INCOMING: Q&A With The King Of The Surf Guitar

Look for it later this week on a Phawker near you!

TICKET GIVEAWAY: We have two pairs of tickets to see Dick Dale at the North Star Bar on Monday. The 9th and 10th lucky Phawker reader to sign up for our mailing list (below, right, under the masthead) wins them. Fear not, your email address will NEVER be sold off to third party marketing scum. We promise.

ALL MUSIC GUIDE: Dick Dale wasn’t nicknamed “King of the Surf Guitar” for nothing: he pretty much invented the style single-handedly, and no matter who copied or expanded upon his blueprint, he remained the fieriest, most technically gifted musician the genre ever produced. Dale‘s pioneering use of Middle Eastern and Eastern European melodies (learned organically through his familial heritage) was among the first in any genre of American popular music, and predated the teaching of such “exotic” scales in guitar-shredder academies by two decades. The breakneck speed of his single-note staccato picking technique was unrivalled until it entered the repertoires of metal virtuosos like Eddie Van Halen, and his wild showmanship made an enormous impression on the young Jimi Hendrix. But those aren’t the only reasons Dale was once called the father of heavy metal. Working closely with the Fender company, Dale continually pushed the limits of electric amplification technology, helping to develop new equipment that was capable of producing the thick, clearly defined tones he heard in his head, at the previously undreamed-of volumes he demanded. He also pioneered the use of portable reverb effects, creating a signature sonic texture for surf instrumentals. And, if all that weren’t enough, Dale managed to redefine his instrument while essentially playing it upside-down and backwards — he switched sides in order to play left-handed, but without re-stringing it (as Hendrix later did). MORE

DICK DALE: Misrilou

WARNING: This scene features the most thrilling combination of profanity and instrumental surf music in the history of cinema. Play loud.