by Harold Pick
(Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
Mel Taylor is best-known as the long-time drummer for the instrumental rock group The Ventures. While not the original drummer, his tenure spanned from the 60's to the mid-90's covering the period when The Ventures were selling millions of records world-wide.
The Ventures had a successful strategy for their albums of mixing cover tracks of then-current hit songs with original tracks. Mel consistently captured and enhanced the groove on the cover tunes and laid down solid and imaginative rhythms on the original compositions.
Just as the The Ventures are cited as a major influence by many famous rock guitarists, it would also be true that Mel influenced the drummers.
Before joining The Ventures, Mel was a session drummer in Los Angeles. (He is the drummer on "The Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett.)
In the early 70's he briefly fronted his own band "Mel Taylor and The Dynamics."
After he passed away in 1996, his son Leon quite capably filled his spot in The Ventures.
For anyone not already familiar with Mel's work with The Ventures, some suggested albums are:
"The Ventures Knock Me Out"
"The Ventures A-Go-Go"
"Walk Don't Run '64"
"Let´s Go!" (which contains an excellent cover of the The Surfaris "Wipeout")