A Dick Dale concert is always the best way to celebrate another year of The Atomic Grog

Dick Dale: April 25 at Grand Central in Miami. Click here to buy tickets online.

Dick Dale  at Grand Central on April 25

When last year’s South Florida dates of the triumphant comeback tour featuring the King of the Surf Guitar, Dick Dale, coincided with the one-year anniversary of The Atomic Grog in April, it was certainly cause for celebration. But it also created a dilemma: What to do for an encore?

Well, the legendary ax slinger has made it easy. He’s coming back to Florida, and The Atomic Grog is happy to be promoting his April 25 date at Grand Central in Miami. As a result, we’ll celebrate our second anniversary in surfin’ style.

The 75-year-old Dale is not only a living legend of rock ‘n’ roll but he’s also a hero for cancer survivors and a shining example of persevering in the face of adversity. In 2008, he battled cancer that attacked his intestinal tract. Then in 2009, he faced complications that put him back in the hospital and kept him off the road indefinitely. But an inspiring comeback in 2010 with his son and bandmate Jimmy Dale led to a full-blown tour that blew the doors off of The Vagabond in Miami and Respectable Street in West Palm Beach that June.

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‘Mai-Kai Mixer’ shakes up South Florida with rockin’ retro cocktail party

Updated June 16, 2012
See below: See exclusive photos from the bash

Related: Cocktail flights soar at Mai-Kai Mixer, reveal revolutionary use of rums
Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide | Rums of The Mai-Kai

The Mai-Kai’s Molokai bar was jumping on Saturday night, June 9, as an eclectic mix of cocktailians, Tiki enthusiasts, retro hipsters, and surf music fans gathered for The Atomic Grog’s first Mai-Kai Mixer.

Atomic Grog Mai-Kai Mixer

Doors opened at 4:30 for Saturday’s early happy hour, and dozens of Mai-Kai faithful queued up early for exclusive flights of the Fort Lauderdale Polynesian palace’s legendary cocktails. DJ Mike “Jetsetter” Jones got the festivities in high gear with his wide-ranging playlist of retro party music, and up-and-coming surf band Skinny Jimmy & The Stingrays nearly blew the doors off the place. The party went full-throttle until the midnight hour.

The event was held to celebrate the The Atomic Grog’s 52 weeks of Mai-Kai cocktail reviews and the recent reintroduction of a classic rum to the 55-year-old restaurant’s acclaimed drink menu.

The rum cocktail flights sold out quickly as more than 30 signed up to taste sample versions of three vintage drinks featuring Lemon Hart Demerara rum. Several hundred filtered through the bar throughout the evening for happy hour – which ran until 7 p.m. – and two high-octane sets from Deerfield Beach’s Skinny Jimmy & The Stingrays.

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Florida at forefront of surf rock’s contemporary renaissance

Since its birth in the early 1960s, surf music seems to arrive in waves roughly every 15 years. And just as Florida surfers have played second fiddle to California, so have the Sunshine State’s surf bands. But it’s surely not due to lack of talent or effort.

Dr. James E. Cunningham talks surf rock
Dr. James E. Cunningham talks surf rock. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

As a fourth wave washes over us, music scholars are beginning to examine the history of this phenomenon that never seems to die. During the climax of an exhibit of surf culture at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton this month, an ethnomusicologist put Florida’s role into perspective during an hour-long lecture, “Surf Rock and the Music of the ‘Right’ Coast.”

“Surf rock isn’t just some fad that appeared and has lasted through the years,” said Dr. James E. Cunningham, an associate professor in FAU’s Department of Music. “It’s followed trends in technology throughout its existence.”

Cunningham floated his theory that surf rock’s peaks in popularity, and its so-called revivals, also coincided with breakthroughs in technology. He points to advances in surfboard technology, guitar and guitar amp technology, and even the media (radio, television, the Internet) that paralleled the music’s booms.

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Concert review: Dick Dale’s comeback revs into overdrive

Dick Dale: April 21 at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach, April 22 at Churchill’s Pub in Miami. See below: Video, photos from both shows

Concert reviews by Jim Hayward

Just two years ago, it was unclear if legendary guitarist Dick Dale would ever tour again. Now in his 70s, the man who invented surf music more than 50 years ago was battling complications in 2010 after a bout with cancer in 2008.

Dick Dale at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach, April 21, 2012.
Dick Dale at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach, April 21, 2012.

Then, miraculously, his health improved. He and his son Jimmy began playing acoustic sets, and by early 2011 plans were moving rapidly toward a limited touring schedule. Soon, the concept of “limited” flew out the window and Dale’s tour last spring and summer included six dates in Florida. The South Florida shows last June were nothing short of incredible [See review].

But rather than tire and grow weary on the road, Dale got stronger. “You’re my medicine,” he would tell the audience after his concerts, showing no signs of his frail health. Dale also clearly benefited from his clean-living lifestyle and years of physical fitness. His wife, Lana, also keeps him on track as his physical and spiritual caretaker.

More touring followed, and when 2012 rolled around he announced a rigorous 50-date jaunt across the country with not much down time. This time, there were nine Florida dates, including back-to-back nights in West Palm Beach and Miami on April 21-22. Would Dale and his band be showing any signs of rust or weariness? We would soon find out.

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South Florida welcomes Dick Dale this weekend, but when will the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Dick Dale in South Florida

*** 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

Previous posts: Nothing can stop surf guitar king Dick Dale
The Atomic Grog celebrates first anniversary with the return of Dick Dale

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.

Dick Dale is the undisputed master of the surf guitar
Dick Dale is the undisputed master of the surf guitar.

