JOINED BAND: 1960
POSITION: Lead Guitar, Song Writer
Nokie Edwards (born Nole Edwards 9 May 1935, in Lahoma, Oklahoma), started playing guitar at a very early age. By his teens, he was working with Country-Western bands, including the Buck Owens band. He relocated to the Pacific Northwest, where he met Don Wilson and Bob Bogle, founders of The Ventures.
Edwards was hired by The Ventures, at first playing bass and occasional lead guitar on their earliest recordings. In 1962 following an 8-month absence from The Ventures, he returned, this time as the band”s official Lead Guitarist. Not long afterwards, the group replaced their original drummer, Howie Johnson, with Mel Taylor. The resulting classic Ventures 4-piece line-up of Bogle, Wilson, Taylor and Edwards released best-selling albums throughout the 1960″s. In 1968, Nokie left the band for the second time to pursue business in his other passion – thoroughbred race horses.
In 1969, Edwards began a solo recording career with albums released from 1969 through 1972. He returned again to The Ventures” line-up in 1972, remaining with the band until 1985, when he left again to pursue a recording career in Nashville. Bob and Don asked him if he really thought the move was in his best interest, but Nokie was set on his course, and worked for some time with David Frizzell and other Nashville-based country artists.
Since the 1990″s, Nokie has been involved with a number of Country-Western influenced projects, including recordings with Art Greenhaw and The Light Crust Doughboys of Texas: one such recording received a Grammy Award.
Towards the end of the 1990″s, The Ventures” promoters in Japan added a short tour in January of each year, in addition to the regular long summer tour. Nokie was asked to appear with The Ventures as “special guest” on Lead Guitar. Now, this has become the standard format for the winter Japan tour. Some of these shows have been recorded both on CD and DVD, including the “45th Anniversary DVD”, and an Instructional DVD featuring Nokie on lead.
Nokie has also appeared on many of The Ventures” new studio recordings, since 1999. He also plays on some of The Ventures” live dates in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to pursuing his own solo career.
In addition to live music performances and recordings, Nokie has also appeared in the acclaimed television series, “Deadwood”.
To some critics and fans, Nokie Edwards” best and most successful years were those he spent with The Ventures: 1960-61; 1962-68; 1972-85. His playing style is notable for its effortless musicality, and varied technical approaches: flatpick, finger-picked, and a hybrid of both styles – sometimes all in the same musical number. He can play any style with success but the discerning listener can hear his “California/country” roots in all his playing.
In addition to his solo career, Nokie once again tours with The Ventures today.
More information on Nokie can be found in his website: