In celebration of the Ventures' 60th anniversary, the Grammy Museum unveiled its latest special exhibit Walk Don’t Run: 60 Years of The Ventures. Recently, the Grammy Museum hosted "A Celebration of The Ventures" in the museum’s Clive Davis Theater. The Ventures are known for hits (including covers) like the theme to “Hawaii Five-O’,” “Pipeline,” “Walk Don’t Run,” “Wipe Out,” and “Apache.”
Grammy Museum Artistic Director Scott Goldman conducted the interview in two segments. The first was with Fiona Taylor, the Ventures manager and widow of drummer Mel Taylor, and guitar legend Jeff “Skunk” Baxter who was mostly associated with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers early on, but who also worked and recorded with the Ventures since the early ’80s. Baxter brought rare recordings including one of “Wish Upon a Star” from Disney’s Pinnochio.
The second part of the Q&A was with Taylor and the current Ventures who are Bob Spalding (lead guitar), Taylor’s son Leon (drums), Ian Spalding (rhythm guitar), and Luke Griffin (bass). Each member discussed how they joined the band, their fame in Japan, and continuing the group’s legacy. The Ventures classic lineup consisted of Nokie Edwards (lead guitar), Don Wilson (rhythm guitar), Bob Bogle (bass), and Mel Taylor (drums). With the passing of Edwards in 2018, Wilson became the last surviving member. They also recognized all the former members in the audience and the widows and families of Edwards, Wilson, and Bogle. In attendance was Don Wilson. Although Wilson didn’t speak in the Q&A, he took photos with fans and signed albums following the event.
In the Ventures' 60 years, they released over 250 albums and became the biggest selling instrumental group of all-time. Of those albums, they had eight number one albums in Japan and from the ’60s to this day, remain very popular there. Between the ’60s and ’70s, the group had 38 albums on the US charts. All together the Ventures have sold over 100 million albums and have influenced generations of bands. They were one of the earliest groups to use a fuzz effect pedal and 12-string guitars in rock music.