Surf-guitar hero Dick Dale headlines Tacoma’s Swiss Tavern tonight, topping a bill that also includes Tacoma garage-rock staples Girl Trouble and the Dignitaries. We ran a story based on my interview with the rock icon in last week’s edition. But to get you even more pumped up for tonight’s show, I thought I’d post an outtake or two from my recording.
Dale - born Richard Monsour - is, of course, known as the King of Surf Guitar, and rightly so; he’s arguably the single most important performer in the development of the instrumental side of the genre. But some historians point to the Ventures’ 1960 remake of jazz guitarist Johnny Smith’s “Walk, Don’t Run” as the earliest example of an instrumental surf song to crack the pop charts. I brought this up, thinking it might prompt clarification on the roots of surf music, and maybe a story or two about crossing paths with our hometown heroes.
Instead, I got a good scolding, and our interview got off to a prickly start. Still, that lead to this great tangent on the roots of his style, why he plays backwards and upside down and his work with with inventor Leo Fender to create the gear that would define the surf sound. Click to listen.