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Interview with The Ventures
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
1999-06-12
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I had the distinct honor and opportunity to interview one of music's legends The Ventures. This has been such a thrill for me. This group is phenomenal! They surely don't get the accolades and notoriety that they deserve, hint Rock n' Roll Hall Of Fame! The questions were answered by original group members Bob Bogle and Don Wilson. Bob was so gracious and responsive. He and the group are currently doing an exhausting tour of Japan. Regardless he took the time to do this interview. He offered to call me from Japan and do it over the phone! Hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.

MuzikMan: How does everyone feel in the group? Physically, emotionally and spiritually?

The Ventures: As far as we know every one is in good health and very much up to the task at hand.

MuzikMan: Has everyone adjusted well to the passing of Mel and his son Leon taking over? Leon is incredible, he must have learned well from his father.

The Ventures: We will probably never really adjust completely to losing Mel but we are so fortunate to have such a great drummer as Leon. He fills his dad's shoes and then some.

MuzikMan: How does everyone feel about being passed up by the Rock n' Roll Hall Of Fame? Are you happy that there has been an aggressive campaign to get you in by the Sandcastle Website?

The Ventures: We feel very disappointed at not being inducted into the Hall Of Fame and we can not understand why. We really appreciate all the support and help from our many wonderful fans.

MuzikMan:I currently have around 43 Ventures releases in my collection. From what I understand you have 100's of releases out there and many tracks that have never seen the light of day. Have you given any thought to doing a self produced career retrospective or Boxed Set?

The Ventures: Yes we have seriously considered producing and packaging our own project and releasing it through an independent distributor.

MuzikMan: Are the fans more enthusiastic in Japan than they are stateside? You have been touring now for so long in Japan that your popularity surpasses the Beatles over there, how does everyone feel about that?

The Ventures: The crowd enthusiasm seems about the same in both the U.S. and Japan but of course we have done more business per capita in Japan and this gives us a great feeling of accomplishment.

MuzikMan: Fiona (Taylor) told me that the Ace release In The Vaults Volume 2 has some tracks that the group didn't want released, have you been able to hold up any further distribution of that CD? There has been some problems with bootlegs are undesirable music being released, how is all of this dealt with?

The Ventures: We made a strong demand to both Ace and EMI to not release these songs because the quality is below our standards. We explained that they were never really considered by us to be suitable for release but of course they ignored us and released them any way. At this point we are not sure what can be done about it We feel it could be damaging to our career. We understand and appreciate that our fans like this cd but our big fear is, potential future fans who are not that aware of The Ventures may hear the recording and assume that we are not very good. As far as the bootlegs, there is probably not much we can do about that.

MuzikMan: Your tour of the states went really well, does the group plan to continue to tour on a more intense level than in the past?

The Ventures: We are not sure about touring that much in the U.S. as there are no promoters there like there are in Japan who will put together an entire tour and provide for all the logistical problems. It is extremely difficult and time consuming for us to do everything ourselves. There are lots of booking
agents but all they do is book the concert and send a list of the venues to us and the rest is up to us.

MuzikMan: Have you or any of the other group members ever said "Man, I am so tired and I really need a change, I don't want to tour anymore or record?

The Ventures: We have never thought of quitting or trying something else. We are very happy to continue on as long as we are able.

MuzikMan: Fiona is so wonderful, she was so helpful and responsive when I first contacted her. The group must be really glad that she decided to work with the group as the manager, your thoughts and feelings on this?

The Ventures: We were very fortunate to have Fiona in the wings to take over for Mel. She was already quite involved and virtually needed no transition to management. She adds a tremendous amount of talent and energy to the team.

MuzikMan: What do you think about the groups that contributed to the Tribute CD? Is the future of Surf/Instro in good hands?

The Ventures: We were very honored and appreciative to learn of the tribute groups. We were so impressed that each and every one of them were so superb that we feel, yes, the future of surf/instro is in very good and capable hands.

