Beetcafe.com
rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 05/03/2006
Dick Dale - King of the Surf Guitar - Returns to Rockford - Again
by Gary Hill
gary@beetcafe.com
http://www.dickdale.com

For those who haven't had a chance to see the King (no not Elvis, this is the King of Surf Guitar) now is your chance. now you get another chance. This time around he's going to be playing the Midway Theater on May 16th. If you missed him last time, what are you waiting for? If you were at Kryptonite to catch his show before, then you know all about it, and probably already have your tickets for this one. Last time he came around we ran an article on the man, and this seems like a great reason to re-post that item. So, for more information, please read on.

 

According to the biography at his website Dale "invented surf music in the 1950's."  The site also says that, "He was given the title "King of the Surf Guitar" by his fellow surfers with whom he surfed with from sun-up to sun-down. He met Leo Fender the guitar and amplifier Guru and Leo asked Dale to play his newly creation, the Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitar. The minute Dale picked up the guitar, Leo Fender broke into uncontrolled laughter and disbelief, he was watching Dale play a right handed guitar upside down and backwards, Dale was playing a right handed guitar left handed and changing the chords in his head then transposing the chords to his hands to create a sound never heard before."

 

That same source goes into a lot more detail and shows that Dale was responsible for more than just the surf music genre, in fact, with his desire to create louder music he revolutionized the electric guitar sound and some say was responsible for heavy metal music. "Leo Fender gave the Fender Stratocaster along with a Fender Amp to Dale and told him to beat it to death and tell him what he thought of it. Dale took the guitar and started to beat it to death, and he blew up Leo Fender's amp and blew out the speaker. Dale proceeded to blow up forty nine amps and speakers; they would actually catch on fire. Leo would say, 'Dick, why do you have to play so loud?' Dale would explain that he wanted to create the sound of Gene Krupa the famous jazz drummer that created the sounds of the native dancers in the jungles along with the roar of mother nature's creature's and the roar of the ocean.

 

"Leo Fender kept giving Dale amps and Dale kept blowing them up! Till one night Leo and his right hand man Freddy T. went down to the Rendezvous Ballroom on the Balboa Peninsula in Balboa, California and stood in the middle of Four Thousand screaming dancing Dick Dale fans and said to Freddy, I now know what Dick Dale is trying to tell me. Back to the drawing board. A special 85 watt output transformer was made that peaked 100 watts when dale would pump up the volume of his amp, this transformer would create the sounds along with Dale's style of playing, the kind of sounds that Dale dreamed of. BUT! they now needed a speaker that would handle the power and not burn up from the volume that would come from Dale's guitar.

 

"Leo, Freddy and Dale went to the James B. Lansing speaker company, and they explained that they wanted a fifteen inch speaker built to their specifications. That speaker would soon be known as the 15' JBL -D130 speaker. It made the complete package for Dale to play through and was named the Single Showman Amp. When Dale plugged his Fender Stratocaster guitar into the new Showman Amp and speaker cabinet, Dale became the first creature on earth to jump from the volume scale of a modest quiet guitar player on a scale of 4 to blasting up through the volume scale to TEN! That is when Dale became the Father of Heavy Metal' as quoted from Guitar Player Magazine. Dale broke through the electronic barrier limitations of that era!"

 

Whether you go to pay homage to the "father of heavy metal", the "king of surf guitar" or just to hear some killer music from a rock legend, you need to go to this show. Dick Dale is in a category of rock masters that is populated by people like The Beatles, The Who and The Stones - while the trail he forges is different than the ones they follow, his wave has had a huge influence on everyone who has followed. Be sure to ride this wave as it's not one to miss.

Contact Information
Dick Dale
http://www.dickdale.com
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