THE VENTURES: STARS ON GUITARS Review — A Daughter’s Labor of Love Results in an Epic Rock Doc

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The Ventures: Stars on Guitars review — A stylish rock doc that tells the astonishing story of the birth of a genre, and how it influenced some of the great guitarists of our time.

The Ventures: Stars on GuitarsIf the mention of the rock group The Ventures doesn’t immediately bring to mind epic surf guitar songs like “Wipeout” and “Hawaii 5-O,” ask Alexa to play them immediately. And while you’re at it, have her play “Perfidia” and “Walk Don’t Run” as well. I dare you not to start dancing, with happy visions of long boards, crew cuts and big haired girls in ample bikinis in your head.

What you didn’t know about the group that made these songs national treasures is that The Ventures began as a small local band in Tacoma, WA., then soared to worldwide chart-topping highs and induction into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the #1 Bestselling Instrumental Rock Group of all time. Who knew?

Staci Layne Wilson knew. She’s the daughter of Don Wilson who, along with Bob Bogle, founded the group back in 1959. Staci, a gifted filmmaker whose name you’ll recognize as a trusted film critic here on At Home in Hollywood, has written, directed and produced a documentary that chronicles the rise and influence of the electric guitar as played and innovated by her dad, Bogle and lead guitarist Nokie Edwards. At last all that hard labor has come to fruition in a fascinating rock doc — The Ventures: Stars on Guitars.

It’s filled with fascinating facts (did you know The Ventures were HUGE in Japan and outsold the Beatles there 2:1?), humorous stories and poignant memories. Staci not only interviewed her dad, the last member of the group still standing, but also Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (Steely Dan), Lalo Schifrin (Academy Award winning composer of The Mission Impossible theme), John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival), Marky Ramone and Billy Bob Thornton, among many others. She also included bites from female stars like Liz Brasher, The Surfrajettes, The Neptunas, and Ruiko of The Whys.

The Ventures: Stars on Guitars reveals why Rolling Stone called the band “one of the most influential guitar-based bands of their era,” and also why you (or your parents) start grooving every time the twangy strains of their signature style wafts into a room.

The Ventures: Stars on Guitars premieres February 12 at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival in Los Angeles, where it was recently named Best Documentary. After that, you can see it April 9 at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend, and August 21 at Vegas Cinefest International Film Festival. Staci reports that it should be on DVD and streaming by the end of the year. We’ll keep you posted.

The Ventures: Stars on Guitars review — A stylish rock doc that tells the astonishing story of the birth of a genre, and how it influenced some of the great guitarists of our time.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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