.
I asked, I went to my dad.
I said, can I borrow $25.
I can't remember the exact phrase he said,
but he said,
not only am I not going to give you money,
I don't want you wasting your time
trying to play that guitar.
But my mom was a big, big supporter.
Josie had been a singer earlier in her life,
and appreciated music, saw a talent.
I thought well,
I think they probably deserve a chance
to see maybe if they can make a record.
And she was a pioneer in the music business.
She produced and promoted The Ventures
with the original Blue Horizon label.
She said, you know, if nobody wants you guys,
why don't we start our own record company?
So we did, Blue Horizon.
We're gonna have a party
That's everybody's welcome
My mom wrote Cookies and Coke.
That was our first record.
There was a woman involved in the beginning
of their band,
and she worked really hard for them,
and she was really smart,
and she made decisions
and pursued the radio station.
She really pursued things for them,
and I think that that's really special
for us as women too, you know.
There was no women in the business
at that time, especially producing.
I'm sure she was unique
and maybe the first one.
She paved the way
for other bands to do it on their own.
She started the fan club and she worked it
while she was doing production
and everything else.
As a little kid I would write to Josie,
and ask her questions about
when's the next record coming out,
and all this stuff.
And she would write me back.
She would send me a personal letter.
Josie was influential,
stood behind The Ventures,
gave them every opportunity.
She was the biggest fan.
To measure what she contributed
is immeasurable, really.
Don's mom was awesome.
So, then we found a song
that was on a vinyl record
of Chet Atkins
called Walk Don't Run.
And he played it in a jazzy finger-style.
We'd only been playing for six months.
We couldn't do that.
We weren't professional enough
to play the song the way it was written.
It was too complicated for us.
So, we Venturized it.
Written in 1954 by Johnny Smith,
recorded in 1957 by Chet Atkins,
and regarded by Rolling Stone magazine
as one of the hundred greatest guitar songs
of all time.
I give you Walk Don't Run.
You'd have to always do that song
three or four, five times a night
because people just loved hearing it.
So, we decided to record that.
I did take them to a studio in Seattle.
Joe Boles Custom Recorders.
It was a two track.
The bass and the drum on one track,
and you did the rhythm
and the lead on the other.
I remember his echo chamber was a microphone
hanging on the shower in his shower room.
He said,
I'm going to try something with you guys.
I'm going to put a microphone right there
where you're picking,
and I want to see
if I can't get the pick sound,
you know picking the strings.
Anyway, he got a great sound out of us.
Bob Bogle played lead.
Don Wilson played rhythm.
And Nokie Edwards played bass.
I was working with a country artist,
Buck Owens.
Don and Bob came in the club
where I was working,
and saw me play, and liked the way I played.
And asked me if I wanted to join up with them.
He was just outstanding as a guitar player.
We asked him if he'd play the bass,
and he said that he would and he did.
If you're a real geek then you know
that there's two distinct versions
of The Ventures in the 1960s.
There was the early period
where Bob Bogle played lead guitar,
and that was definitely more rooted in sort
of a '50s rock and roll feel,
but then at some point,
Nokie Edwards who was playing bass,
switched over to lead guitar.
And Bob went over to play bass.
And then it became
a completely different band.
Don was a great rhythm guitar player.
Has his own sound,
his own style, his own touch.
Bob had his own style too as well.
Very much like a guitar player on bass.
Nokie was a brilliant lead guitar player.
Nokie had been playing the guitar
since he was five years old.
He was a king around Seattle, Tacoma area.
Nokie had his roots in country.
There was no question about it,
but he evolved
into more of a finger-style picker
after he came in with The Ventures.
Now, he was a country player,
but he was obviously listening
to a lot of current music at the time,
and so he was bending a lot of notes.
I asked him one time why he played this way,
and he said he just wanted to play more notes.
Not to overplay,
just to make his arrangement
a little bit fuller.
Chet Atkins and Les Paul
were Nokie and Bob Bogle's idols,
especially Nokie.
He really likes mellow music.
When he sits at home he just sits, and plays
mellow finger picking music,
but everything kind of came together
at that point in the mid '60s
where he sort of became this snarling,
punk rock,
crazy, violent sounding lead guitar,
and it sort of worked with everything
that was going on at that time
in the music scene.
You know a funny thing with Nokie too,
Les Paul sped up his playing,
and Nokie says he never knew that.
So, he would try to play that
as fast as it was sped up,
and I got to tell you,
sometimes he did a pretty good job.
Bob Bogle loved the lead guitar,
but he knew that Nokie was the better player.
And Nokie was on bass
right from the beginning,
so Bob decided to switch with Nokie,
and said, you know,
we need to feature you more.
Bob mentioned though
that he didn't know how to play bass,
and Nokie said,
well, it's just the four
strings of the guitar.
Nokie was not pretentious,
but he always helped his fellow players play,
and that's what made The Ventures great.
They supported each other.
Anytime I saw The Ventures live,
my favorite part of the show was
when Bob would switch to guitar
for a couple of songs.
But then, at the same time,
Bob was also a wild man on the bass,
which was kind of strange
because he didn't have a wild man personality,
but man, on the bass he was amazing.
The drummer that played Walk Don't Run
was somebody that we had done
these talent shows with,
and he was a different type of a drummer.
He would make some drum rolls
that were quite different from anybody else.
He would belt on it.
There were rim shots in
between the different things.
He happened to be absolutely perfect
for Walk Don't Run.
I said, we'll either give you a percentage
of what it makes or $25.
He said, I'll take the 25.
That's the last we heard of him.
And you know, he never cashed that check.
Then we got Howie Johnson.
He was with us for,
I guess maybe a year and a half, two years.
And he got in a terrible car accident,
so he couldn't really travel much.
And so, we needed a drummer.
So, we happened to be at the Palomino club
in North Hollywood.
They said, why don't you get up and play?
And I said, well, I don't know
they maybe not know Walk Don't Run.
Mel, he said,
I know your song very well, yeah.
Sure come on, get up here.
So, we did and he did it well,
so we hired him.
Mel Taylor was a slamming drummer.
The bar is set very high by Mel
because Wipeout is no easy task.
To hear that kind of music with a drummer
who hit the drums that hard,
that excited us, you know.
When I saw them live,
the dynamics of Mel Taylor,
the drive that
he put behind those guys in front
that just took it to another level.
It's definitely sort of like the epitome
of surf drumming.
The Ventures came,
and they played their first record for me,
and I said, you know,
I think you're very good.
But this is not, this isn't it.
Everything was no. It was not a hit.