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.

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Got Tiki trepidation? Here’s a Hukilau survival guide

The 2012 Hukilau will be held Thursday through Sunday, April 19-22, at The Mai-Kai and several Fort Lauderdale beachside hotels. Official sites: TheHukilau.com | Facebook

The Hukilau

To the uninitiated, this week’s avalanche of Tiki culture, retro art and music, rum drinks and revelry may be a bit over the top. To the devotees, it’s a Polynesian paradise come to life. If you’re not quite clued in to what’s going on, it can be a bit overwhelming.

But the best part about The Hukilau and all the related events happening this week in and around Fort Lauderdale is that it’s set up like a buffet. You can sample as little or as much as you like. Just make sure to have a designated driver if you’re really going for the gusto. Below is a daily rundown on what to expect and a little guidance from a veteran. Or Click here for the full schedule. TheHulilau.com also offers these tips from the natives.

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Nothing can stop surf guitar king Dick Dale

Previous post: The Atomic Grog celebrates first anniversary with the return of Dick Dale

Not only is Dick Dale considered “King of the Surf Guitar” and one of the most influential musicians to ever pick up the instrument, he’s also a living testament to perseverance in the face of adversity.

Dick Dale in South Florida

The 74-year-old legend has carved out a long and storied career on his own terms, never bowing to the whims of the music industry. This might be the only reason the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame has not yet come knocking. But Dale has not only fought for his independence, he’s fought for his life. And won.

Fending off cancer more than once, Dale gives us many reasons to admire his relentless tenacity. And to pay homage when he comes to South Florida next month for two area concerts: Saturday, April 21, at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach; and Sunday, April 22, at Churchill’s Pub in Miami. [See all the show info below]

Consider the obstacles Dale has had to overcome in his more than 50-year career:

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The Atomic Grog celebrates it’s first anniversary in April with the return of Dick Dale

Updated April 2

This is the 100th posting on The Atomic Grog. It’s been nearly 10 months since the blog launched in late April 2011 with high hopes for bringing the coolest retro classic music to South Florida, along with intensive coverage of events, music, art, cocktails and culture.

Dick Dale at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach, June 13, 2011.
Dick Dale at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach, June 13, 2011.

It was a whirlwind of activity right from the start. We competed against some of the world’s top mixologists in the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, helped organize the 10th annual Hukilau for hundreds of the world’s most devoted Tiki aficionados, then presented two concerts by surf guitar king Dick Dale.

With our first anniversary (along with another Rum Renaissance and Hukilau) fast approaching, we’re thrilled to also announce the return of Dick Dale, the 74-year-old legend who has shrugged off cancer and diabetes to continue to amaze fans worldwide with his groundbreaking guitar playing and impeccable live shows.

Dale will again be performing back-to-back nights in South Florida, this time on Saturday-Sunday, April 21-22. You can catch him at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach on April 21, and at Churchill’s Pub in Miami on April 22. Advance tickets are $20 plus service fees. They will be $25 the day of the show.

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Dick Dale and Laramie Dean shred all doubts on recent tour

Dick Dale and Laramie Dean: Sunday, June 12, at The Vagabond in Miami
Monday, June 13, at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach.
See below: Photos from both shows

Laramie Dean at Respectable Street.
Laramie Dean at Respectable Street.

Concert reviews by Jim Hayward

The much-anticipated return to South Florida by surf guitar god Dick Dale was fraught with question marks.

Could guitarist Laramie Dean, a 30-something-year-old Dale disciple with big dreams but not a lot of experience on a national level, pull off a three-week coast-to-coast tour with no booking agent or tour manager?

Would all the young musicians joining forces for the tour – most notably Dale’s 19-year-old son Jimmy, drumming for both his dad and Laramie – be able to quickly come together as a unit and rise to the standards expected of them?

And, most critically, would the 74-year-old Dale be able to withstand the rigors of the road after years of health issues (he’s battling both diabetes and cancer)?

Jimmy Dale, drummer for both Dick Dale and Laramie Dean, at The Vagabond.
Jimmy Dale, drummer for both Dick Dale and Laramie Dean, at The Vagabond.

All of these concerns proved to be unfounded in the wake of the recent tour that sold out clubs across the country and undoubtedly left many eardrums still ringing. If the two South Florida dates are any indication, touring is the best medicine for the ailing guitar legend. Dale’s performances left no doubt about his abilities. He appeared spry and gregarious on stage and off, signing autographs and meeting fans late into the night.

As for Laramie and his surrounding cast, these guys performed like a well-oiled machine. And Jimmy Dale? The sky’s the limit for this kid. On the road for just a week, the bands blew into South Florida for a two night stand:

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Dick Dale, playing the tour of his life, hits South Florida

Dick Dale and Laramie Dean play The Vagabond in Miami tonight and Respectable Street in West Palm Beach on Monday. Complete show info below.

News: Guitar master having the time of His life at 74 (ATLRetro)
Related: What makes Dick Dale the ‘King’? | Tour was 7 years in the making

Dick Dale destroys the Continental Club

By all accounts, surf guitar legend Dick Dale is just now hitting his stride at age 74. A reviewer of his Houston show last week was simply awestruck:

“He prowled the stage like a man possessed as he worked his way through an impromptu sampling of his massive catalog … that seared the heavens.”

“Dale is far more than a living history lesson of where our favorite music comes from. He is the ultimate showman. His first trick was beginning the show from offstage, as he stood at the bottom of the stage stairs wailing on his Strat to announce his presence. And his singalong of House of the Rising Sun was the loudest crowd singing we’ve ever heard at a Houston gig.”

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