*** Saturday, April 21 – Dick Dale with Cutback and Skinny Jimmy and the Stingrays at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. (561) 832-9999. Ages 18 and older welcome. Tickets $20 in advance online at Slammie.MusicToday.com and by phone at (800) 594-TIXX, $25 at the door, 8 p.m. Facebook event
*** Sunday, April 22 – Dick Dale with Charlie Pickett, Skinny Jimmy and the Stingrays, Enough, Heartline Fits and Turboretardo at Churchill’s Pub, 5501 N.E. Second Ave., Miami. (305) 757-1807. Tickets $20 in advance online at Slammie.MusicToday.com and by phone at (800) 594-TIXX, $25 at the door, 8 p.m. Facebook event
By Jim “Hurricane” Hayward
Every year when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces its latest inductees, I immediately look to see if some of the great, influential legends are finally getting their due. Tops on this list of the criminally unrecognized is the King of the Surf Guitar, Dick Dale.
Unfortunately, the Hall is typically relegated to honoring the popular favorites, platinum selling bands with egos as big as their paychecks and entourage. Rarely is someone recognized for true musical achievement, especially if they buck the rock establishment.
So as 74-year-old Dick Dale rolls into town this weekend – perhaps driving the van himself and accompanied by wife Lana, son Jimmy, bassist Sam Bolle and small crew – we need to treasure his legendary status. Catch his shows Saturday and Sunday and witness a marvel on stage. Then line up at the merch table, where he still greets every fan who’s interested in meeting him after every show.
No, they don’t make ’em like Dick Dale anymore. Here then are seven reasons why he needs to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1. He invented surf music. In the 1950s, before the Beach Boys, there was Dick Dale. He was a surfer himself and wanted his music to reflect the sounds he heard in his head while surfing. He was given the title “King of the Surf Guitar” by his fellow surfers.
2. He’s the grandfather of heavy metal guitar. At Dale’s request, Leo Fender custom-made the first 100-watt amplifier. He’s also one of the first electric guitarists to employ fast playing scales. And he often plays by reaching over the fretboard rather than wrapping his fingers up from underneath, another hallmark of metal players decades later.
3. He’s also responsible for the creation of “Fender Tank Reverb,” an invention he and Leo Fender came up with so that as he sang, he was able to sustain his vocal notes. Later, Dale plugged his Fender Stratocaster into the Reverb Tank to sustain his guitar notes, which became his trademark sound, copied by nearly everyone who plays instrumental surf music.
4. Because of the popularity of his signature playing, Fender added the Dick Dale Signature Stratocaster to it custom line for the millions of guitarists who wanted to play like Dale.
5. He’s been playing incendiary concerts for more than 50 years, dazzling audiences all over the globe. His longevity is nothing short of amazing, and when you see him play you’ll understand why. He’s not riding a nostalgia wave. He’s the real deal.
6. Among his many admirers was Jimi Hendrix, not a shabby guitarist himself, who paid tribute to Dale in the song Third Stone from the Sun. Both guitarists play left-handed, but Dale plays his upside-down while Hendrix played a restrung guitar right-side-up.
7. He was nominated for a Grammy for his 1987 performance on the song Pipeline with another not-too-shabby guitarist, Stevie Ray Vaughan.
So what do you say, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? This honor is way past due.