A guy named Pat O'Day,
who was the, became one of the,
probably most famous disc jockey in Seattle.
We got to be friends.
And I said,
do you think you could play Walk Don't Run?
And he said, well, you know,
I'd have to ask the program director.
If Pat played your record,
all the other stations did too.
It's like he made us into these little mini
superstars in Seattle and Tacoma.
So, he said, well, the only thing I can do
is to play it as what they call a news kicker.
Every hour they had news,
and before they put on the news program,
they played what they called a news kicker.
Pretty soon they announced over the air,
please don't call.
Please don't call anymore.
Our phone lines are jammed.
We will play this record in its entirety.
Well, we were working, you know.
There was another guy there,
and we had a little portable radio.
And we started listening to it.
I said, that's our song right there
playing on the radio.
Sure it is.
I heard on KJR radio in Seattle
this remarkable instrumental.
And I said, well,
they're bending notes in there,
and they're flat, their sharp deliberately.
We had been to Bob with the tape before
and he turned us down.
Well, then bob contacted me again.
And I said, this is going to be a big hit.
Are you kno-- do you know that?
She said, really?
And I said,
this is going to be possibly number one.
I think the smartest thing I'd ever done
was to take him on as a partner
and because he had the contacts.
He had had a number one recording
with The Fleetwoods called Come Softly To Me.
I knew that
he would have the knowledge of what to do,
and he already had a contract
with Liberty Records.
So, he sent it down to Liberty Records,
and the president of Liberty Records says,
no, I don't think it's a hit.
Although it was climbing
the charts in Seattle,
but only Seattle.
Mr. Reisdorff said, well, I'll guarantee it.
If it doesn't make it,
I'll pay the cost of the promotion,
and pressing and whatever else was involved.
And it wound up going to number two
in the nation.
As soon as I heard "Walk Don't Run"
I bought a copy of it.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
The drums were great,
but the sound of the guitars,
the melody, everything about it.
I was hearing a song that was being played,
being sung on the guitar.
It sounded innovative.
It sounded modern.
It sounded explorative.
We had never heard anything like that before.
It has a feeling of adventure,
and you want to go on this trip with them.
I can't imagine
what it would have been like to have heard
that music for the first time.
At that point in time, we were going,
how are they doing that?
I mean, there was so much going on
on that record that
I didn't understand.
Had this incredible,
now I know it's called reverb,
but I didn't know what it was then.
It was just guitar music.
Who found Walk Don't Run for them?
How'd they find that tune?
I was growing up playing jazz.
I had a million Johnny Smith records.
I even had that song on one.
I never got a chance to ask Don and Bob,
how in the heck did you pick
a bebop song like that,
and turn it into
what you made into a classic rock tune?
Every band in the world
had Walk Don't Run in their set.
Not the Johnny Smith
or the Chet Atkins version.
It was The Ventures version.
I think The Ventures made music that was,
maybe wasn't accessible to the average person.
They took like a jazz,
a complicated jazz tune like Walk Don't Run,
and made it
into a simpler arrangement for rock,
like a rock and roll arrangement,
and which made a lot of kids go,
I want to learn that.
The chord progression
to the rhythm guitar part on Walk Don't Run,
was the very first thing
I ever learned on guitar.
When we would listen,
and we were trying to play note for note.
We'd try to pick it out.
Wait. Do that again.
And they'd lift up the needle and go--
And you'd do it again.
Lift up that needle one more time.
I think I might have it this time.
And come back and ba-da-du-da-at-at.
Nope, that's not it.
Until you got the little parts.
I would write all of the chords down,
and I would make the sheet music,
and I would sell it to the local bands.
They were probably the first guitar teachers
most of us ever had.
The great thing about it
was everything was hearable
because there were only four people,
and there wasn't singing,
and a bunch of other stuff in the way.
You could hear everything.
People were saying,
you're going to go in,
and record it without a piano or a saxophone?
A lot of people said it's too empty.
There's-- you know, you need an orchestra.
We didn't know
any piano players or saxophone players.
And probably was fortunate that we didn't
because you know, it was just four pieces.
Two guitars a bass and a drum.
The Pacific northwest,
the Seattle, Tacoma area,
in the late '50s,
it was just the beginnings of rock and roll.
We were at the crossroads from an old era.
The big band era moving
into the new era of music.
This was new, modern,
exciting electric guitar rock.
It's called electricity.
And when you're messing with electricity
weird things happens sometimes.
And if you can catch it,
you go, hey, that's cool.
The Ventures were a rock and roll band,
and they had a lot more roll
than they had rock.
I mean, The Ventures swing.
They really swing.
But if you go back
and listen that initial album,
it's stands up against anything today.
It's tight. It's musically correct.
And it's infectious.
The early days were, to say the least, tough.
Any rock and roller
will tell you the same story,
that their family suffered
because of their work.
I was on the road sometimes for six months
at a time.
You know, that was just, took over everything.
You know, trying to make a living,
which I thought, you know, well,
I'll support them,
and I'll send them money and all that,
but it's not enough.
Your presence is worth more than that.
You're dad.
I remember playing with Little Bill
and the Blue Notes, The Whalers.
All these guys were like 17 and 18 years old.
We were 25.
Our dressing room
was right through the dance floor,
and I remember when I walked by
some guy said to his girlfriend,
he said, boy, these guys are old.
We were playing not big halls like Elvis,
or somebody of his stature would play.
We saw a place with chicken wire
on the windows,
and I said, wouldn't it be funny
if we were playing there?
And it turned out that we were.
If we made $300 or 400,
we each got 100 bucks.
Then we had to pay our own expenses
besides that.
When people see you,
they see you get up on stage and play,
oh yeah, boy, they've got it made.
That's an easy thing.
They don't know about getting to and from.
We carried our own amplifiers and guitars,
and stuff and drums,
and we had to set them up ourselves.
We had this station wagon,
and we pulled a Uhaul trailer
with all of our equipment in.
And we had an old friend of mine
that wanted to be the road manager.
And we did have a saxophone player
for a while, on the road.
And so, there's six of us.
Three in front and three in the back.
And you know, you're like this every time
I hit a little thing.
Because we really couldn't afford it,
and we wanted to go home with some money,
we had a motel room.
All five of us stayed in one room.
They had agents booking them
across the country.
And they get there
and their next gig would be in Texas.
They're in Chicago.
They have to call ahead to get some money
to pay for the gas to go to do the job.
Promoters had a system.
If they had, you were out,
let's say for ten shows,
and one was canceled,
they wouldn't call you.
They knew it.
But they wouldn't call you until the day
before that cancellation.
They'd call the day before and say,
tomorrow night has been canceled.
So, you've got 500 miles to drive.
And then we were naive at the time,
and we'd take a check and we'd bring it back,
and you know, take it to the bank.
They say, well, that's no good.
We learned after a while
that you better get cash, or nothing.
Surf music got very popular.
Of course, with Wipeout and Pipeline and
it was really getting a foothold.
So, we thought
Walk Don't Run in a surfing style
would be maybe something.
And it was still that
wonderful melody of Walk Don't Run.
To our surprise, it made the top 10.
I was watching Casey Kasem on TV
in the top 40 countdown, you know.
He said,
who was the very first artist recording
that had this same song
with two different arrangements,
both hit the top 10?
And I'm sitting there saying, I don't know.
I wonder who it was.
And he came back and said,
it was The Ventures with Walk Don't Run
and Walk Don't Run '64.
The Ventures are musicians and scientists
of what it is surf music before surf music
was even predicted.
We have been labeled as a surf group,
but that term wasn't coined yet,
you know surf music.
People that define a genre,
very rarely consider themselves of that genre.
I'm sure Elvis didn't think
he was a rock-a-billy singer,
or rock and roll singer.
I'm sure he thought
he was just like Frank Sinatra.
Probably the reason
that they got thrown into that surf hopper
is because they played Fender guitars
through Fender reverb units,
through Fender amplifiers,
had a very clean sound.
This was all new technology in those days.
A Fender Stratocaster was a new thing.
A Jazzmaster Fender basses
we exciting times,
and they incorporated these sounds
in the records that they made,
and they were unique.
The Ventures, I've heard, love Fender.
And Fender is that mass produced guitar
that everyone uses,
and they're great work horses.
But the mystic lies in the Mosrite guitars,
which they had their names on.
And I think a lot of people think,
everything was done with Mosrite guitars.
Nokie introduced The Ventures
to the Mosrite guitar
because he was friends
with Gene Moles and Semie Moseley.
Semie Moseley approached us, and said,
I'll make a Ventures model guitar,
and we'll pay you a royalty.
We picked up the Mosrite,
and played it for about three years, I guess.
I always wanted a Mosrite
because The Ventures played them, you know.
Well, it was that unusual guitar.
It was like a Stratocaster upside-down.
Mosrite guitars are unique
because they're very frail.
They have a very slim neck.
If you're trying to play blues,
or rock and get sustained notes,
you're trying to push a note up and hold it,
on the Mosrite it would hit the next string,
and it would cancel each other,
it'll craple out your sustain.
And it would suddenly stop
because you're hitting the next string.
And they have something called a zero fret.
And in fact there's a zero fret guitar
behind me here.
Not a Mosrite,
but the advantage of a zero fret,
it's usually the trademark
of a very cheap guitar,
but it's a trick you can use
to get the strings lying flat
against the fingerboard,
which means they're easy to play.
And if they're easy to play,
it's easy to play fast and clean.
Wilson Brothers Guitar Company
was set up by Tim Wilson,
Don Wilson's son, to honor his dad.
They're one of the first bands,
if not the first band,
to have their own signature guitar line.
And of course, they started with Mosrite.
When that ended in the '70s
they went with Aria in Japan.
They had some Fender guitars.
And now they have the Wilson Brothers.
And all those guitars,
what's really the most important thing
is that they were accessible
to the average fan.
They weren't super pricey.
The average fan was able to buy one,
and feel like there were part of The Ventures.
When you hear the word Ventures,
you hear the word guitar.
And if you say guitar,
you say The Ventures.
It's like the backbone of guitar music,
you know.
And even if they weren't the first guys
who played electric guitar,
they're the ones that we associate it with.
There weren't a lot of people playing guitar.
I mean, now a days,
there's millions of guitar outs,
and millions of people that play guitar.
When I was young,
if you just owned a guitar,
that was a big deal.
The guitar can be played in any style,
and it's portable.
When troubadours
who were going with portable instruments,
ancestors of the guitar,
mankind started to be able to play anywhere.
Walk or take a horse or a car,
go anywhere and play.
It's true. I cannot do that with a piano.
Might have described it as a mini orchestra.
It's one of the few polyphonic instruments
that you can play.
It's relatively easy to learn.
Three chords and you can do
a lot of your favorite songs.
Or you can take it
to the Andres Segovia style,
and become a concert artist.
I think it's always been
a rebel instrument because,
just because of the volume
you can achieve quite easily.
And there's nothing like plug it in,
turn it up to ten and just,
it makes great things sound amazing.
The guitars helped.
But it's always the player
that makes the sound great.
Bob Bogle and Don were very,
very, very precise players.
That's what impressed me the most.
I wanted to sound like that.
Most guitar players connect the idea
of the use of the vibrato arm
on an eclectic guitar
with The Ventures.
The whammy bar creates a pitch bend
that gives a sense of like a shimmering wave,
if you will.
And it sound something like this.
Don said, okay, you do the melody
with the tremolo arm,
and I'm going to do the rhythm.
Tremolo is similar to vibrato,
but it's not the same thing.
And people get this confused all the time.
Instead of frequency,
this is an amplitude or a volume change.
The one that's built into the amp
sounds a lot like
something I can do
with just the volume control on the guitar.
Don and I would have a contest
to see who could put the most reverb
on our guitars.
It was just like little kids.
The sound of The Ventures,
I think it has a lot to do with the reverb.
It sounds like the sea.
If you bang the reverb chamber,
it sounds like crashing waves.
In the case of The Ventures,
it was mostly spring reverb.
For all you techno geeks out there,
the ham and reverb pan, long spring.
So, this is what the reverb sounded
like back then.
This is from the reverb tank.
This is a reverb mechanism
pulled out of an amplifier.
The guitar sound is fed in through here.
It goes through a spring.
And it's picked up here
and fed back into the amplifier.
And by the waving of this spring,
the vibration, it vibrates,
it modifies the sound
in a immediately recognizable way.
Surf bands claimed that it sounded
like they were in the pipeline of a wave.
It's a sweet sound,
and it takes a lot more skill
to play a guitar cleanly.
They call it the drip.
I'm a rock-a-billy guitar player,
but I incorporated some of that stuff.
But the real purist want to get the drip,
and that's achieved by putting the reverb tank
before the amplifier.
Back in the '60s,
effects were generally created
with some pretty big boxes.
So it wasn't such an easy process
to incorporate them.
I can't understate how many hours
I stared at the album cover or the back cover,
looking at their guitars,
and wondering how they got certain sounds.
The engineer was experimenting too with trying
to get different sounds and everything.
