Sellersville Theater presents a concert of beachy instrumentals with The Venutres, which of course will feature “Walk, Don’t Run” and “Hawaii Five-O,” as well as related popular ‘60s surf rock songs that the band has made their own, such as “Pipeline” (recorded by The Ventures in 1963, but best known for the top-10 version in that same year by The Chantays) and “Wipe Out” (recorded by The Ventures for their 2016 album “‘60s Rock Instrumental Collection, Vol. 2,” but best known in its 1963 incarnation by The Surfaris).
Bob Spalding, who worked with all of The Ventures’ original members and has played guitar and bass in the band since 1981, said that members of long-defunct groups, whose songs The Ventures have covered, are grateful for their renditions.
“The model for recording at that time was to record songs that were popular in the U.S. — both from a vocal standpoint and an instrumental standpoint ... because it seemed to work. ‘I’m glad to hear you did our song because we didn’t make any money off it.’ We sold more copies of ‘Wipe Out’ than (The Surfaris) did,” he said.
So influential was the band’s effects-heavy, guitar-forward sound — “Walk, Don’t Run” originally hit the charts in 1960 (and became a hit all over again as “Walk, Don’t Run ‘64”) — that Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan guitarist Jeff Baxter was a member of the official Ventures fan club back in the ‘60s. “Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, all these guys will tell you The Ventures were one of their big influences,” Spalding said. “The punk type phase started in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and we ended up doing recordings with The Go-Gos.”
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
The Ventures remain cultural icons in Japan, where they’ve toured every year since 1962. Founding members Don Wilson (who retired from the band last year at the age of 82) and Bob Bogle (who died in 2009) “influenced a generation of young (Japanese) men to play electric guitar,” Spalding said.
Leon Taylor, who took over on drums for his father, Mel — who passed away in 1996, said that it’s important to him “to keep the music true, and just watch the audience and see their enjoyment.”
“I think (my father) always wanted me to take over for him. It was some big shoes to fill,” Taylor said. “It is an honor to play in a band I grew up with.”