Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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DALE, Dick

(b Richard Monsour, 4 May '37, Boston MA) Guitarist with surf hits as Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, influential out of proportion to his subsequent fame. Influenced by Gene Krupa's tom-toms, Hank Williams, polka music and much else, he moved to the West Coast age eleven, sought out Leo Fender '55, helping to design guitars and amplifiers to electrify country music. 'Let's Go Trippin'' '61 and 'The Scavenger' were minor hits, the first considered the first surf record, before Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys; others were 'Surf Beat' and 'The Victor'; albums were Surfer's Choice '62 on Deltone, Checkered Flag '63 on Capitol. He played left- handed, his twangy bass-heavy sound spawning a generation of imitators; Jimi Hendrix (another leftie) sought out Dale while he was touring with Little Richard. Dale had already come back with albums Tribal Thunder and Unknown Territory '93--4 on Hightone when Quentin Tarantino used 'Miserlou' ('62) in the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction. On tours kids who weren't born yet the first time around brought him surfboards to sign, said Dale, 'And cars. And nipples, asses, faces, anything. See, Dale plays for the grassroots, not the fancy musicians.'