They put speakers on the floor,
and they cut speakers,
and they would turn things around.
We did Walk Don't Run '64, and you know,
it sounds like
it's a keyboard playing in there,
but actually what it is,
and people are surprised at that,
it's a saxophone
played through a Leslie speaker.
If you look at Silver Bells
off the Christmas album,
there's a vocoder
being used for the first time.
These things were just remarkably innovative,
and experimental for their time.
Nobody else was doing that.
The beginning of the song Telstar,
in order to recreate
what Joe Meek had done on the original
with The Tornadoes,
Don used a fire extinguisher to get that sound
of the satellite taking off.
The Ventures were one of the first bands
to use the fuzz box,
although other people had used fuzz before.
I think Paul Burlinson
from Johnny Burnette's Rock 'n Roll Trio
punched holes
in his, either punched holes in his speakers,
or rattled a tube in the, he rattled a tube
in the back.
But to reproduce
that in a controllable environment
is from a fuzz box.
It was created for them by a guy
named Red Rhodes.
He was a electronics wizard,
as he was a steel guitarist.
If you never heard anything like that before,
like we hadn't,
then you're thinking
what does that sound like?
And we thought, hm, sounds like
a 2,000-pound bee to me.
And so,
we did parts one and two of 2,000 Pound Bee.
VH1 went on to state
that it was the first song
ever recorded using a fuzz box guitar.
I mean, that's a really,
really early use of a fuzz tone.
I mean, there's one or two
right around the same time,
but The Ventures were
right on that cutting edge,
and you're talking about five or six years
before the psychedelic groups
started using the fuzz tone.
Part B of 2,000 Pound Bee
became the first single
to hit the Billboard chart
using this fuzz tone.
The echo was great. The reverb was great.
They don't really even use a vibratos really,
you know.
They were just playing.
When we first started, after about three years
we had a record producer
that was helping us produce the records.
We told him that we were,
felt like we were running out of ideas,
and he said, well, one idea
is to find more sounds in that guitar.
He said, there's sounds
in that guitar you've never found yet.
He was right. We kept trying
and finding more techniques.
A lot of stuff was just Nokie and his hands.
I mean, Nokie did all kinds
of what you would call tricks,
but to the people in the audience it was like,
whoa, how are you doing that, you know.
There's a record
where he's doing this with his pick.
In Diamond Head
that little sound you hear
is Nokie rubbing fingernail on the strings.
In Wooly Bully
he would pick behind the bridge
where you're not suppose to play over here,
and he would
Probably one of the reasons
why they influenced surf bands so much
is because they were good
at playing quarter notes
and eighth notes
in very, very, very strict time.
You can't drive a song
unless you have a rhythm guitar player
like Don Wilson,
who can play very, very,
very straight ahead eighth notes.
And he would do double picking
where really fast picking,
but with he reverb sound
he had sort of this percussive thing
that he loved so much.
So, they actually created the sound,
I believe,
that surf bands then reached out for,
and it became their own.
Growing up in southern California
in my early teens,
I had a surf board.
And when you're riding the waves, man,
that was the sound track
that's going through your head.
The Ventures will be remembered forever,
for creating a culture
in southern California of surf music,
and they started it. Not consciously.
It was a happy accident.
You know, I like surf music.
I think it's exciting, and I like to play it.
It's fun to play on stage.
One of the staples of surf songs
is the so called rundown.
And it sounds something like this.
Bob on the bass actually came up
with that rundown.
You know, that was the imitate rundown.
I don't think anybody had ever heard
In the solo Barracuda by Heart I do that.
We decided that we're going to move
to Los Angeles and Hollywood
because we wanted to be
where it was happening.
And we stayed in a motel
right across the street
from Liberty Records.
They had a lot of studios there,
and we wanted to record.
And Bob Reisdorff said,
you've got such a good sound with Joe Boles,
I want you to go back up to Washington,
and record there.
So, we did.
And then he said it again the second time,
and we're thinking,
oh, I want to record here.
But he said, no, go ahead and go up there
because he's got your sound down.
You don't want to change too much of you sound
from what Walk Don't Run sounds like.
So, we did it again.
Back in the '60s
they would do four or more albums a year.
We put so many albums out
that we had five albums on the top 100
at one time.
They were the sixth bestselling band
behind The Beatles, Elvis,
Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Herb Alpert.
Yeah, Bob Reisdorff said,
most artists,
you're probably good for, at the most,
maybe three, four albums
and that's about it.
He says, I suggest that
you really put your money in the bank,
and save whatever you get.
And of course, we didn't.
To prove his thinking,
he sold The Ventures after about
maybe six albums,
or something like that,
to Liberty Records.
I've never heard anything
about his complaining about that,
but we kept on selling
and selling and selling,
and it was a bad move on his part.
We were responsible for 25%
of Liberty's total volume of record sales.
That's when we kind of knew,
hey, maybe we're going somewhere.
They had some pretty good artists, you know.
They had the Chipmunks.
I mean, come on.
For decades
they were just like this machine
that could not be stopped.
They recorded so many records, it's insane.
I don't even know
if anyone's done that before,
have they? 200 records?
And the thing about The Ventures is,
they'd have a surf album.
They would have a soundtrack album
where they're doing movie soundtracks.
One of my favorites
is The Ventures country and western.
I think one thing
that resonates with The Ventures
is they're a versatile band.
They can play anything they want to play.
Whatever kind of music that I wanted to play,
you could sort of get the origin of that
within a Ventures' instrumental.
You know, if you wanted to play rock-a-billy,
if you wanted to play country,
if you wanted to play blues,
if you wanted to play psychedelic rock,
there was some Ventures' instrumental
that you could learn.
Probably the third or fourth album we did
was The Colorful Ventures.
And we had songs that had color.
Well, they'll be remembered in our house
with their Christmas record
because we know it's Christmas
when we put that Ventures' record on
for Christmas time.
We had a classical album.
And we had 35 musicians
playing behind us.
One time we thought, you know,
we're going to do a disco album,
which, I mean as far as I'm concerned,
Venture fans really scoffed at.
Oh yeah, they did disco.
So, we won't talk about the disco era.
They permeate every aspect of life.
I mean, there's something,
for every emotion that they've got.
And I think that their songs will live on
for that reason.
When we just, like what I said before,
we kind of ran out of ideas.
We thought, let's get a keyboard in there.
And so, we had a girl playing keyboard
for us to begin with.
We hire Hal Blaine,
which he was with The Wrecking Crew,
and he got triple scale,
and we had him play the tambourine.
Can you believe that?
Carol Kaye also played the bass one time.
