Guitarist Don Wilson, founding member of ‘The Ventures’, dies at 88
Washington: Don Wilson, who was the co-founder and rhythm guitarist of instrumental guitar band ‘The Ventures’, has died aged 88.
According to People magazine, the rhythm guitarist’s family said he died peacefully of natural causes Saturday morning in Tacoma, Washington. Wilson had his four children by his side at the time.
“Our dad was an amazing rhythm guitarist who touched people all over the world with his band, The Ventures. He will go down in history forever and was much loved and appreciated. He will be missed,” said his son Tim in a press release.
Born February 10, 1933 in Tacoma, Wilson founded “The Ventures” with friend Bob Bogle in 1958. The quartet achieved international fame after releasing their first mainstream single “Walk, Don’t Run” in 1960. who was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for his enduring significance.
“We never wanted to be a surf band. Honestly, I love playing surf music — it’s a lot of fun and it feels good. But we never really thought of ourselves as a surf band. C It was just all of these things coming together – surf culture, electric guitar, Americana – when we arrived in the early 1960s. Kind of a happy accident, I guess you could say. However, we we play all kinds of music, including our “venturization” of everything from classical to disco,” Wilson told People magazine in 2020.
The Ventures had 14 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold over 100 million records. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
Bands like The Beatles, Beach Boys, Go-Go’s and even Kiss have cited “The Ventures” as inspiration, with Gene Simmons having been in the band’s fan club and George Harrison saying he loved the sound of their guitar .
The instrumental group is also known for their tracks “Hawaii 5-0”, “Wipeout” and “Perfidia”, as well as writing songs in films like “Pulp Fiction”, “Zoolander”, “Kangaroo Jack” and ” Dogtown and the Z-Boys”.
Until his retirement in 2015, Wilson remained an active member of the band and never missed a tour with ‘The Ventures’.
He continued to record with the band’s current lineup and produced the 2020 documentary “The Ventures: Stars on Guitars” with his family.
“This is the first real documentary on ‘The Ventures’, if you can believe it. It means so much to me that my kids did this,” he told People magazine at the time.
Wilson is survived by his four children, Jill, Tim, Cyd and Staci and his ex-wife Nancy Bacon.