Around the same time, the members of the Underground Fire online fan club decided to mount a petition campaign to try and get The Ventures inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We all knew that, although The Ventures’ popularity in the United States had declined to the point where almost no one (except lifelong fans) knew anything about them, they had played a very important role in the development of rock and roll music. We had read articles in countless guitar and other music-related magazines and seen TV interviews where many of the current guitar gods commented on how they had been inspired by The Ventures to take up the guitar and become musicians. Among these were such notables as The B-52s, Jeff Baxter (Steely Dan & The Doobie Brothers), Steve Lukather (Toto), Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac), Jeff Lynn (ELO), Jeff Cook (Alabama), Jimmy Paige (Led Zeppelin), Rick Derringer (The McCoys & The Edgar Winter Band), Buster Poindexter, The Pretenders, Dire Straits, Joey and Marky Ramone (The Ramones), Elliot Easton (The Cars), Gene Simmons (Kiss), John Fogerty (Credence Clearwater Revival), Stephen Stills (Crosby, Stills & Nash), Kathy Valentine (The Go-Gos), Peter Frampton, Billie Idol, Joe Walsh (The James Gang & The Eagles), Max Weinberg (Bruce Springstein’s E Street Band), Robert Kreiger (The Doors), and “yes” even George Harrison (The Beatles). After compiling that “who’s who” list of rock and roll royalty that had been inspired by The Ventures, how could The Ventures NOT be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
The Underground Fire members nominated Canadian member Richard Wilson and myself to head up the petition campaign. Richard and I drafted a formal petition and had it approved by the other Underground Fire members. I set up a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame petition page on my personal website and invited fans of The Ventures to send us emails with their comments on how The Ventures had influenced them or somehow been important in their lives. We ended up with almost 6,000 emails from fans in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, 3 U.S. territories, and 56 other countries on every continent except Antarctica! Between September 1997 and November 2006, we submitted eight packages of petition signatures and fan emails to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation (which oversees the induction process). You can see all of the information on our petition drive, which is archived beginning here:http://www.sandcastlevi.com/ventures/fhall.htm
I know that similar petition drives were mounted by at least one radio station in Washington state and that either the Governor or Lt. Governor of Washington state also personally petitioned the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Regardless of who’s efforts were the most productive, fans of The Ventures around the world were ecstatic when, on March 10, 2008, The Ventures were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! I watched (and recorded to DVD) the entire induction ceremony on VH-1 Classic. (Clips from the ceremony were later posted on youtube.com by other fans of The Ventures.) I’m very happy to have played at least a small part in seeing this dream of The Ventures themselves to become a reality. You can see some screen captures from the induction ceremony beginning here:http://www.sandcastlevi.com/ventures/ventpic7.htm
With that accomplished, there was one more thing on my musical “bucket list” -- to see The Ventures perform live and to meet the members of the band. I was able to scratch that off of my “bucket list” in April 2008 and again in April 2009, when Helena and I had the pleasure of seeing The Ventures perform at the American Gardens Theater at Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park. For both years, Disney had arranged for three 30-minute shows each day for three consecutive days. That meant a total of nine shows each year. Helena and I joined standing room only crowds, which included many members of the Underground Fire online fan club. Before, between, and after the daily performances, we all had the opportunity to meet in person and exchange stories about The Ventures. Both years, The Ventures made arrangements for fan “meet and greets” at their hotel, during which they were available to meet the fans, sign autographs, pose for photos, and engage the fans in question and answer sessions. This was a fan’s lifelong dream come true! You can see a small selection of my photos from the 2008 and 2009 Epcot performances and “meet and greets” beginning here:http://www.sandcastlevi.com/ventures/ventpic8a.htm
Tragically, about 2 months after their 2009 Epcot appearances, The Ventures lost one of their founding members, Bob Bogle, to cancer. Bob had retired in 2005 because of his ailing health but, as they always did, The Ventures continued on. As I’m writing this, I’m listening to one of their latest album releases, “Memories of Japan,” which was issued by EMI Music Japan just a couple weeks ago. It is a combination of some of The Ventures’ most beloved Japanese style music plus several brand new compositions in the same Japanese style. Later this month, The Ventures will be traveling to Japan for their 64th concert tour of that country (counting summer and winter appearances). They have already made over a dozen appearances throughout the United States earlier this year. With the remaining founding member, Don Wilson, approaching his 80th birthday, it is only a matter of time before he retires. Fans around the world are beginning to wonder what will become of our beloved Ventures when that happens. Only time will tell, but I know that my musical journey with The Ventures isn’t over yet. I have my entire Ventures collection on the hard drive of three computers, two external backup hard drives, and my iPod. As long as I have those and my hearing, I’ll still be on my musical journey.
Arnold E. van Beverhoudt, Jr.
July 4, 2012
Dedicated to Mike Kuhn, a longtime super-fan of The Ventures in New Jersey, who organized and ran The Ventures U.S. Fan Club during the 1980s. He even appeared in a 30th anniversary video in which many of the “guitar gods” I mentioned earlier, not only provided interview comments about how The Ventures had influenced them, but also performed on stage with The Ventures. Mike died on July 1, 2012 after a fierce 9-year battle against a form of cancer called multiple myeloma. I like to think that Mike is in heaven now, jamming with Bob Bogle, Mel Taylor, and other members of The Ventures who preceded him in death. RIPThe Ventures Are
Don Wilson --------------- Rhythm Guitar (1958 to Now - Founding Member)
Bob Bogle (+)------------ Bass & Lead Guitar (1958 to 2005 - Founding Member)
Earl Herbert (+)--------- Bass Guitar (1959)
George Babbitt, Jr. ---- Drums (1959)
Nokie Edwards ---------- Lead & Bass Guitar (1960 to 1968 - 1973 to 1984 - 2005 to 2012)
Skip Moore (+) ---------- Drums (1960 - Walk Don’t Run only)
Howie Johnson (+)----- Drums (1960 to 1962)
Mel Taylor (+)------------ Drums (1963 to 1972 - 1979 to 1996)
Gerry McGee ------------- Lead & Bass Guitar (1968 to 1973 - 1985 to Now)
John Durrill --------------- Keyboards (1969 to 1972)
Joe Barile ----------------- Drums (1972 to 1979)
Leon Taylor -------------- Drums (1996 to Now)
Bob Spalding ------------ Bass & Lead Guitar (2005 to Now)
(+) = Deceased
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