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Messages - wstagner

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General Discussion / Re: Ventures Vinyl of the Month Discussion
« on: March 16, 2017, 07:44:46 pm »

Introduction / Re: Hello
« on: March 02, 2017, 12:19:53 pm »
Welcome here...and happy you joined us.
I've been playin V music for 50 years.....never saw any Moon Dawg tab.


Introduction / Re: walk dont run - violet sons
« on: February 26, 2017, 11:29:57 am »
nice...where's the vid?
where's yer band located?

Captain Haddock is a great toon.  This was the only time twas ever played live.

Introduction / Re: walk dont run - violet sons
« on: February 12, 2017, 10:11:30 pm »
nice...where u guys located?

Introduction / MOVED: 2016's a wrap!
« on: January 30, 2017, 01:10:22 pm »
This topic has been moved to

2016's a wrap!

Introduction / MOVED: 2016 FanFest DVD set reviews
« on: January 30, 2017, 01:08:56 pm »
This topic has been moved to

2016's a wrap!

Ventures Fan Fest / MOVED: 2016's a wrap!
« on: January 30, 2017, 12:59:52 pm »
This topic has been moved to Introduction.

2016's a wrap!

Ventures Fan Fest / 2016 FanFest DVD set reviews
« on: January 30, 2017, 10:56:07 am »
2016 Ventures Fan Fest DVD Set Review

Apologies to Tom for the delay in getting this review online.  However, sometimes life sets your priorities.

I had the pleasure of viewing all three DVDs in the main FanFest set, and I have to say that (except for a few minor disc menu glitches - which may have been caused by my old home DVD player) I was very impressed by the overall improved quality.  This was evident in the editing, the visual clarity, and the sound quality.  When I turned up the volume on the TV, it was like I was right there listening to the great music.

The disc menu glitch that I mentioned was mainly that (on my almost 10-year old DVD player) the colored highlights that should have overlapped the chapters appeared offset, either slightly below or above, from the stationary text.  However, that didn't really hinder the playability of the discs, just a minor distraction.

Disc 1:

The Pickniks started off the presentation with a high-powered mix of some of the classic Ventures tunes that we love so much.  Bob Spalding joined in at one point on "Bumble Bee" and "Walk Don't Run," which also featured young Ventures fan Danny Roberts on drums.  He was given a very much deserved round of applause and a memento of his participation.

Next, some of the celebrities in the audience were acknowledged.  They included Mike Bogle and his wife, Bob Spalding and his wife, Fiona Taylor, new Ventures member Luke Griffin, and Dave Towers and his wife - traveling all the way from the UK.  The fan who had traveled all the way from Japan for last year's FanFest was also acknowledged as being in attendance again this year.

Ken Arnold's band was next up with another group of instrumental classics.  (Sorry, I didn't record the name of all of the individual songs.)  Bob Spalding again joined in on "Diamond Head."  Vic Hines' band was up next, and they were followed by Rich (didn't catch his last name) and Walt Stagner.  Overall, all of the music was well-played and the sound came over quite well on the DVD video.

Disc 2:

This grouping started off with John Stapleson and his group, followed by a set from Bob Spalding, Luke Griffin, and Les Fradken.  That included Bob discussing and then playing Johnny Smith's original jazz version of "Walk Don't Run" and a unique reggae version of "Pipeline."  Our host Tom Baltaeff then took the microphone for some welcome remarks and announcements.  This set ended with an informative Q&A session with Bob Spalding, Fiona Taylor, Luke Griffin, and Mike Bogle in the "hot seats."

Disc 3:

The final disc in the set maintains the high picture and sound quality of the others.  The musicians in this last grouping included Bob Dowd, Piece of the Action, Ghose Kanad, Les Fradken, and a second set by The Picniks.  The disc ends with comments from Fan Fest attendees, both musicians and audience members.

Not taking away anything from Tom's herculean efforts in putting on and documenting the annual Fan Fests, I think I enjoyed watching this set of discs more than any of the others.  A big part of the reason is the greatly improved video and sound quality of the recordings.  Kudos to Tom, the musicians, and anyone else who had a hand in putting on the 2016 Ventures Fan Fest.

Arnold van Beverhoudt, Jr.

Chords & Tabs / Re: Chords
« on: January 11, 2017, 05:10:28 pm »
What was the original question?

Backing Trax, Sound Files and Video Clips / Re: Ventures Backing Tracks
« on: January 09, 2017, 11:36:15 am »
I'm sure some 1 will buy them from you.

Ventures Fan Fest / Re: 2016's a wrap!
« on: December 05, 2016, 07:48:26 am »
2016 FanFest Review by Alan Watson:

I was looking on site when I first heard about the Ventures 2016 International Fan Fest.  I have been a fan for many years, but had just recently got back into them heavily when I started getting back to my guitar playing.  So, the Fan Fest sounded like fun.  Well, one thing led to another, and the Fan Fest soon became the center point of a two-week driving vacation from Texas for my wife, DeeAine, and me.

I won’t bore anyone with the ho-hum details of Branson, Mo., The Ark Encounter in Kentucky, the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in Ohio, or Niagara Falls in the US and Canada.  Instead, I’ll get right to the best part - the Fan Fest.

We arrived in Chester, Pa. Friday afternoon and went straight to the hotel.  Upon walking in the lobby, we were greeted by several Fan Fest attendees.  All were so friendly and promptly introduced themselves.  What a great group of people!

We checked into our room and relaxed for a bit, but were really too excited to get any real rest.  Soon we met up with Fiona Taylor.  I had asked her to bring a few Ventures items from the web site store.  We had spoken on the phone prior, but it was nice to meet her in person.  Such a kind woman!

Later that evening, we met Fiona in the lobby and we all went to dinner with the gang at a nice oriental buffet restaurant.  On the way, I learned something new about Google Maps.  (You know, they say you learn something new every day…well, this was it!)  Sometimes, you have to zoom in really close on the maps.  What happened was this.  I looked up the route from the hotel to the restaurant.  I drew a little map and wrote down the street names.  Well, as it turns out, one of the streets we had to turn down had not one, not two, but three names depending where you were on the street!  I kept looking for the street name and was sure I hadn’t missed it, but we drove, and drove, and drove.  Finally, Fiona saved the day and used her GPS to get us there.  When we returned to the hotel, I checked Google Maps to see where I went wrong.  It turns out, the street had a different name where we were supposed to make a left turn and even a third name further down to the right.  Lesson learned!

Again, we met so many awesome people and had a wonderful dinner.  Did we eat too much?  You bet we did!  Then it was back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.  I set the alarm clock for the next morning.  I think it was for 6:00 or 6:30 a.m.  The alarm went off, I got in the shower, then got dressed.  DeeAine was up and getting ready when she said, “My watch says 3:20.”  I checked the alarm clock and it seemed right.  I then checked my watch and even my laptop.  What?!?!  They both also said 3:20!!!  To make a long story short, the alarm clock at the hotel was running very fast.  Ok, so back to bed for more rest.

When we were really ready, we met with Fiona and Mike Bogle in the lobby, and we all went to the Tom Jones restaurant for breakfast.  No direction problems this time.  It was very close to the hotel.  Breakfast was included in the entry fee for the Fan Fest.  Nice touch!

After breakfast, we headed for the Fan Fest.  We were first-timers and didn’t really know what to expect.  We were all hoping for the best.  We arrived and checked in.  We recognized many faces from the day before and began mingling after helping Fiona get her sales merchandise in the building.

The atmosphere was very relaxed all day.  Well, with the exception of Tom Baltaeff!   Oh, man, this guy can really move and get around from one place to 50 others like lightning!  Although I had seen some of Tom’s Fest teaser videos on YouTube, The Fan Fest was so much more exciting to be there in person.  The videos are great but don’t really show the energy from the performances that took place throughout the day.  Everyone who played, regardless of skill level was warmly received.  No real big heads here!  Nor were any welcome.  The music continued throughout the day with groups being formed on the spot by whoever got up to play.

Bob and Artie Spalding were there from Texas.  I got to meet them and had Bob sign my Wilson Brothers Ventures model guitar that had already been signed by Nokie and Don.  I visited briefly with Artie and talked a bit about Texas.  She’s such a pleasant person!  I hope our paths cross again – hopefully in Texas!

I also met new member Lucas Griffin.  What a nice young man he is.  He’ll fit right in with the other Ventures!  We traded guitar picks, and I asked him to sign his for me.  I had personalized picks made up to trade with people, so I don’t just “take” from them.  Luke’s picks, unfortunately, were “personalized,” as Luke pointed out, by Jim Dunlop…get it?

Another plus was that we never had to leave to get anything to eat.  Pizza was served for lunch and we had a very nice catered dinner.  And let’s not forget the lovely Ventures cake for dessert!!

Another highlight was the Q&A with Bob Spalding, Lucas Griffin, Fiona Taylor, and Mike Bogle.  I love hearing the behind-the-scenes stories about the guys!  Thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts with us.

DeeAine spent most of the day next to Fiona and helped one of the attendees sell some CDs and memorabilia.  Yours truly bought a bunch of it!  Some tour posters and Rare Japanese CDs were the best!  DeeAine and Fiona could hear the music very well from where they were in the back.  I’m a people watcher, so I had a really fun time with that!

All-in-all, it was a fabulous day.  It’s rare to get such a large group of people together with a common interest and warm hearts.  I’m glad we went, and I consider myself very fortunate to have been a part of such a wonderful event.  I certainly hope to attend again in the future.  If it were up to me, if someone did an Internet search for “a good time,” the first result would read, “Ventures International Fan Fest!”

I took along my copy of Del Halterman’s book Walk Don’t Run.  I had recently ordered a signed copy from Del, so I got the idea to get my original copy signed by the Fan Fest attendees – like a high school yearbook.  I know I didn’t get everyone to sign it, but I must have come close.  I asked each person to sign it and write where they were from.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled that book out and just looked over the signatures.  I told each one they could sign the book anywhere in the book they wished.  Most signed inside the front and back covers, but several signed randomly throughout the book.  I have to tell you, it is a really great souvenir from a really great event!

I purposefully didn’t mention any of the attendees we met by name.  There were so many that I know I would have left someone out, so I left them all out.  Please know that I haven’t forgotten any of you or your kindness and hospitality.  I consider all of you my friends and look forward to meeting you again in the future!

Ventures Fan Fest / Re: 2016's a wrap!
« on: December 05, 2016, 07:47:01 am »
2016 FanFest Review by Dave Towers:

                                                           THE TOWERS TAKE!

We have now returned home after a four-week visit to the USA and I now have the time to write about the Fan fest we attended on October 1st.  Carol and I would like to thank everyone for their kindness and hospitality. We made so many new friends and I was able, at last, to put faces to the many names that I already knew. May we also acknowledge the time and effort over the past year that Tom Baltaeff and his helpers contributed to make the day such a success, and also to thank the players for their interesting and varied contributions to a great day of music. The food was also very good and the caterers should receive a round of applause too, for their efforts in catering for almost 100 hungry people for both lunch and dinner.

We arrived from London on the Thursday afternoon just as the rain began and it continued through the night into Friday morning. Fan festers began arriving at the Days Inn shortly after we arrived and by early evening a small crowd had assembled in the lobby. At 9.00pm we all left for a bite to eat at Tom Jones restaurant via the ShopRite market and liquor Store for groceries and other essential supplies.

On Friday morning we were in the hotel lobby for 10.00am ready to leave for breakfast at Tom Jones’, but when we arrived at the restaurant the kitchen was out of action due to heavy rain during the night. We therefore decamped to the nearby Upland Diner where I was unable to resist their blueberry pancakes. Later we had a wander around the Chester area looking at the buildings and local architecture and realizing how different it all is compared to the West Coast. At 5.00pm a very large party had assembled in the lobby to go to the Ichiban Seafood Restaurant, which was one of the best buffets I have ever been to. Next morning, Saturday, the day of the Fan fest, there was a very early breakfast call in the lobby, but we declined as 7.15am is a little early for us. At 9.00am we all left the hotel for the Fan fest at the Kings of Columbus Hall at nearby Crum Lynne. We were early so we had a wander around the area before attendees began arriving from around 9.30am. Coffee and pastries were available for breakfast.

The proceedings began at 10.45am after opening remarks from Tom Baltaeff. The Pickniks had the unenviable task of opening the show with people coming in and with a lot of movement around the room, but they did a good job.    As is ‘customary’ with Jeff Green & the rest of the band, midway
thru their opening set, they bring up Bob Spalding for a couple numbers.   But this time Bob had a
‘special treat’ for all our attendies.    Nine year old Danny Roberts had traveled with mom & brother
from Paint Lick, Kentucky for the day.   Not only did Bob introduce Danny as “the youngest” Ventures
fan in the building, he asked Danny to man John Ramski’s drum kit for Walk, Don’t Run & Lullaby Of
The Leaves.    I must say that for someone so young, Danny did ‘just fine’ with this early performance & then lent his services throughout the rest of the day as well.   

There followed several groups of guitarists and drummers each playing a set of instrumentals mainly by the Ventures with one or two by the Shadows included.

A fine lunch of pizza was provided before the music restarted with John and Mathew Stapleton followed by a second set by the Pickniks featuring Bob Dowd on lead guitar. A feature of the whole day was various musicians sitting in with the current band for a few numbers.