I had a neighbor in the '60s
a couple of houses away from me,
and his name was Glen Campbell.
And I got to know him, and I said,
would you like to play some music with us.
And he said, oh, I'd love it.
So, we used him three or four times.
Tommy Allsup was the guitar player,
for Buddy Holly and The Crickets.
He played a couple songs too.
I performed Secret Agent Man with The Ventures
on the anniversary show.
And it was amazing to be part of that.
I felt like I was in with the guys.
I was part of the gang, the surf gang.
If there's such a thing.
Billy Bob Thornton was a big, big fan.
I was about to make an album.
It was before the Boxmasters.
We were doing a solo record of mine.
I'd had this idea. I said,
why don't I just use The Ventures
to make the record with?
It was such an honor
getting to know those guys.
Since then, I've kept up with them a lot.
I still have all of that stuff.
So, one of these days
I'm going to put it together,
and maybe put it out, you know,
as me with The Ventures.
Gerry McGee joined the band in the late '60s
when Nokie went on his sabbatical.
Gerry was a real well-rounded guitar player.
I mean, really good.
Gerry played with greats like Bobby Darin,
Delaney and Bonnie,
Kris Kristofferson, Elvis.
He did an album with The Monkees.
Before they played instruments themselves,
he did a lot of the guitar work.
His sound was different.
But it was always within the bounds
of what The Ventures sound was,
and it always has worked.
I'll never forget sitting in the control room
with Gerry McGee.
He was about to play something,
and I said, where's your whammy bar?
He said, I never used a whammy bar in my life.
I said, you can make that thing jiggle
that much without one?
He said, oh yeah.
We always did it that way.
So, I learned little things about them,
about their guitar technique
and all that kind of thing.
Somebody came to us with an idea
called Guitar Phonics.
And they said, you know,
there's a lot of people
learning off of your music,
and I think you guys
should put out an instruction album
where you play the song,
and you explain what you're doing with it,
and the notes that you're playing.
The first one hit the charts, the Top 100s.
We decided we'd do a couple more,
and those two hit the charts too.
So, we had three instruction albums
on the Top 100 of Billboards.
We had some kind of magic.
We wanted it.
And you've got to want it.
There's not that many instrumentals
that you can take and put on an album,
so we use to take vocals and Venturize them.
The Ventures are known for,
not being a cover band,
but for being interpreters of a generation.
Every time a musical genre would change,
they would do their own version of the songs.
They were imagineering, you might say.
So, let's say they were doing a song
that had been a hit on the radio
that had saxophone.
Rather than imitating the lines
that the saxophone played,
they would figure out
some other interesting thing to play there,
like arpeggio with chords, or maybe doing
a rhythm thing with the chords.
When you're a musician,
to play a cover of someone else's songs,
you better be damn good.
You better be damn good
because you've got to be better
then the original.
All the cover songs that they did,
as well as their own,
really have their own stamp on it,
and I think it's such a unique sound.
If it was Snoopy V.S. The Red Baronor
a disco track,
or a film soundtrack,
anything that was popular,
they'd do their own version.
So, people kind of thought
that songs like Pipeline and Wipeout
were Ventures' songs,
even though they weren't, originally.
In that regard, The Ventures
kind of road the crest
of this instrumental music wave
as the best-known group in America
that did instrumental songs,
and became almost like a generic term,
like Kleenex, you know.
When they covered film soundtrack stuff,
it becomes almost the iconic version.
I have to congratulate them
because they captured the energy
and the vigor of my music.
We had an engineer,
and he came to Mel one time, and he said,
I just did some engineering to do the music
for Hawaii Five-O.
And he said that the writer,
whose name is Mort Stevens,
only has a 30 second version of it
just for the show.
And he does not plan on
doing a longer version, or putting it out.
And so, he said,
I think you guys should put it out.
We did the Hawaii Five-O video,
and we did it out in the Mohave Desert
on a dried-up lake.
That was kind of our last hurrah,
let's say, in the U.S.
Hawaii Five-O was a single hit.
But we continued to sell albums,
especially in Japan.
America seems to go in and out of trends,
and then they come back to them later.
But The Ventures have been popular in Japan
since the beginning.
Still are to this day.
We started going to Japan in 1962,
was the first time.
We were the opening act with Bobby Vee,
and a girl named Joanne Campbell.
And they were more listening
to their own music,
which was a-- the time call Enka.
Enka is Japanese Blues.
Something like--
So, it was easy
for Japanese people to understand,
and easy to feel the melody.
It almost sounds like Japanese people
are playing the music.
And when we came about with guitars
and electric guitars,
and we started a guitar boom.
When Don does his rundown,
it's ticky ticky ticky san.
The second time we came there was in 1964.
We landed in Haneda Airport.
There were people on the roof of the terminal,
and all, you know.
I thought for a second,
who is on this airplane for God's sake?
It must be the President
or the Emperor or somebody.
We get closer and they had all kinds of signs
that said, welcome The Ventures.
They wanted to pull us into a room,
for radio and TV
and all that right away first thing.
Then when we left to go out to get in the car,
our fans were out there.
They were ripping at our clothes
and everything, you know.
You couldn't leave the hotel room.
Maybe 100 people out there waiting.
The Japanese were just developing an interest
in American culture,
and at that time,
English was not as common as it was today.
The Ventures music had no language barrier.
It was so simple for Japanese people
to just listen.
They were attracted to the feeling.
Walk Don't Run
doesn't say Walk Don't Run in the lyrics.
So, you just make up
your own interpretation of that.
Music is a universal language.
It was Venture mania then.
And a lot of mothers and fathers
try to keep us out of the country.
All that did was make the kids
want to see us more.
We turned out selling about 40 million records
in Japan alone.
Our same record company
had The Beatles when The Beatles came out.
And so, I know this for a fact.
Not only did we outsell The Beatles in Japan,
but we outsold them two to one.
They went to Japan in 1962 for the first time.
This is before The Beatles.
They went to Japan in 1966.
Then all the bands started going into Japan,
Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and so on.
The success in Japan was incredible.
We did 108 shows in 78 days
without a day off.
It's been 60 years
ever since The Ventures came out.
And The Ventures
did more than 22,000 shows in Japan.
We started writing songs strictly for Japan.
Really listening to
what they did in buying their records,
and listening to them,
and seeing what kind of sounds they had,
and what appealed to them.
The Ventures did collaborations
with the Japanese singers,
and also,
they came up with the Japanese titles,
such as Ginza Lights,
Hokkaido Skies
and Hapkido Dolls.
You know, they toured Japan,
and you see people who were fans of theirs
when they were kids,
but you also see people who,
young people there
who know the legend of The Ventures.
