Dick Dale, Ghostrider of Surf

There's a first time for everything, and this was the first time for me to see and hear Dick Dale perform live on stage. On the memorable date of September 11, 2002, we went to the 013 Club in Tilburg, Holland, to check out the King of the Surf Guitar, and we weren't disappointed. Expecting to see an old timer, we were surprised by Dick's appearance and energy. His lively show hasn't aged a day since Miserlou. It's hard to believe there were only 3 guys on that stage. A drummer (who was hitting so hard and fast, our feet couldn't keep up), a bass player (who knew precisely how to react on Dick's improvisations) and the master himself on guitar.

At some point I was wondering where the trumpet was, that can be heard on many of Dick's recordings. Was I surprised when Dick got handed a trumpet and played it fabulously himself. Only 3 three guys, and what a sound! Dick played all my favourites, as if I had asked him to do so. "House Of The Rising Sun" (from his fabulous live album "The Tiger's Loose"), "Pipeline", a super rendition of "Riders In The Sky", the best ever version of "Fever", his classic hit "Miserlou", and his own interpretation of Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water" from his new CD "Spacial Disorientation". During this song, Dick stepped off stage and walked his way through the audience, while he kept on playing his Fender Stratocaster.

A true showman, a musician who plays from the heart, and the crowd loved him. Jimmi Hendrix' tremendous "Third Stone From The Sun", from Dick's album "Calling Up Spirits" is still echoing through my head. I must say it was awfully crowded at the men's room when Dick played some accoustic songs from his latest album, starting with "Belo Horizonte". I guess his fans (including myself) rather hear him play his surfrock songs. It was surely heartwarming to see how much Dick loves his audience, signing autographs on stage after the show. It surely was a night to remember, and Dick Dale really still is the only "King of the Surf Guitar". -- The BlackCat--

Dick Dale signing autographs after
 the gig at the 013 Club in Tilburg

Surf rock guitarist Dick Dale was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1937 but relocated to Southern California in the late '50s, where he began fronting a band called The Deltones, considered the first surf rock group. Dale's reverb-laden instrumentals such as "Miserlou" and"Let's Go Trippin'" won over fans during the early '60s, but were quickly overshadowed by the pop success of the Beach Boys. During the mid-'60s Dale developed intestinal cancer and was forced to undergo extensive surgery, ending his musical career; though he retained a cult following, few remembered Dick Dale and the Deltones.

In the late 1980s Dale attempted a comeback, performing "Pipeline" with guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan in the movie "Back to the Beach", but he remained as obscure as ever until 1994, when his 1962 hit "Miserlou" was featuredin the film "Pulp Fiction" and its hit soundtrack. Combined with Dale's renown in the growing underground garage/surf rock scene, "Pulp Fiction" restarted his career. Several compilations of older material were released, and Dale recorded several new albums as well. The ever-energetic Dick Dale, known for his twangy Fender and exotic home beastiary, continues to tour into his sixth decade, playing to fans young and old.

Better Shred Than Dead: The Dick Dale Anthology

Better Shred Than Dead: The Dick Dale Anthology is the first and only multi-disc overview of the Stratocaster-shredder's colorful career. Compiled and produced with the artist's direct involvement, it spans August 1959-August 1996, and features 39 tracks from the Del-Tone, Capitol, Cougar, Balboa, KRLA, Columbia, HighTone, and Beggar's Banquet labels. With almost two hours of music, the two CDs trace the evolution of the singular Dick Dale sound from his original "King of the Surf Guitar" heyday (Disc 1, 1950s-'60s) to his more contemporary "Sultan of Shred" era (Disc 2, 1980s - '90s).

All of Dale's singles plus the choicest album tracks and live cuts are featured, plus rarities like "In-Liner (Surf Beat '97)," a raging 1996 track previously available only on Rocket Science Games' Rocket JockeyTM CD-ROM game; "Niterider 6" from the 1996 Beggar's Banquet promo sampler This Ain't No Sippin' Tea; and Dick's famous 1987 shred-fest with fellow Strat-slinger Stevie Ray Vaughan on "Pipeline" from Back To The Beach. Better Shred Than Dead also includes extensive new liner notes by former Steve Miller Band guitarist Greg Douglass (which feature an exclusive new Dick Dale interview) plus track-by-track notes scribed by L.A. radio legend and surf music aficionado Jim Pewter (one of the first DJs to play a Dick Dale record on the West Coast).

Dick Dale Discograhpy:

Lets Go Trippin b/w Del-Tone Rock (Deltone 1961)
Jungle Fever b/w Shake-n-Stomp (Deltone 1961)
Miserlou b/w Eight Till Midnight (Deltone 1962)
Secret Surfin' Spot b/w Surfin' And Swingin' (Capitol 1963)
Lets Go Trippin' '65 b/w Watusi Jo (Capitol 1965)

Surfers' Choice (Deltone 1962)
King of the Surf Guitar (Capitol 1963)
Checkered Flag (Capitol 1963)
Mr. Eliminator (Capitol 1964)
Summer Surf (Capitol 1964)
The Tiger's Loose (Balboa, 1983)
Tribal Thunder (HighTone 1993)
Unknown Territory (Hightone 1994)
Calling Up Spirits (Beggars Banquet 1996)
Better Shred Than Dead (Rhino 1997)
Tiger Tracks (Sharktown Records, 1999)
Spacial Disorientation (Dick Dale Records 2001)

Compilations and Soundtracks:
Hot Rod Music on Capitol (Capitol 1963)
The Big Surfin' Sounds on Capitol (Capitol 1964)
Rock 'n' Roll at the Capitol Tower (Capitol 1977)
King of the Surf Guitar: The Best of Dick Dale (Rhino 1986)
Pulp Fiction Soundtrack (MCA 1994)

Official Dick Dale Website: