|Welcome to my Surfin' To Baja 2003 webpage. Here I
have posted photos taken February 3-7, 2003, aboard The Carnival Cruise
Ship Ecstasy, where fans of legendary instrumental group The Ventures, and
Los Straitjackets were treated to a 'musical feast' the likes that will
not soon be forgotten.
The Ventures featured Bob Bogle, Don Wilson, and Leon Taylor, joined by Nokie Edwards (an original Venture), John Durrill (Ventures keyboardist for 5 years), and Bob Spalding (often called The fifth Venture). This supergroup that has influenced so many musicians, and is considered to have helped spawn surf music, put on unbelievable shows, and were great about mingling with fans.
Los Straitjackets, fast becoming one of those acts that is destined to be a classic, wowed everyone with their skillful playing, colorful masks, and energetic fan base (and they gained brand new fans). Their creative performance of the Batman theme, literally brought the house down!
If that were not enough, superstar guest artists in their own right treated fans to some great music, including Alan White legendary drummer for Yes; Jeff Cook of the world famous group Alabama; and Roger Fisher, a founding member of rock and roll band Heart. Even Elvis Presley (well an Elvis impersonator that is) was on this cruise and put on a dynamite performance.
Beyond the great music, what really made it all so special were the fans. Fans simply could not get enough music from the featured acts, and guest artists, meaning every performance was filled to capacity. Fans also got to do what were called Ventures fan jams, meaning they actually got up on stage and performed. Personally, everyone I met was of the highest caliber, and should make The Ventures and Los Straitjackets proud to have such a fan base.
Members of The Ventures, Los Straitjackets, and Yes Drummer Alan White put on clinics, offering demonstrations and tips on guitar and drum technique.
The Ventures and Los Straitjackets also held a neat session where they told how they formed, and answered numerous fan questions.
Don Wilson celebrated a birthday, and Don's mom, Josie Wilson (who came up with the name The Ventures many years ago), was in the audience to wish her son well. How neat!
A highlight for me was a ten minute conversation with Don Wilson, which took place after The Ventures final performance. I was joined by Jan Poulsen from Denmark (who once took the group to dinner in Denmark), and a gentleman that knew Don for over 25 years. I recounted to Don how I had so enjoyed their performance five years prior at DAR Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C., as it featured The Ventures first drummer (General George T. Babbitt, USAF retired), The U.S. Air Force Band, and Singing Sergeants (note, you can see photos on my Ventures tribute webpage). What was even better was Mr. Wilson's graciousness in taking timeout to talk after a long and exhaustive 4 day extravaganza. Now I know why the Ventures' have stayed a force in the music industry all of these years!
I also wish to thank Leon Taylor for giving me a final evening performance drumstick (which I got autographed by everyone), to complement the one he gave me 5 years earlier.
Thanks must also go out to the event organizers including Jack DeFranco, Julia Meekins and husband Steve. Julia and I discussed the event in July of 2002, and she was enthusiastic about making it a success from the get-go. Steve, was just great, as he always made me (and I am sure every fan) feel like they were special. Even when putting in long hours, Jack, Julia, and Steve had a smile and kind word for all. So a big thanks!
Finally, thanks are in order to Fiona Taylor, Judy Edwards, Leon Taylor's wife, and anyone else that played such a crucial role in making this event a success.
Now onto the photos. They were taken using a Canon 35mm analog zoom lens camera and scanned. The scans do not possess the actual clarity and perhaps color balance of the original photos, but still, they look pretty good. If anyone 'must have' an original photo, I suppose I can try and accommodate, but hopefully the digitized scans will suffice.
I am putting the photos into several groupings, and thus on several different web pages. Follow the links below and click the thumbnails for enlarged photos.
Send any comments or questions to me at email@example.com.
Enjoy, and let's all hope for a repeat event in the future!
Click Pictures To Enlarge
|Group photo taken on-board The Ecstasy with The Ventures (and other guest musicians of note)||Carnival cruise ship Ecstasy docked off Catalina Island, California.||Carnival cruise ship Ecstasy docked off Catalina Island, California.||Photo of Ecstasy taken from ferry craft used to shuttle passengers to Catalina Island.||Avalon, Catalina Island.|
Follow these links for
|Surfin' To Baja Cruisers It takes two to tango to make a great event happen. In this case not only were the musicians in great form, but so were their devoted fans. Here are a handful of fan photos.|
|Venture's Fan Jam Venture's fans are great musicians in their own right. Check out photos of fans performing Venture's songs on the main stage, using equipment they brought, along with Venture's supplied equipment.|
|The Ventures In Concert! What you really came for, photos of Bob Bogle, Don Wilson, Leon Taylor, along with Nokie Edwards, John Durrill, and Bob Spalding rocking the ship down.|
|Los Straitjackets and Their boogying Fans! Damas Y Caballeros prepare to feast your eyes on photos of an instrumental super group!|
|Check out more photos and links at the
official Ventures website Surfin'
To Baja picture gallery.
Also, don't miss a great cruise narrative (and some great photos) by Venture's webmaster, Kirk Schutte, on the main cruise page.
|Also, don't miss my TuneFan website web tribute pages to The Ventures and Los Straitjackets.|
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