They'll never die in Japan.
Japanese people love The Ventures.
Playing in front of a Japanese audience
I got to feel what The Ventures felt.
They were super enthusiastic.
(Speaking in Japanese)
I love The Ventures.
Ticky ticky wah.
I love The Ventures.
(Speaking in Japanese)
The Ventures performed at Kohaku back in 1991.
Kohaku is a major music event.
It happens in the end of the year.
In order to to perform for Kohaku
you have to have a hit song,
or you have to be very popular.
The Ventures were not just popular,
but it is part of our Japanese culture now.
There were no guitar groups in Japan.
And now, when we go over to Japan,
and have been for the last 20 years,
there's The Hiroshima Ventures,
The Tokyo Ventures,
The Osaka Ventures,
The Sopporo Ventures.
Every city in Japan has a Ventures.
Not just the big cities like Tokyo or Osaka.
You just go to any cities in Japan,
and you're going to always find
Ventures tribute bands.
When I see them I get a kick out of it.
They watch us so closely, even on stage,
that they're doing whatever we do.
So, the Japanese took The Ventures
into their hearts,
and no matter
what was going on in the rest of the world,
The Ventures always were welcome in Japan.
Welcome is an understatement.
When they become your fan,
it's your fan for life.
So, I look at it like,
if they're my, they're loyal to me.
Now I'm their fan too.
John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd
the unforgettable killer bee characters
on Saturday Night Live in the '70s.
The story goes that one day
they were walking along a beach,
and talking about their debts.
And at the same time
they were listening to a tape by The Ventures,
The 2,000 Pound Bee.
So, they made a pact, whoever dies first,
the other one will play The 2,000 Pound Bee
at the funeral.
John Belushi passed away.
Dan Aykroyd held up a portable radio,
and the sounds of The Ventures
filled St. John's The Divine.
We've had a lot of things in movies,
our songs,
and on TV, commercials and things.
Tarantino decided
to put a song in Pulp Fiction.
And that song was called Surf Rider.
It was something that when he was a kid
learning to play guitar,
he learned that song.
Well, it stuck with him all those years.
It's me as a 20 years old
as a gun toting surfing bad girl.
Our fans were use to seeing pretty models
on our covers.
We had quite a few.
And I like those too, so
The vinyls appealed to me
because they had really
groovy looking hot chicks on the cover,
colorful, happy.
The females on the album covers
for The Ventures were rad.
They were so sexy
and self-contained and confident,
and they were absolutely a part of the music.
Half the time
I'd pick out the records by the covers.
And The Ventures had the coolest covers.
Once I started seeing covers like this,
and then when you opened it up like this,
I mean,
this was like everything I was aspiring to.
Back then in the early '60s
there was no social media.
The way that you discovered who they were,
and how they created that music
were the album jackets.
I think it was a really neat and fun way
to market themselves.
And it's super fun to collect all of their albums
because of this.
Yeah, I think pretty unique for the time too.
Grab the eye, you know,
and once they played
what they played it grabbed the ear,
so that was good.
In the '70s rock and roll itself
kind of died a little bit.
It had gone from being something
really cool and really fun
to these '70s rock stars
with their excessive habits.
In the '80s a lot of people started to
reinvestigate their early tones
because some of those clean guitar tones were,
there's a purity to it, an honesty
that got lost
with all the effects and distortion,
and some of the over technical playing.
Rodney Bingenheimer
started basically, KROQ,
as Rodney on the ROQ
playing new bands in 1976.
The radio station would say,
you can't play music from the '60s anymore.
The Ventures had never stopped
because of their popularity in Japan,
so they were still around.
Some kids, like punk rockers,
started calling into the radio station to say,
who's that new wave group called The Ventures?
And these are kids that had never heard of us,
or didn't know at all.
But they thought we were something new.
They would send these letters saying,
we're like The Ventures meets this
meets this, but we're also like punk rock.
Punk rock kind of brought rock and roll back,
the original spirit of rock and roll.
The punk bands loved The Ventures
for the simplicity,
the do it yourself mentality.
Oh yeah, Ventures signed my guitar.
I think that's how
a lot of people learned to play.
So, that's why they loved them.
And it was very simple to play.
It's very hard to get right,
but it's simple to play.
The rapid fire rhythm of punk
was very reminiscent of
Don Wilson's punk rhythm playing on 1960.
No one was playing bar chord like that.
Other people were jazz guitarists
playing finger-pick style
and bar chords and all that.
Don Wilson was doing a punk style rhythm guitar.
A bar chord, for people that don't play guitar,
as oppose to the cowboy chords,
which are what you learn when you play classical,
it's a chord that can be played with one finger,
two fingers underneath,
and it can be moved up and down
the neck of the guitar.
So, if you want to play G, A and B,
you don't have to learn
all this complicated Segovia stuff.
You play the same thing but you move it.
The Sex Pistols, The Ramones,
all of the kind of iconic 101 punk stuff
is based around bar chords.
Johnny Ramone used a Mosrite guitar,
but that that was by design or not,
I have no idea.
I never asked him.
But that's definitely
a Ventures' style guitar,
and there were
Ventures' style guitar chords all the way
through all The Ramones stuff.
We were big fans of The Ventures.
We loved the instrumentals they did.
They were the best at what they do.
The Ventures sounded dangerous.
They sounded hoodlammy.
Their music just sounded like,
like it would befit the kind of people
that would show up in hotrods
to the beach in leather jackets,
and then just hang out there,
you know
not right on the sand, but on the beach
while hoodlammy smoking a cigarette,
and watching the girls in their bikinis go by.
The Ventures live in Japan,
it has the most aggressive, amazing sound,
I think ever.
I mean, I think
that the Sex Pistols were getting a run
for their money there.
I actually got my job because
a guy who had been the road manager
was about six two, six three,
and he got his nose broken at Disneyland
at a gated Disneyland.
I asked him, I said,
how come you're willing to give this gig up?
He said, too crazy for me, you know.
And at that time
The Ventures were all in their mid 40s,
and this was too crazy.
The mods and rockers were showing up
having a war with each other.
Oh yeah, because we had slam dancers,
if you ever remember that.
I mean, they were just rough on each other.
Do we appeal to them?
We played CBGBs in New York.
We played The Mudd Room in New York.
30 Club in Washington, DC,
Peppermint Lounge in New York City.
I had kids doing swan dives off the stage.
You know, they'd get past me and run out,
and just to a swan dive into the audience.
I mean, there was some,
they were seriously crazy times.
Even though we all had our roots in punk rock,
we were really, really super informed
by that whole
early '60s mod beach party aesthetic.
