The Most Dangerous Band In The World: The Ventures

Music discovery to me is like Indiana Jones type shit. I rarely listen to playlists (except for the continual round robin of my entire Amazon library of song shuffle…which means regardless of what pop’s up, I put it there. Intentionally or not.)


I find I don’t read as much music press as I used too, which is a little sad as record reviews were my favorite form of the written word, next to well used profanity. I was led to many singers and sounds based on what Rolling Stone or Paste said. They were not always right (I’ve tried you Will Oldham. You need to go now), but sometimes they are on the mark.


Not now. Magazines are gone. And the idea of seeking out reviews on line when I can just go right to YouTube seems a needless expense of my precious time.


So music discovery to me is much more dusty, far more speckled with sweat. I go out into the world and I explore tag sales…flea markets…second hand shops…looking for my booty of cheap gold: 99 cent CD’s. And then I buy too many.


The wide variety of what you will find…will go home with…is different on Sunday mornings than maybe at any other part of the week. A likely combination of Saturday night excess and Sunday morning exhaustion can make someone do crazy things. Like buy an Enya disc. On purpose.


That is my point. A good Sunday and a wild Saturday feeds into music discovery (for me), causes me to take chances with my taste and try things I ordinarily wouldn’t. Like…for example…instrumental music.



So among my pirates booty of raided discs, I sail the seas in my lil’ orange car. I learn, I love, I dislike and whip the CD out the window with a soul disgust. Which is immensely satisfying and if errant CD’s are what finally brings down the ozone…that’s on me. Sorry. My bad.


I have casket sized cases, bags, boxes filled with covered and naked discs. Scratched, surely. But generally true. They accumulate and I reach into the bag and today’s selection starts to play and my day is either improved or disproved by it.



So, whistle blows and I’m out of work, striding to my car. Sun is setting, night is coming. And I reach in and this evenings selection was ‘The Ventures: Japan Live 1965’. Key in the ignition and the disc drops into place.


I knew I appreciated The Ventures. You know the songs, so I won’t bother naming them….as you may not know the name. I did not know how often I had heard The Ventures in my life, but it seems it started young and kept coming. Not from the radio, as much. From every movie or commercial or cartoon or rap tune or TV show ever looking for incidental music.  There music occupies a very unique part of the Americana repertoire. And there covers of ‘The Modern Sound’ make mincemeat of the originals. Simply because they were skilled beyond belief, individually and together.


I drove. I let the music wash over me. Understand, this was live, in 1965. So I wasn’t catching ‘Walk Don’t Run’ like from the radio version. They were blistering, live and loud, with a thrilling amount of wailing feedback just below the surface. It is cutting and it is live and it has a wildness to it that is …. influential.


Though not simply musically.  I listened and the music slunk into me. I drive and I drove faster. I felt bad, dangerous. The guitar tones were twiddling with my Id. I wanted to do something really bad. Not to anyone in particular…unsure if it was visceral or criminal…. I felt the opening credits roll by as I leaned my arm out my window and let the wind float my hand. I felt blood flow around my body, corpuscle to vein to brain to below. I smiled to myself and let The Ventures play out my worst influences for me in inner Technicolor. I felt bad. And it felt good.


Why? Is it the countless Tarantino-esque movies I’ve seen that equate period music with violence? Is it the lack of words, but clear melody lines, allow us to sing our unconscious? Is it the tone of Stratocasters that have long been the missing link between The Louvin Brothers and Embalmed?


I don’t know. Try it. And keep repeating to yourself: it’s only a movie. It’s only a movie.


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