Local scene: Surf guitar king Dick Dale still riding wave of popularity

2013-07-12T00:00:00Z Local scene: Surf guitar king Dick Dale still riding wave of popularityTom Lounges Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 12, 2013 12:00 am  • 

When film director Quentin Tarantino used Dick Dale’s 1962 instrumental rock classic “Misirlou” to open up his 1994 cult classic, “Pulp Fiction,” the surf guitar god was introduced to a whole new generation of fans not born when he released his 1960 debut LP, “Surfer’s Choice.”

Dale rode that second wave of fame like a big kahuna in the two decades since and brings his live show to an all ages audience at Smith’s Downtown Bar (110 Lincolnway East)in Mishawaka Sunday. Show info: (574) 255-2227.

After years away from recording studios, Dale’s rebirth in popularity gave way to new critically acclaimed albums like “Tribal Thunder” (1994), “Unknown Territory”(1995), “Calling Up Spirits” (1997), and his latest release, “Spacial Disorientation.” Moviemakers have likewise followed Tarantino’s lead by using Dale’s music in such films as “Escape From L.A.,” “Space Jam,” “Kid In King Arthur’s Court,” “The Heavyweights,” “Barbed Wire,” and “American Vampire.”

When MTV’s “Beavis and Butt-head” aired the video for Dale’s song “Nitro” from the “Tribal Thunder” album, it became a big hit with snow-boarders. Overnight, the man who gave birth to the ‘60s surf music scene was hip all over again with the X-Treme Sports loving children and grandchildren of his original wave-riding fans.

“I never wanted to tour early on because I never wanted to leave my family and my animals,” said Dale, who has studied veterinary medicine and who has tended to some 40 species of exotic animals, including lions and ocelots saved from poachers. “Now I just can’t seem to stop. I often bring my family with me now.”

While having earned his stripes in the 1960s, Dale had stayed under the radar during the 1970s and 1980s, except when he famously swapped licks with Stevie Ray Vaughan on Dale’s classic hit “Pipeline,” in the otherwise forgettable 1987 Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello film, “Back To The Beach.”

Although he long ago reached “senior citizen” status, the 76-year-old Dale has not slowed down the pace of his show. “I play until I’m ready to drop," he said of his often two-hour performances. “I’m not going to retire to a rockin’ chair. When I do go, it’ll be up there on stage in one big explosion of body parts,” he joked.

Those who only know Dale through his “Pulp Fiction” exposure are advised to seek out the 1997 Rhino Records set, “Better Shred Than Dead: The Dick Dale Anthology.” More: www.dickdale.com


• Local rockers Ripley Street will perform an unplugged set of classic rock covers and original songs from their CDs in the beer garden at the Tilted Kilt Car Wash and Parking Lot Party on Sunday (noon to 4 p.m.) Tilted Kilt (1605 Southlake Mall Dr.) in Merrillville is donating the proceeds from the car wash to the Humane Society of Northwest Indiana who will have adoptable animals on site. The Merrillville Kilt’s own 2015 national calendar model “Destinee” will be signing autographs and taking photos with patrons. More: (219) 736-1977.

• In Porter, Best Buddies Pet Pantry and the Humane Society of Calumet Area will be ridin’ and rockin’ at Leroy’s Hot Stuff (333 West U.S. Hwy. 20) with a motorcycle run from 1-4 p.m. (registration 11-noon) followed by a post-party with live music by The Greg Hundt Band and Upside Down & Backwards. More: www.bestbuddiespetpantry.org or call Cheryl at (219) 728-1401.

• Region Southern rock group, Bad Cadillac, is musical guest and will perform original songs live in the studio Tuesday (6-7 p.m.) on “Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges” which airs on 89.1FM-The Lakeshore and streams online at www.lakeshorepublicmedia.org/radio. More on the group: www.badcadillac.com

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach him at beatboss@aol.com.

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