That led to Go-Go's to write Surfin' Spyin',
which was actually influenced by The Ventures.
She wrote this next song.
The Ventures recorded it,
so you'll be hearing it soon.
It's an instrumental.
It's called Surfin' Spyin',
and it's also a dance song.
And they came down to our studio
where we were recording
and they recorded with us.
We recorded their song, and they played along.
There's a pretty straight line
that you can draw
between The Ventures and all this guitar music
that came later on.
Whether you're talking about
punk rock with The Ramones,
or new wave with the B-52's, or you know,
even heavy metal was some of the crazy
sort of violent leads that Nokie would play.
Somebody sent me a CD of Anthrax,
and they said,
so many people just don't know
what a contribution
Don Wilson and Nokie Edwards
did for thrash metal.
Both surf music and heavy metal are
the province of the electric guitar.
To hard rock of the 1970s,
classic metal of the '80s,
and into today's massive guitar tones
that form the backbone
of modern extreme metal,
on behalf of all of us metal guitar players,
thank you Ventures.
Horns up.
The Ventures have always been known
as the band that launched 10,000 bands.
Rodney Bingenheimer, he believes
that pretty much almost every band
was inspired by The Ventures.
Whether they know it or not.
In the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
I was backstage
and Billy Joel was back there,
and he came to me and he said,
you know, one of the very first songs
that I ever learned on the piano
was Walk Don't Run.
There's a lot of people that give us credit,
for a lot of things that they play,
which would not be our style.
A disc jockey we're very good friends with,
his name is Mark Christopher,
and he does a lot of work
in the Seattle area with KBSG Radio.
Do you think they've earned a nomination yet,
for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
We got a petition together,
and had people sign it that wanted us to be
in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It was an incredible moment
this morning in the state capital.
First time I know of,
ever when a rock and roll band was invited
to appear before
the state legislature to receive
what was called the proclamation
of a resolution of support,
for something that all the Senators voted
unanimous and believing in,
and that the The Ventures to somehow
get a nomination
to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
We got the legislature,
the Senate and the House,
and everybody together in Washington state.
Great job. We were rocking in Olympia today.
You know, I kind of set down a little protocol
that I have that requires
that everything be handled
with dignity and decorum.
And we put on The Ventures,
and we rocked on the floor of the Senate.
They recorded over 3,000 songs,
released over 250 albums.
They are ambassadors to the world.
The Rock Hall has very strict criteria
on who they accept.
First of all,
you have to have 25 years of playing time,
you need a body of work,
and your significance in the contribution,
and perpetuation of rock and roll
is also a key criteria point.
We were eligible for 22 years.
They were preeminently qualified,
but they needed a push to get them in.
There are many artists that are nominated
for the Hall of Fame,
but they don't get in.
And I think there are some
that have been nominated three times,
and they still didn't get in.
So, when we were nominated,
we got in the very first time.
It all started about 50 years ago
when Don Wilson and Bob Bogle got together,
and talked about maybe getting some guitars,
and starting a band.
With the help of Don's mom,
they formed their own record company,
and they cut an instrumental that they'd heard
on a Chet Atkins record.
It gets picked up nationally,
and makes it all the way to number two.
That record kicked open a whole movement
in rock and roll,
and empowered guitar players everywhere.
The Ventures have gone on to record
over 250 albums.
Now days, some of us
would be happy to sell 250 albums.
The Ventures
are the most popular instrumental
rock and roll band of all time.
It is my honor to induct The Ventures
into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I've had the opportunity to work
with this great band,
and I got the honor tonight
to play Walk Don't Run,
for a friend and a mentor, Mr. Bob Bogle,
the co-founder of The Ventures,
and a truly innovator of guitar
and bass guitar.
Bob wanted to express his profound thanks,
for his induction
and The Ventures induction
into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I want to thank our fans all over the world.
May God bless you
and keep you safe and healthy.
It was a whirlwind five-day period
in New York City surrounding the event.
This is our display
in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It happens to be right next to Madonna.
It's really great
that they're in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
They absolutely are so worthy of that honor.
To see The Ventures
honored in a forum that's very eclectic,
did my heart really good.
I want to compliment The Ventures
on their 50th anniversary.
They certainly,
they're certainly in the blue pin of rock.
The induction ceremony, the afterglow party,
and all the events the day
of were pretty special, obviously.
But there was a surprising thing
that we did the day after,
and that was the ringing of the bell
at the New York Stock Exchange.
So, The Ventures in April of 1996
were honored with putting their hand prints
at the Rock Walk Hall of Fame,
which is in Hollywood at the Guitar Center.
And it's since kind of become a must see stop,
for music tourists.
We knew the manage of the House of Blues,
and he got us on the bill.
They played that night.
When we got to the House of Blues
they were very generous.
Their back-stage door was open,
and they answered my dopey questions.
And you could tell they really enjoyed
what they were doing.
I've had just amazing experiences and memories
with all these guys.
You know, they were rock stars
without being rock stars.
You could just walk right up to Nokie
or Don or Bob or Mel,
and they would talk to you.
They were just good people, you know.
You could, you felt good knowing them.
They weren't out doing
crazy things or anything.
They're all such regular guys
that they put you at ease right away.
What was interesting about that is later on
when you'd get attitude from rock stars,
I always remember
how accessible these guys were,
and how nice they were to their fans.
And I think
that's been a big part of their success.
I have some letters here from Japan.
Our Japanese fans are really true.
I mean, they start with you,
they end with you.
Anyway, this one says,
thanks a lot for your nice band all the time.
I'm so happy to listening your music.
Hello, my name is Susumu.
I ride in a wheelchair.
I have a lot from different countries.
Some from England, Germany, you name it.
There was somebody that sent me a letter
that was totally deaf.
And what he use to do is play the, our record
and put his hand on the speaker,
and the vibration, he could understand that.
Yeah, that's really amazing.
I was a kid. I was 11 years old.
I wrote a letter to The Ventures' fan club.
I wrote a letter to Bob Bogle
and he sent me back a letter.
He said-- I said,
what kind of guitar should I buy?
And he said, thank you for your letter,
and you should go buy a Fender Jazzmaster.
So, I went and bought a Fender Jazzmaster.
In Seattle one time,
it was just after a show,
and a young man came up in a wheelchair.
He was pushed up by his brother.
And he wanted an autograph
or something signed by the guys.
So, I went down and I told Bob what was up,
and he says, well,
why don't I just come out there and meet him?
So, he did.
And the look on this guys face was just,
it was priceless.
