This is Bruce D. This is the honest truth. I was, at 8, considered something of a musical prodigy. My parents got me started on Classical Piano at age 3. By age 6 I was giving recitals. At age 7, I decided I really liked what I had seen and heard of violinists such as Jascha Heifetz, Fritz Kreisler, David Oistrakh, etc, and switched to taking violin lessons on a full scholarship at Hart College of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. My folks bought me a German Stradivrious reproduction, and by age 9 I was giving violin recitals. My musical knowledge, at that time, was strictly and exclusively Classical symphonic and Chamber music. My parents were successful in keeping my brother and me entirely isolated from that "monkey music" being played on Top 40 radio. I had no idea who Elvis, or Dion, or Chuck Berry were.
In September 1960, we had just moved into a new house in West Hartford. My dad had recently dumped his rusted-out '48 Olds, and had bought a demo '59 Olds 98. Initially he was quite taken with that car, before the manufacturing defects began to make themselves all to obvious. But the weekend after he'd purchased the car, like a kid with a new bicycle, he suggested taking a ride for no particular reason, (and of course, back then, gasoline was only about 25 cents a gallon for premium). So, we all piled in and went exploring the rural outskirts of Hartford. Dad decided to see how the radio sounded, and turned it on. I suspect the last person to drive the car before him, had probably been one of the young lot boys, who had tuned the radio into 1340 KDRC AM, Hartford's #1 Top 40 station. Before he realized this, Skip Moore's immortal drum roll kicked off Walk Don't Run. As Dad was reaching over toward the tuner, Don Wilson's incredible opening chords rang out. By the time Dad's fingers were wrapped around the tuner, Bob Bogle's awesome tone (that I have NEVER been able to obtain on any Fender guitar) started the melody. I was mesmerized, to say the least.
I begged my dad not to change the station. With a sick, defeated look on his face, he removed his hand and allowed me to listen to the 2:03 length of the song. This is one of those moments in one's early life, that one never forgets. That moment in time, sealed my destiny to become a lifelong Ventures fan, and aficionado of Instrumental Rock, in general. By my sophomore year in High School, I already owned eight Ventures LP's, and I bought every one I could get my hands on. When all my friends and associates were listening to The Doors, Cream, Traffic, etc, I was grooving to songs like Shanghied, Bulldog, Yellow Jacket, Driving Guitars, Walk Don't Run, Journey To The Stars, etc. It was incredibly validating among my circle of friends, when, in early '69 (as I recall) Hawaii Five-0 went Top 10. I never saw that coming, but what a wonderful moment that was for a dyed-in-the-wool Ventures fan.
Since those days, of course, came college, marriage, career, divorce, etc. But, in 1980, I realized a long-held dream when I was able to see Bob, Don, Nokie, and Mel, all rock the house, at The Starwood, in West Hollywood, playing to a super-appreciative Punker audience. (I was 27 years old at the time, but being in that crowd, made me feel old). Since then, I caught 3 or 4 of their live appearances at their old stomping ground, The Palomino, in North Hollywood. It was at one of those shows, (I believe in 1985) that Gerry McGee flubbed a couple of notes while playing Apache. If Mel's eyes had been laser beams, McGee woulda had two holes burned through his back.
In 1994 I met a professional musician and we started an oldies/casuals band. We played about 8 classic instro numbers, including Walk Don't Run and Hawaii Five-0. I'll never forget a gig we played, with Preston Ritter on drums. For those who don't know, Preston was the power-house drummer on the 1967 #11 hit, Too Much To Dream, by The Electric Prunes. Very cool. That band broke up in 1997, and in late '98, I met another drummer, Doug Appleton, a major surf music fan, and a big fan of The Ventures. We decided to start an instrumental Ventures-influenced band, and called it "Longboard Ranch". I wrote about 25 original songs which ended up on two commercial CD's we produced, in 2002 and 2005. Although I tend to use a lot more reverb than Nokie ever did, when I play a Ventures tune, I strive to replicate as closely as possible, the original tones and nuances of the song. A few of my originals, have spurred those who purchased our CD's to remark that in some ways, it was like listening to The Ventures playing several never-heard-before songs. Those kinds of comments fill me with pride, a pride of accomplishment that no other activity has ever brought me.
In 2013, my songwriting partner, Loyd Davis and I, are now working with Sergio Vigilato, an original member of the Brazilian instro band "The Jet Blacks" from 1962-67. We are now being exposed to THEIR big musical influence, The Shadows, and are learning a bunch of Shadows tunes, so ultimately we'll have two tribute bands in one, with me playing lead on Ventures tunes and Sergio playing lead on Shadows tunes. In addition, I'll finally have a band of players willing and able to do vocals, so we'll do a major amount of Rockabilly-flavored Oldies and a few similar originals. I'm attaching the doc file of our likely repertoire, at least what we've set out to do, from now. Should be a total blast. The best of all worlds.