skip to main content
Today So Far Newsletter
caption: Bob Spalding, left, and Don Wilson of The Ventures perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in New York, March 10, 2008. Don Wilson (right) was the co-founder and rhythm guitarist of the instrumental guitar band The Ventures.
Enlarge Icon
Bob Spalding, left, and Don Wilson of The Ventures perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in New York, March 10, 2008. Don Wilson (right) was the co-founder and rhythm guitarist of the instrumental guitar band The Ventures.
Credit: Jason DeCrow / Associated Press

The Ventures' mark on NW music history: Today So Far

  • Washington runs out of free Covid tests shortly after new website goes live.
  • Should it be illegal to sell/use a fake vaccine card?
  • Why Don Wilson and The Ventures were so important to Northwest music history.

This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for Jan. 24, 2022.

On Friday, Washington launched a new effort to send free at-home Covid tests to residents across the state. Over the weekend, the state ran out. Washington is aiming to send out 3 million free Covid tests, but it turns out, the state only had about 650,000 on hand. So this morning, if you tried to order the tests through the state's website, you got a message that there was an "overwhelming response" over the past couple days. More details in our pandemic blog.

I checked in with the Department of Health this morning and while officials "did anticipate that the need for test kits would exceed the state’s supply fairly quickly," they wanted to get out what they had sooner than later. DOH doesn't have a date for when new tests will arrive in Washington, but does expect more "soon." When that happens, DOH will begin taking more orders for free Covid tests.

I should note that Washington's free Covid test effort is separate from the federal program that is sending free tests through the postal service. Those will start mailing soon.

Getting Covid tests has been a challenge recently with many stores selling out fast. In fact, warehouse workers for Seattle Public Schools had to drive for hours through ice and snow just to get a supply of 60,000 tests for students and staff.

In related pandemic news, Washington lawmakers are considering making it illegal to sell or use fake vaccine cards. Think of it this way: It's illegal to show a fake ID to get into a bar; now it could become illegal to show a fake vaccine card to get into a restaurant, theater, etc. when vaccination is required. Read more details here.

The Ventures

Finally, one of the first records I remember listening to (kids, ask your parents what a vinyl record is) was an album by The Ventures (kids, now ask your parents what an album is). This band was among a handful that defined surf rock as it emerged in the 1960s. As a kid, I always imagined The Ventures were making their guitars sing on a sunny beach in California. I was surprised to find out that those influential sounds came from two bricklayers in Tacoma.

This weekend, we lost cofounder Don Wilson who passed away in Tacoma at age 88. His musical partner and the other Ventures founder Bob Bogle passed away in 2009. I could go on and on about their influence on music and pop culture, which earned them a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In short, they were the force behind hits like "Walk Don't Run" or the Hawaii Five-0 theme song. A few years ago, KUOW acknowledged them among the top 10 songs that define Washington music history.

The surf rock scene has come in waves, radiating out from that first 1950s vibe. While Bogle and Wilson have entered the pipeline into the great beyond, the influence of The Ventures continues to this day — whether you're listening to a Pixies song or attending festivals like Surf by Surfwest in Seattle. And if you're looking for a modern example, I recommend The Seatopians, The Evanstones, or the Cosmic Wrays — just a handful of Northwest surf bands cranking out new tunes today.

Before Jimi changed guitar music, and before "grunge" was all the rage, the Ventures were among the first to show the world that the Northwest had some musical chops to show off.

Have a comment or want to reach out to me? Send me an email at dyer@kuow.org.

There’s plenty more we’re reporting. Check KUOW.org for more headlines throughout the day.

AS SEEN ON KUOW

caption: Washingtonians Corinne Stoddard, third from left, of Federal Way and Eunice Lee, third from right, of Bellevue punched their tickets to Beijing at the 2022 U.S. Olympic Short Track Speedskating Team Trials in December.
Enlarge Icon
Washingtonians Corinne Stoddard, third from left, of Federal Way and Eunice Lee, third from right, of Bellevue punched their tickets to Beijing at the 2022 U.S. Olympic Short Track Speedskating Team Trials in December.
Credit: Courtesy US Speedskating

DID YOU KNOW

The Seattle area is on the cutting edge of the future, according to a recent assessment from the brains over at CommercialCafe, which considered the top 30 "cutting-edge U.S. metros."

Seattle ranks sixth on this list, which ranks cities on the "cutting edge of city development." What does that mean? Well, 93.03% of our households have broadband internet access (which is the second highest percentage in the nation). Also, 12.6% of the jobs around Seattle are in the tech sector, including green tech (a considerable factor in the rankings). A total of 15.64% of our businesses are startups. And the Seattle area also boasts 7.6% of residences with EV access.

Boulder, Colo. tops the list of cutting-edge cities, overtaking Silicon Valley in second place. You can read more about the rankings here.

Subscribe to Today So Far here