Born 9 May 1939, Lahoma, Oklahoma Nokie Edwards was the bass player of the instrumental group the Ventures. He took a keen interest in playing the guitar at age five and by age eleven, he could play all string instruments. His first live radio performance was in the same year. A little later he played with the Grand Old Opry when they toured the Northwest in the late 1950's. Nokie went on to play with such well known artists as Buck Owens, Glen Campbell, Ferlin Husky and Lefty Frizzell to name a few. Edwards was playing lead for Buck Owens in Washington (State) when, in 1959, Don Wilson and Bob Bogle asked him to join and form a band, which they originally called The Versatones, but the name was soon changed to The Ventures. Originally based in Seattle (later in California), the group immediately hit with their first record, "Walk Don't Run" (# 2 US, # 8 UK), followed by "Perfidia" (# 15) and "Ram-Bunk-Shush" (# 29). On the covers of their first two albums, the group was pictured as a four- piece, consisting of co-leaders Bob Bogle on lead guitar and Don Wilson on rhythm, along with Nokie on bass and Howie Johnson on drums. But on the third album, "Another Smash", Edwards and Johnson were strangely not pictured or credited. The following "Colorful Ventures" LP (1961) had Edwards and Johnson named but not billed equally, nor pictured on the sleeve which showed just Don and Bob. This uncertainty about the status and tenure of Edwards and Johnson, plus subsequent album sleeves from the 1962-63 period which appeared coy about personnel detail, helped create a mild sense of mystery and intrigue. Behind the scenes, Edwards had departed to work with guitarist Gene Moles. Bogle and Wilson bridged the gap by using session guitarists David Gates, Billy Strange and Ervan "Bud" Coleman on recordings. Nokie remained in the picture however, and apparently the situation at that time was fairly flexible, with availability probably being the deciding factor on who was actually used. It seems likely that Nokie was dividing his time up between the Ventures and the Marksmen, led by Don Markham. Edwards left the Ventures in 1968, but returned in 1972. He left again in 1984 to pursue his own career, thus enabling him to play all styles of music. He has never lost his love for the Ventures sound or the Ventures themselves and still, to this day, performs with them occasionally. Official website: DVD : Nokie Edwards with AdVenture, Live At The Sunhouse (Rarity Records, Holland, released in 2003.)

These pages were originally published as "This Is My Story" in the
Yahoo Group "Shakin' All Over". For comments or information
please contact Dik de Heer at

-- Return to "This Is My Story" Index --