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Thread: RIP - Don Wilson (The Ventures)

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    Member Garyhead's Avatar
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    RIP - Don Wilson (The Ventures)

    Was just notified that Don Wilson of the Ventures just passed away (Jan 22) at the age of 88.

    My girlfriend in the 70's-80's was his niece. He would come over and listen to music with me and often time leave me some raw mixes of current projects.

    I was never really a fan of the band.....but he was a great "uncle" and always a stand-up guy to me.

    I'm typing this in the spare bedroom he stayed in when in town visiting his mother.....yup, I bought his mothers home decades ago.

    The last original member of The Ventures has left the building.
    The Ice Cream Lady Wet her drawers........To see you in the Passion Playyyy eeee - I. Anderson

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    Sad news. I was listening to some of their stuff last month.

    In the UK The Ventures only really had a few big hits, early on- here, The Shadows emerged around the same time and covered much the same ground. But I know they had a strong following around the world.

    I have a lot of time for these late 50s/early 60s instrumental acts- I love the guitar sounds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Sad news. I was listening to some of their stuff last month.

    In the UK The Ventures only really had a few big hits, early on- here, The Shadows emerged around the same time and covered much the same ground. But I know they had a strong following around the world.

    I have a lot of time for these late 50s/early 60s instrumental acts- I love the guitar sounds.
    It was curious that their biggest fanbase was Japan & Sweden. In the later years they alternated their yearly summer tours between those countries. Don told me he thought being an instrumental band helped them bond because there was no language barrier with lyrics.
    The Ice Cream Lady Wet her drawers........To see you in the Passion Playyyy eeee - I. Anderson

    "It's kind of like deciding not to date a beautiful blonde anymore because she farted." - Top Cat

    I was expecting to be kinda meh, but it made my nips stiffen - Jerjo

    (Zamran) "that fucking thing man . . . it sits there on my wall like a broken clock " - Helix

    Social Media is the "Toilet" of the Internet - Lady Gaga

  4. #4
    I really like the Ventures and own some of their recordings. Didn't relize they were down to one original. RIP Sir.

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    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    I remember when in the 80s, the Kahler and Floyd Rose locking trems made trem systems usable. Guitar player magazine featured photo of Don with the caption, "Don Wilson of the Ventures doing the 'funky whammy.'" He was one of the pioneers of using the whammy bar to get that twangy sound. A sad loss of another one of the greats.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

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    All Things Must Pass spellbound's Avatar
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    Sad news. My wife and I always liked the Ventures. Rest in peace.
    We're trying to build a monument to show that we were here
    It won't be visible through the air
    And there won't be any shade to cool the monument to prove that we were here. - Gene Parsons, 1973

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    The first record I ever bought was "Walk Don't Run" by the Ventures (the 45 RPM), back when it reached #2 in the Spring of 1960. A year later I purchased my first album, Another Smash, also by the Ventures. Those guys sounded quite cool for their time, just like this album cover did back in the day.

    Walk Dont Run.jpg

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    Member Garyhead's Avatar
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    My first indication of the connection with the Ventures was a visit to Don’s mothers house with my GF. A Gold Record of Walk Don’t Run was on the kitchen wall. My GF then mentioned her uncle was in the band. She never made a big deal about his fame.

    A couple decades later….my now Ex-GF Recalled an amusing story. She was then a member of the Seattle Symphony and they were doing a series of pop concerts featuring Doc Severenson. (I believe he was an Oregon boy). Anyway, she brought her Uncle Don backstage to meet The Doc. Don immediately started passing out Ventures Hall Of Fame guitar picks & pens. All the while she was wondering if the Doc even knew he was!

    Another story Dons Ma told me. Josie, his mother was the manager of the Ventures. During their heyday, a kid from Portland approached her about managing his band. She turned him down as she thought it wouldn’t go anywhere……It was Paul Revere and the Raiders….she said “ya win some ya loose some.”
    The Ice Cream Lady Wet her drawers........To see you in the Passion Playyyy eeee - I. Anderson

    "It's kind of like deciding not to date a beautiful blonde anymore because she farted." - Top Cat

    I was expecting to be kinda meh, but it made my nips stiffen - Jerjo

    (Zamran) "that fucking thing man . . . it sits there on my wall like a broken clock " - Helix

    Social Media is the "Toilet" of the Internet - Lady Gaga

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    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    They did the theme song for the original Hawaii 5-0 ,iirc. I remember them I never thought they were that cool. I just never got in surf rock as a kid, especially after seeing the Beatles and Stones on Ed Sullivan.

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    Their 'Hawaii Five O' is one of those tracks which ended up popular on the Northern Soul scene here, despite not being 'soul' by any means!

    'The 2000 Pound Bee' is a good one, love the fuzz guitar sound.

  11. #11
    First heard The Ventures in 1964. I learned several of their pieces on guitar as a child. The Ventures were like an introduction to jumping positions on the fretboard while playing a melody.

    In the 60s they were influential to young guitarists everywhere...it seemed. In the 70s I discovered that several British Rock guitarists had learned from Ventures records when they were kids. One of their main interests being "Apache". A song that Peter Frampton, Jeff Beck, Syd Barrett, and several others studied and perfected.

    This occurred years before the consistency of stomp boxes , Psychedelic distortion, etc and for a while The Ventures and Booker T. And The MG's became two of the most in demand instrumental bands for young musicians playing guitar and keyboards. The thrill of it all revolved around a teenagers forming bands and playing those instrumentals at a high school dance.

    Young musicians found excitement in performing Sci-Fi themes ...which by the late 60s were fused with Psychedelic Rock by Syd Barrett in songs like "Lucifer Sam", Astromony Domine ", and "Interstellar Overdrive ". That particular style of Pink Floyd influence Space Rock and if you observe closely it's present on early Amon Duul II, Hawkwind, Can, and others from that genre. Years later some of that influence was heard in Punk. ...Don Wilson was responsible for bringing that change to Rock Music in the early 60s. Clearly that idea was used in other styles of Rock for years to come. Clearly Don Wilson pioneered that concept when it was new.

  12. #12
    Member hippypants's Avatar
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    RIP: I listened to them a lot in my teens. I had a guitar-playing friend that had their albums and I guess would play guitar along with them. He got rather good at it. The first album I bought by them was Go With The Ventures which had radio hits on it of the day: California Dreamin', etc. Here's a obit from NPR: https://www.npr.org/2022/01/23/10752...-dies-at-age-8

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    In 1964 all I wanted was a Mosrite guitar. Never happened. (After that it was a Hofner bass, also never happened.)

    RIP Don Wilson and another chunk of my youth.
    "I have not yet begun to procrastinate."

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