MuzikMan: Does the tag "Surf Group" still pop up all the time when you read reviews or anything in magazines?

The Ventures: Yes surf pops up all the time and even though we do not consider ourselves a surf group per-se, we do play a lot of surf music and the inference is O.K. with us.

MuzikMan: Are all the group members married with children? If so do any of the family members travel with the group? If not how is that dealt with, being away for so long?

The Ventures: Yes we all have families and usually if we are out on an extended tour our close family members will join us from time to time as often as possible.

MuzikMan: Does the group feel like old timers now or is true what they say, you're as young as you feel?

The Ventures: We think you are as young as you feel and we believe music helps to keep us feeling young. We never tire of people telling us it looks like we are having fun on stage and we really do have a lot of good times both on and off the stage.

MuzikMan: What are your feelings on the Internet and the new MP3 format for music? Do you feel the artists are losing out on sales? It seems like something has to give with all this free downloading of entire CDs and illegal copies of tracks being made available to the entire world.

The Ventures: The ability to download music is great for the fans short term but we are not sure how music will be affected long term. Making records is a very expensive proposition and if it ceases to be profitable we believe it could eventually affect the availability of good quality music in the future especially for up and coming young
musicians who have very small budgets to work with.

MuzikMan: Do you feel Zines like mine are really helping the Music Community with exposure? Especially the Independent Music Community where there is so much undiscovered talent and so many unsigned bands? From my experience I have heard some incredible music and feel it's a shame that the music industry has to be so political and mainstream, your feelings?

The Ventures: There is no doubt about it, zines such as yours very definitely help the entire music industry and from an artist's point of view we believe all members of the industry should be appreciative and supportive of your great contributions and efforts that you and people like you make to the music scene.

MuzikMan: Have all the years recording and on the road been worth it?, financially and emotionally? In retrospective if you had a chance to do things over again, what would you do different?

The Ventures: Of course if we knew in the beginning what we know now we would do a few things differently but generally in our case the rewards have been worth the effort and we would not change a thing.

MuzikMan: What are some of your favorite groups? Who would you site as being a major influence when you decided to start playing a musical instrument?

The Ventures: When Don and I began learning to play the guitar together we were mainly influenced by what we call the big 3, Duane Eddy, Les Paul, and Chet Atkins. Since then it's so hard to pick a favorite as so many phenomenal groups have emerged such as The Eagles, The Beatles, Chicago, War, etc. etc. to name a few.

MuzikMan:The availability of your music has gradually increased over the last few years, have you seen a big jump in sales and demand for the group for live performances worldwide?

The Ventures: Yes, much to our surprise we seem to be more and more in demand each year. To be able to sustain after 40 years seems too good to be true.

MuzikMan: Do you guys ever take a break or go on an extended vacation? Or have any plans in the future to do so?

The Ventures: We almost never take a vacation in the standard way but in a lot of ways it seems like we are on vacation much of the time, even to the point where coming home for some much needed R and R is like a vacation just being home.

MuzikMan:Have you really checked out all the sites dedicated to the group on the Internet? What are your thoughts and feelings on all the work that has gone into these cyber shrines to the group?

The Ventures: Yes we check the sites often and we are quite overwhelmed by the support and admiration from our many fans. We feel that The Ventures Fans are the most special people in the world.

MuzikMan: After the Japan tour is over what does the group plan on doing? Recording another studio album?

The Ventures: We do have tentative plans to record possibly 2 more CDs for M. & I Records next winter for the year 2,000 Japan tour..

MuzikMan: In closing I would like to say thank you so much for this opportunity.
It has been a thrill for me to do this. I have never had so many questions for one interview before! Do you have any closing comments that you would like to make?

The Ventures: Thank you for the interview. It's people like you who help keep the name, The Ventures, alive.

MuzikMan: Thank you gentleman! It has been an honor and a privilege to conduct this interview.


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