The appearance of Bob Spalding, Les Fradkin, and Luke Griffin demonstrated to us all the capabilities of professional musicians as, with no rehearsal, they breezed effortlessly through some very difficult material like ‘Endless Dream’ and ‘Guitar Psychedelics’ that I have never heard played live before. It seemed that the music got better as the day progressed, and I thought the Pickniks played an excellent set to close the Fanfest that included some of the Ventures Japanese material that is rarely played in the USA.

Another highlight after dinner & before the cutting of the full sheet cake for dessert was the ‘almost’
hour long Q&A session with Bob Spalding, Fiona Taylor, Michael Bogle & Lucas Griffin.   

Personally, I was greatly flattered to see my name on that wonderful cake, but also to hear comments by Tom Baltaeff in his closing speech, and also by Bob Spalding who spoke afterwards, in referring to me as the Ultimate Ventures Fan. It is strange, but I have never regarded myself as such and I’ve certainly never sought to attain that status. Like many of you reading this, I began learning to play guitar in 1961 when, by chance, guitar instrumentals were popular world-wide and there was plenty of tunes to pick away at. At school one day a classmate brought his guitar in. I told him I was learning to play, too, and then a third classmate said he was learning, also. So the three of us rehearsed instrumentals together for three years and when we completed our exams in 1963, we added a drummer and a vocalist and we played gigs, as we cashed in on the wave of euphoria created by the Beatles. Again, by complete chance, 1963 was exactly the right time in history to start a band. And that is what I have been doing till the present day – playing bass and double bass as a semi-professional musician in a band backing a vocalist. I’ve never played for an instrumental band. 

From 1966 the Ventures became forgotten in everything else I was doing - until 1973 when I was looking through some albums outside a shop one day and was amazed to see the Ventures ‘Joy’ album in a sale. I couldn’t believe they were still going. The album sleeve gave the address of Dave Peckett who ran the Ventures Fan Club at the time. I wrote to him and I was astonished to learn of the Ventures huge success in Japan.

Chance again intervened when my parents, who had never been on an aircraft before, decided to go to LA in 1974 to visit an elderly relative. I had never travelled more than about 200 miles from home and neither had any of the family or my friends, but when my parents returned to LA for a second visit in July 1976 I decided to go too, although, unfortunately, I knew the Ventures were in Japan. I had never had any ambition to travel, but I did – for a once in a lifetime trip - and I was so completely knocked out by LA, that when Carol and I were married in the September, I persuaded her that she had to see LA, too. And so we scraped together every penny we had and we booked a flight to LA for October 1st till 19th 1977. I wrote to Dave Peckett to see if he had an address for the Ventures and he advised me to write to P.O. Box 1646, Burbank, CA 91507. So I wrote, never seriously expecting to meet the Ventures or even receive a reply. I heard nothing until the week before we were due to travel when a letter from Sonny Rivera arrived saying that during our stay only Don might be available to meet us. Well, that was better than no one, but when I rang Sonny after we arrived, she said the Ventures were in the studios for six weeks and would we like to go and join them for a day in the studios. Even more astonishing was that they were all there – Bob, Don, Joe, and Nokie too, because he was living in Tacoma, Washington at the time. When we arrived home all the money we had in the world between us was one £5 note – but we had met the Ventures.

Again, unforeseen circumstances determined what we did next. We had no intention of returning to the USA, but a relative in San Francisco wrote to ask why we had not visited her, so we went there in 1978, then another relative in Palm Springs contacted us so we went there in 1979, and so it went on. And then, in 1980, the Ventures began playing live shows in the USA. Also around that time, Gerry Woodage began asking me to collect Ventures merchandise and take it back to the UK for him to sell through his Ventures Resurgence magazine. We did this for years, firstly visiting Sonny Rivera and then Mel Taylor, which maintained a regular contact with the Ventures.

Mel Taylor always tried to dissuade me from visiting Japan by warning about the heat, humidity, the crowds of people, and the hassle of travelling. It terrified my wife, but the more Mel tried to dissuade me, the more interesting a prospect it became. So I went in 1996 for a once in a lifetime visit, as I had done in 1976 to the USA. But then, new friends in Japan began asking me to return next year, and so it went on. I never intended for all this to happen. Chance has intervened, doors have opened, unexpected opportunities have presented themselves and I’ve just taken them. I am just a semi-professional musician and it is great to be given the full run of the wonderful venues the Ventures play in Japan, because I have never played at that level myself.  We have been on many tours of the USA with various bands and seen many musicians perform live, but there has always been something special about the Ventures, and in particular – they are one of the few who are still actively performing.

And so, back to the prospect of Fan fest 2017. Hopefully, we will see you all there……

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