And Bob was so gracious, signed some things,
gave him some picks,
and spent time with him.
And I just thought
that this was a truly great man here.
He was a very pensive man,
very introspective.
Before he would answer a question,
he would stop for a minute and think about it,
and really give it some thought
before he gave you an answer,
which means number one,
he cared about what he said,
and he cared about what he was saying to you
because it was important to him.
Nokie would talk, talk and talk and talk
until you put a microphone in front of him.
Then he couldn't say anything.
I liked to call him the Nokester
because he's such a funny guy.
He's always telling jokes.
He taps me on the back, I turn around,
and he's got two symbol felts in his eyes,
and they're kind of like raccoon eyes.
And he's just got this look on his face.
It was priceless.
Don was always fun to be with.
He just was always joking about things,
and always good spirited.
Don's a lot of fun.
He's always got great stories.
Fans come up and talk about the same thing.
He's probably heard it so many times,
but he is genuinely thankful and gracious.
And that says a lot.
Don and I became really good friends
just because we're both a little nuts,
and when we were on stage,
it was just like a couple of kids.
Don, in addition to his set list,
had this thing
called his pattern.
And his pattern were really bullet points,
for all the jokes he wanted to tell.
A good-looking girl sit next to me, of course,
and I says to her,
do you think you could get interested
in an older man?
She looks at me and says,
why, you got a son?
I learned some impressions,
impersonations of different actors.
I had a hat rack, and I put on a different hat
for different impersonations.
I did James Cagney and Ed Sullivan.
Use to be rock and roll to me then.
But at my age now,
it's rock and Rolaids.
Thank you very much.
We're going to feature our singer
What? -at this point.
Wait a minute.
What'd you say?
We're going to feature our vocalist over here.
I thought we were an instrumental group.
Yeah, we're basically an instrumental group.
We don't often sing,
and you're going to find out why.
I went down to
a University of Washington seminar
where Don spoke,
and it was so interesting hearing him
talk about some of the stories from the road,
and he kind of demonstrated
how a group could be successful,
and have incredible longevity
while maintaining integrity.
They maintained a touring schedule
over all these years.
It's just a very inspiring thing.
I had worked now for 56 years in a row.
That's a lot.
I mean,
most people do 20, 25 years, they retire.
I didn't want to.
My last show was in Japan in 2015,
believe it or not.
Now, with me retiring,
the group still goes on.
When Mel passed away his son took over,
Leon Taylor.
And he had learned the drums
when he was a little kid, from his dad.
Bob Spalding and Lucas Griffin
head up the new version of the group.
Bob's been there 30 years or more.
And Lucas is the new bass player.
And I got to jam with them at Venturefest,
which occurs every year in October
in Pennsylvania.
They, like I said, go to Japan.
They play locally.
They've had offers to go to Europe.
I'm very happy about that.
I would hate to see The Ventures
die on the line.
So, they will keep
The Ventures name alive and going.
Here they are still playing
all these years later.
I mean, they just keep on going,
and keep their fans happy.
They were the ones.
They put out so many great albums.
It speaks for the integrity of music
in general too
that you can tour the world,
and speak to all these different languages
in the single language of music.
There's never been an instrumental band
that's been as popular.
The Ventures will always be known as,
I don't know,
the Godfathers of guitar instrumentals.
They're like the Cadillac
of instrumental bands.
I think The Ventures ability
to make melodies stick in your head,
and keep those songs going
for as long as possible
is what every songwriter's goal and aim is.
There were a lot of instrumental records out
in those days,
but they all kind of bordered
on novelty records.
The Ventures had a degree of sophistication.
They were playing more advanced chord forms,
advanced melodies.
This was well considered, well thought out music
that didn't insult your intelligence.
And it wasn't like
the were playing down to kids.
They made the idea of playing a melody
a really cool thing.
It wasn't just licks.
It was something that was totally accessible
to my ear and to my spirit.
The sound just didn't effect one
in a sense of just a note on a guitar.
It literally affected you,
and affected me in my heart,
and in my inner being.
I would be inspired
by the feelings I would get,
and that inspired me as a songwriter.
It changed people's lives, you know.
It's music that has totally inspired us,
and we're not the only ones.
There's millions of people.
We're always just consciously,
pretty much asking ourselves,
what would The Ventures do?
And then that's what we do.
There's going to be bands
copying them for ever more.
There's going to be tribute bands
when we're all dead in the ground.
Even if it's only Guitar Hero type thing
on a video game,
everyone wants to get that sound.
They changed the sound of psychedelic.
They changed the sound of mod,
new wave,
even heavy metal.
It all started with The Ventures.
There's no tellin how many people The Ventures
influenced to go out and get a guitar,
or bug the hell out of your parents
til they got you one.
To become a better player,
you don't just listen to your influences,
you listen influences influences,
and you just dig as deep as you can.
In my travels for Fender musical instruments,
I go many corners of the Earth.
When you're talking guitars with other musicians,
everyone points to The Ventures
as far as their stepping stone.
You will hear musicians say,
give me a Ventures lick.
Right in the middle of a session
the producer might say,
can you give me
a little of that Walk Don't Run feel,
or something of that nature,
and they know immediately
what they're talking about.
A lot of music becomes very dated,
and as the decades go along,
it doesn't age well, you know.
To me, if I put on a Ventures record from 1965,
to me it just sounds like something
that could have been cut yesterday.
They still sound fresh.
They still sound great.
It doesn't really sound like
it's trapped in time.
It sounds like something that is timeless.
Completely timeless.
It's not something where I remember when,
but it's not popular now.
It's forever popular.
It's like meatballs and spaghetti.
You know, it's just there,
always going to be there.
Maybe when we're on Mars
people are going to be listening to The Ventures,
and twisting in antigravity.
The Ventures in space takes on a new meaning.
There's a new generation of kids
that are discovering them as well.
And there probably
will be until the end of time.
I ask young kids
do they know about The Ventures.
And a lot of them go, yeah, yeah,
Ventures Walk Don't Run.
In fact, I just met a young girl today,
18 years old who's into surfing.
She knows all about The Ventures
and she's 18.
All the kids would be learning Ventures songs
right now in Japan.
It carries on throughout the generations.
So, the good news is they're immortal.
If younger generations
get to know the music of The Ventures,
then in the future
we'll have bolder and better music.
I think it's all fate.
Whatever happens
is going to happen and that's it.
And timing and whatever
just has to all come together.
Well, you know,
in 1960 when we first recorded our first hit
Walk Don't Run,
we were hoping that it would come to this.
Thank God we made it.
Many thank yous to you people.
You people have kept us going,
and what a reward that is for us.