Petition to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Attachment 2 - Comments by Rock & Roll Stars
About the Influence of The Ventures

  • In a Billboard magazine article, guitar great Joe Walsh (The James Gang and The Eagles) acknowledged the influence of The Ventures. He was asked what he considered to be the 12 best all-time guitar solos. Joe Walsh responded:

    I don't really know if it's a solo or not, but I'd have to say that "Walk, Don't Run" by The Ventures changed an awful lot of guitar players' lives. It was one of the foundational instrumentals. It made instrumentals okay to do, and it led the way for things like the Surfaris' "Wipe Out," the Tornadoes' "Telstar," and the Rockin' Teens' "Wild Weekend." It had been done before with Duane Eddy, but with The Ventures, America discovered the vibrato bar. I didn't even play guitar at the time, but I loved "Walk, Don't Run." I was 13 when that came out in '60, and my mom was making me practice a stupid metal clarinet for orchestra. I borrowed a guitar just to learn how to play that lead part. A lot of people ended up playing guitar because of that song. We used to look at their second album cover, and nobody could believe that there was a Fender Jazzmaster and a Fender Strat and a perfect precision. Later on The Ventures went to Mosrites, but that band and that particular song really paved the way for a whole new approach to instrumentals, and "lead guitar" became so much more important in the song.

  • George Harrison (The Beatles) also cited The Ventures as an early influence. In a November 1987 interview for Guitar Player magazine, he was asked whether he considered himself to have been influenced by the English guitarist Hank Marvin (The Shadows). George Harrison responded:

    Naw, no. Although Hank [Marvin] is a good player -- I would not certainly put him down -- and I did enjoy the little echo things they [The Shadows] had and the sound of the Fenders, which they started out on, but to me, "Walk, Don't Run," the Ventures -- I just always preferred the American stuff to the English. So, I wasn't influenced by him [Hank Marvin] at all.

  • In his autobiography, Kink, Dave Davies (The Kinks) mentioned that he and his brother Ray regularly used to perform instrumental duets for family and friends at their father's local pub, and that their main influences were Chet Atkins and The Ventures.

  • Keith Moon (The Who) has been quoted (see Music Hound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1999 edition) as saying that he considered album The Ventures In Space (Dolton BST-8027) to be one of his personal favorites and one the most important albums in rock and roll history.

  • The following is an exact transcript of comments made by several rock superstar musicians in the video The Ventures: 30 Years of Rock and Roll, which was recorded in New York circa 1985 and released in Japan (Toshiba-EMI WV048-3020, 1989).

Al DiMiola: The Ventures were the first group that I remember using electric guitars in an instrumental format.

Elliot Easton (The Cars): Along with, say The Shadows from England, The Ventures are arguably "THE" instrumental rock and roll band of all time.

Joey Ramone (The Ramones): The Ventures were the only band of their kind, really. And they were the only band of their kind with the magnitude of . . . you know . . . they could stand up to, say The Beatles at that period. They're a class act, and will always remain that way.

Max Weinberg (Springsteen's E Street Band): I can remember the early days of Bruce Springsteen, when we'd be doing a sound check. We'd be rolling through our songs and every once in a while the music would stop, and suddenly I'd pick up this beat . . . "Wipe Out! " Don't you know, everybody in our band would go right into it.

Elliot Easton (The Cars): Basically, "Wipe Out" isn't a whole lot more complex than "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" or "Mary Has a Little Lamb." But it's a whole lot more fun to play. And I think The Ventures were probably in that way responsible for a whole lot more players sticking with guitar through the difficult early stage.

Jeff Baxter ( Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers): I joined The Ventures' fan club when I was 10 years old. I wrote them a letter, and I said, "I want to be a lead guitar player. What kind of guitar I should buy?" And they told me I should go buy a Fender Jazzmaster. So, I went to the local music store and paid a fortune for an imported Fender . . . this was Mexico. I must have paid $500 . . . $400, which was all the money I could make in the world, and I still have the guitar.

Peter Frampton: My music has sort of evolved, I suppose, through starting off listening to The Ventures and going back to listen to them. . . and Jazz, and R&B, and Mowtown, and, you know, everything . . . blues. And the thing that I try to maintain is , like a sense of melody all that time. And I think that's basically what The Ventures are . . . if it's a good melody, it's worth a good crack at it.

