JOINED BAND: 1981
POSITION: Bass Guitar, Lead Guitar, Song Writer
Bob Spalding”s interest in the guitar stems back to the fifties when, like most other teenagers, his ear was caught by the early rock”n”roll performances of country guitarists such as Scotty Moore and Hank Garland. It was, however, the venomous power chords and more sinister sound of Link Wray in 1959 that first made the guitar really meaningful for him. By 1961 he was playing in a local band named The Delphies with his brother Perry and a couple of friends, performing mostly Duane Eddy instrumentals � “without the key changes” � he now confesses, but it was to be the arrival of The Ventures with their rather more sophisticated approach that really provided the spark and inspiration that fuelled his dreams and ambitions.
In 1962 Bob”s family was stationed in Japan with the US military and he was lucky enough to be one of few westerners to witness The Ventures” first tour of Japan as they appeared alongside Bobby Vee and Jo Ann Campbell. I don”t think they knew it then, but Don and Bob were the real headliners of that tour even though they appeared sandwiched between Campbell and Vee.”
In Japan he struggled with a few short-lived lessons on classical guitar, avidly listening and watching other guitarists to learn as much as he possibly could and making good progress. Towards the end of 1962 the family moved to Austin, Texas and Bob soon began playing professionally in the R&B bands that proliferated in that area. He would, however, always try to persuade them to play his preferred Ventures material. After a spell in Southern California while Bob undertook some college work, he returned to Austin in 1966 and then re-activated The Nomads, achieving considerable regional success with the band in central Texas.
In 1968, after military service, he returned to California to continue his college work. By night though he would be playing guitar, composing, and making demos using a small sound-on-sound recorder that allowed him to produce full-band tracks on his own. These brought him to the attention of a Hollywood publisher and producer who invited him to become part of a band that was just about to sign a record deal with Liberty. The band was Sweet Pain, a Crosby, Stills & Nash style group with fairly sophisticated vocal harmonies and instrumental arrangements. After recording two albums and one single with this band with an eponymous album released on Capitol Records during 1973, Sweet Pain disbanded and Bob returned to college to complete his degree course.
In 1972 Bob was working at a radio station when he received a call from Mel. Would he be interested in working with him on a solo album he was making for Don and Bob”s production company, and would he like to tour Japan as one of his backing band, The Dynamics? Bob”s response was “When do we leave?” Bob recorded two albums with Mel Taylor & The Dynamics, who included Gerry McGee on lead, Johnny Durrill on keys, and Bill Lincoln on bass. He also worked with Mel on some unreleased material recorded in 1973. When The Ventures began touring in the US again in 1979. As they passed through Austin during 1981, Bob was delighted to be able to re-new his friendship with the guys. The tour continued on, but midway through the dates an ailing Nokie Edwards was forced into the hospital for urgent treatment. Bob received a desperate telephone call from the band at two in the morning asking if he could fill the void. Don Wilson described it as “trial by fire” and Bob not only survived the ordeal but has been pretty much a fixture in The Ventures camp ever since.
In 1982 Bob moved back to Southern California so that he could concentrate on his work with The Ventures. Recording and occasionally touring with the band, as well as writing and arranging for them, has taken up much of the last twenty odd years. Check out the small print on those Ventures CDs and you will see that Bob has made significant contributions to Stars On Guitars, Southern All Stars 1 & 2, Seaside Story, At The Movies, Say Yes, Flying High, Mega Hits, New Depths, Walk Don”t Run 2000, Acoustic Album, Christmas Joy, and the recently released Your Hit Parade.
More information on Bob Spalding can be found at his web site: