Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday August 14th 2018

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The King of the Surf Guitar

Dick Dale plays Vinyl Music Hall
By Kate Peterson

Dick Dale has been wowing audiences with his searing guitar sound for over 50 years. He has 11 albums to date and is currently working on a country album with his son Jimmy Dale. Dick Dale and His Del-tones’ first album was “Surfers Choice” in 1962, which was recorded live in the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa, Calif.

Born in Boston, he moved with his family to California in 1954. He started playing guitar in public at local establishments and quickly gained popularity. Dale’s version of the song “Misirlou” was chosen by director Quentin Tarantino for the movie “Pulp Fiction”—it set the tone for the movie and is featured as the opening song on the movie’s trailer.

Dale and his band are currently on tour, and we had a chance to catch up with him at his hotel in New Orleans. He was preparing for his gig at Howlin’ Wolf, which he mentioned he has been playing for over 18 years.

While we were talking he was coordinating the delivery of a very special tuna sandwich from a nearby restaurant. Although he is primarily vegetarian, he has recently been including fish in his diet recently.

He has faced a number of health issues over the years, however. He was told by doctors that he should not tour and should not continue playing—but he just can’t do that.

Before we started our conversation and I launched into my preplanned list of questions, he stopped me and said, “Have you ever seen me play?” I had to say no. He said he normally does not conduct interviews with those who have not seen him play, but he said we could just talk and see what happens.

IN: You’ve been touring quite a bit recently. How is that going?
DALE: Yes, so many places in the last few weeks. This tour is very important; I am a fanatic about what’s out there. I have a clean lifestyle, and I want the same thing for my son, Jimmy Dale. I only hire people that are alcohol and drug free. It makes for a clean sound. We show everyone that you can be successful, in the rock-and-roll line of work, and not indulge in drugs, alcohol and tobacco. My son has been asked to play drums for so many major rock-and-roll bands, but it is not in the cards if the whole band is not clean. I am proud of what I am showing people.

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