Rick Derringer (The McCoys and The Edgar Winter Group): When I was 14 years old, I already played the electric guitar. My brother played the drums, and we wanted to be a rock and roll band. We needed a bass player. My neighbor came to me and said, "I'd love to buy a brand new electric bass, if you'll show me how to play it." He stuck to his word. He got the electric bass. I had to show him how to play it. I went to my Ventures album collection. I pulled out my favorite Ventures album and chose a song called "The McCoy." I showed him the song. We played it for the first time. It was the first time we ever heard ourselves as a 3-piece rock and roll band. We were so excited! We realized that if we called ourselves "The McCoys," we'd have a built in theme song. It was the only song we knew, but that was our theme song. One thing led to another. The next thing you know, The McCoys recorded "Hang on Sloopy," and it became No. 1 in every country in the world that sells records. I guess I owe a big thanks, because of "The McCoy," to The Ventures.

Chris Spedding (The Stones, Paul McCartney, and The Who): You can name any number of instrumentalists or musicians who've got good taste, and they've got good . . . they play well and they've got good choice of material. But they don't last or they don't capture the public's imagination the way The Ventures have done. So, it's got to be some unknown quality, like magnetic charisma, that has kept them on top for so long.

Elliot Easton (The Cars): A lot of The Ventures's songs are basically 3-chord A sections with a middle 8th, especially the surf-type instrumentals. And, when you think about it, that's really excellent training for what I do today. It was an excellent starting ground to learn the fundamentals of pop music and song construction. I still use a lot of those twangy parts anyway.

Marky Ramon (The Ramones): The Ventures, to me, were very lively, very youthful sounding at the time, and reminded me of The Beach Boys without the words. And, along with Jan & Dean and The Beach Boys, there were The Ventures.

Robby Kreiger (The Doors): There's not many groups, instrumental groups, that can last for any amount of time, especially in rock and roll. There's only been a few, and, I don't know, they [The Ventures] must have their own particular sound or their own particular style that just fills a nitch somewhere.

Elliot Easton (The Cars): They were also the ultimate cover band. It was our first exposure to hits like "Apache," which was a cover, and "Pipeline" was The Chantays, and "Wipe Out" was The Surfaris, and "Walk, Don't Run" was Johnny Smith. But we all knew them as Ventures songs, much the same way that young blues players learn Muddy Waters songs from Rolling Stones records.

David Johanson (Buster Poindexter): The present popularity of The Ventures in the whole new wave scene is the fact that their music has the same elements, I think, of new wave. The simplicity of it, the melody, the beat, the schtick, a natural recurring theme.

Joey Ramone (The Ramones): I think the attractiveness of The Ventures, whether it be 25 year back or currently, is that they have a style that they created in their own right. And it's pure and simple, and exciting, and, you know, it was a good time. I can see why a lot of kids today like The Ventures like they did 20 or 25 years ago, because it's just straight ahead rock and roll. It's no frills. It's enjoyable to listen to. It's not 10-minute guitar solos and 15 minute drum solos. And, it gets right to the point. And that's what rock and roll is all about and what The Ventures are all about.

Jeff Cook (Alabama): Even after the success of Alabama, one of the highlights of my career was to be able to introduce The Ventures at a local night club, and I'm proud to call them personal friends.

Josie Cotton: I've got to be The Ventures' biggest fan. And to size it up really, The Venture's music is fun. It's the most fun.

Max Weinberg (Springsteen's E Street Band): The Ventures were a big part of my life. Because, well, you'd be playing these dances . . . CYO dances, high school dances . . . wherever you could play. Now, we were young kids, and after 20 minutes or 30 minutes of singing, your voice would go out. So, what could you do? We resorted to playing Ventures songs because it was great. They had no words. You didn't have to sing. You could play all night.

Al DiMiola: Here I was in 4th grade. I was a shy little kid. I played with a couple friends of mine in school variety shows. I'll never forget the reaction when we played "Pipeline," "Apache," "Perfidia." Girls coming up to us after. You could see the excitement in their eyes. I knew then I would be playing electric guitar for a long time. I'll have to thank The Ventures for that. Basically, The Ventures' songs were very hip tunes to play. They were very cool. The physical sensation was definitely a part of it.

Jeff Baxter (Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers): The Ventures are the ultimate minimalist band. They just play the parts straight. They're real cool!

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Last Updated: November 1, 2006