JOINED BAND: 1968
POSITION: Lead Guitar, Song Writer
Gerald James McGee, known as Gerry McGee, was born in Eunice, Louisiana on November 17, 1937, into a very musical Cajun family. His father, Dennis McGee, was a pioneer of Cajun music, and was making records as a Cajun fiddler as far back as the 1920″s and 1930″s. He continued playing until shortly before his death, well into his 90″s.
In his early teens, Gerry began to play guitar. He lists his influences as Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Snow, Chet Atkins, Lefty Frizzel, Guitar Slim and B.B. King. He developed his own style influenced by his Cajun roots.
Gerry moved to Los Angeles in 1960 and began working on recording sessions shortly thereafter. He spent some time in the early 1960s doing studio work in New York City, but returned to Los Angeles in 1965. During this time, he worked with Mel Taylor”s brother, Larry Taylor (the Mole from Canned Heat). Gerry was a very sought-after musician for recordings at that time, and has an impressive list of credits. He played guitar on many of the early Monkees” albums, did sessions with Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, and others.
Gerry”s work also includes movie and TV credits, appearing in “A Star is Born” with Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Streisand, “Heaven”s Gate”, and “Convoy”. On TV, he has appeared in a number of shows, including the miniseries “North and South”, and the long- running show “L.A. Law”. Gerry has also scored music for movies, as well as appearing in them as an actor and musician.
In 1968, Gerry joined The Ventures and toured with them in the U.S. and Japan. For the next 5 years, he also participated in writing and composing some of the most popular and acclaimed Ventures” original songs that achieved huge success in Japan, most notably “Kyoto Doll”, “Reflections in a Palace Lake” and “Strangers in Midosuji”. The Ventures were given the Japanese Grand Prix award for their contribution to Japanese music, based on the tremendous popularity with these hits (which are still found in almost every karaoke bar in Japan).
Gerry left the group in 1972 and, during the next decade or so, continued his career recording and touring with John Mayall, Kris Kristofferson and Dwight Yoakum among other artists. In 1985, he returned to The Ventures and has been touring and recording with them ever since, in addition to his acting and writing activities.
Since 1990, Gerry has recorded over 20 studio CDs with The Ventures, as well as numerous live albums and DVDs. He has also released several solo albums in Japan and continues to compose and score film music.