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Author Topic: Dick Dale, Surf Rock king,Dead at 81  (Read 501 times)

Offline Steve Logan

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Dick Dale, Surf Rock king,Dead at 81
« on: March 18, 2019, 07:11:58 PM »
Dick Dale, who died Sunday at age 81, was born in Boston and raised in Quincy. As he swapped his cheap ukulele for his signature Fender Stratocaster, he began to synthesize a few styles: the music of his Lebanese relatives around Boston, the honky-tonk of Hank Williams, the primal pounding of Gene Krupa?s drums and boom of rock ?n? roll. Dale laid the foundation for his surf sound tinkering on instruments while at Quincy High School in the ?50s ? a combo you can clearly hear in his take on the Middle Eastern melody ?Misirlou.?

Of course it wasn?t until his family relocated to Southern California that he hit it big with the sound and ?60s singles like ?Let?s Go Trippin?? and a hit album ?Surfers? Choice.?

?My band got $8 an hour and all the Shirley Temples we could drink playing in an ice cream parlor,? Dale told me in 2014 before a gig at the Middle East in Cambridge. ?When I asked for a raise to $12 an hour, I was fired.?

Dale didn?t dismay. He quickly found work at an old jazz club in Balboa, Calif., doing anything he could to get bodies in the door. When the manager refused entry to the flip-flopped beach bums for not wearing ties, Dale and his dad bought a box of cheap ties and hung one around the neck of every surfer in line at the door.

Dale had some huge successes: a spot on ?The Edward Sullivan Show,? a feature in Life magazine and a cameo in the Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello film ?Beach Party.? And while the British Invasion killed off the surf fad, the guitarist, who influenced everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Eddie Van Halen, never gave up on championing the sound. He made comeback after comeback, finding a foothold in punk rock, rockabilly, swing and indie rock scenes ? the latter thanks to ?Misirlou? appearing in ?Pulp Fiction.?

Up until last fall, already into his 80s, Dale kept touring. Battling cancer and diabetes, he said he needed the money. But he also said he couldn?t give up the music.

?I inspire people,? he said. ?They see me and think, ?Hey, if he can do this, I can get over what I?m dealing with.??

?I?d rather be home watching ?Hawaii Five-0,?? he added with a chuckle. ?But I?ve been kept alive for a reason, and that?s to play for people who need to hear me. ? And as I travel, I become a rock ?n? roll Johnny Appleseed spreading seeds of hope for people struggling.?


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