YUBA, ARIZ. (CelebrityAccess) Nokie Edwards, 82, the influential guitarist of The Ventures, died at his home in Yuma, Ariz., March 12 after fighting an infection from hip surgery in December. Edwards helped countless guitarists learn their instruments through his melodic songs “Walk Don’t Run” and “Hawaii Five-O.”
“I believe in simplicity,” Edwards reportedly told an interviewer in 2001. “If you have a melodic line, people will like it. If you can hum it, you can have a hit.”
Edwards also wrote 1961’s “Surf Rider,” which was used in the movie “Pulp Fiction.”
Nole Floyd “Nokie” Edwards” was one of 12 children born to migrant fruit pickers who traveled from Lahoma, Okla., to Puyallup, Wash., by horse-drawn wagon. He met Seattle performers Don Wilson and Bob Bogle and started The Ventures in 1958. He soon began playing the little-known Mosrite guitar which, through him, became an essential piece of equipment throughout surf bands. He eventually created the HitchHiker guitar.
“He used to help companies like Fender, Roland and Carvin Audio with their instruments and equipment,” his wife, Judy Edwards, told the Los Angeles Times. “They’d ask him to check out their instruments and gear, and he’d tell them what they could do to make them better.”
Edwards was nominated for a Grammy for the 2004 album 20th Century Gospel, and nominated again for the followup, Southern Meets Soul.
He had built a second career as an actor, notably for a role in HBO’s “Deadwood.”