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Dick and Jimmy Dale will play Hell’s Kitchen in Tacoma, tomorrow beginning at 9 p.m. YOU SHOULD BE THERE!December 8th, 2010 at Wed, 8th, 2010 at 6:14 pm by Shawn Skager
By all rights Dick Dale should be in the hospital.
With the possibility of renal failure hanging over his head, the side effects of his most recent fight with cancer, most people would think the 73-year-old “King of Surf Guitar” would just call it a day.
Those people don’t know shit about Dale.
Tomorrow night Dale will be doing what he does, what he’s done for the last half-century.
Rocking the house at Hell’s Kitchen in Tacoma, playing a split-set acoustic/electric live show with his 18-year-old son Jimmy Dale.
“They want me to go into the hospital and I told them I’d go in when I come back. I’ve got twenty clubs to fill, I’ll see you when I come back.”
Best known for his song “Miserlou” which was released in 1962, Dale pioneered the use of such guitar mainstays as reverb, percussive and staccato picking and the use of non-Western scales in his playing.
According to Dale, the genesis of his style came from trying to recreate the sounds he heard while surfing. Dale drew on the influence of his uncle, a Lebanese oud player, creating a primal music that struck a chord with the surfer crowd in the 1950s and 60s, as well as praise from musicians such as Jimi Hendrix.
Dale has toured consistently since his first album “Surfers’ Choice” was released in 1962, drawing multi-generational crowds.
Dale explained that it’s his influences, from nature to tribal music, that drive the creative process that makes the appeal of his music so broad.
“The reason we get such a range, I get kids from five, six, ten years old, is because a lot of musicians just play to the themselves,” Dale said. “They don’t play the way the average person counts. They count different.”
“The indigenous people, the natives, the indians, they always counted on the one,” he said. “Like the Zulu tribes. BOOM, chickabuka, chickabucka, chickabucka, BOOM, chickabuka, chickabucka, chickabucka. Like that. I play like Gene Krupa’s drums. On the one. I’m playing to the average person, I’m not trying to show off. It’s primal.”
And it’s been Dale’s ability to feed off that primal energy that has allowed him to keep touring through all these years.
“I always get tired of hearing people say, “I hate playing this song, or I hate playing here.” You’ve heard that right? I never get tired of playing any song. Because I do it different every night. I never play it the same way. I can’t understand why some guys talk like that. They just don’t want to play to the people or enjoy the show. Me I never get tired of it ever it’s brand new every night.”
Always a road warrior, Dale has also become a warrior of a different kind.
In 1967 Dale fought rectal cancer and won.
In 2008, however, he was again diagnosed with the Big C, this time a malignant tumor in his intestinal tract that required three hours of surgery to remove.
After care included several months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
“What happened was the radiation, I had to go every day Monday through Friday, and I had to get chemotherapy,” he said. “It just tore the shit out of me. I didn’t have drugs or booze in body. So I just had to go along with the pain. Well what happened was that for two years the radiation ate my colon and made fissures. They couldn’t find and didn’t know what it was.”
With holes in his colon leaking poison into his body, Dale’s kidney’s took the brunt of the attack.
“So I could go into renal failure,” he said. “My left kidney is shrunk to the size of a peach and doesn’t hold the urine. They want to go up and redo something with my prostrate.”
According to Dale, this round of dates, featuring his son, are promoting Fender’s new Jimmy Dale Signature Kingman SCE and Dick Dale Signature Malibu SCE acoustic/electric guitars both designed by their namesakes
“We’ve created a whole new thing where guitar players can play without getting a charley horse, or bad back from playing those eight inch wide acoustic guitars,” Dale said. “We’re promoting these guitars, the Jimmy Dale and Dick Dale. They’re only three-inches wide and they’ve got Fishman pickups in them, and a tuner. It’s made out of one wood also, so we’re saving trees. Usually they’re made out of two woods. But we’re cutting them out of all mahogany. The acoustic is electric, you plug them into the amp. You plug it into a Fender acoustic amp and we can play any time of music. You can play anything on them.”
With just a handful of dates left on the tour, Dale said the reaction has been gratifying.
“We’ve been doing great, it’s been incredible,” he said. “Jimmy’s been on stage with me, matching me note for note going nuts. It’s a whole different thing. I’ve got one part where I’m playing and the other where Jimmy is playing with me. It’s like being in a living room. They’ve been giving us standing ovations all through the show.”
Dick Dale and Jimmy Dale will play Hell’s Kitchen at 9 p.m. tomorrow, supported by The Fucking Eagles and Rat City Brass. The Gritty City Sirens Burlesque troupe will also be on hand and there will be a raffle to win a Fender Malibu guitar.
Tickets are $20 for the 21+ show and available at Rocket Records, at the Hell’s Kitchen door or online at ticketweb.com.