Dick Dale's Last Words (to Me)

On Saturday night, surf guitar legend Dick Dale died. He's best known for "Miserlou," which Quentin Tarantino used to great effect in 1994's Pulp Fiction. Dale played a number of memorable shows in New Orleans in the old Howlin' Wolf--where Republic is today--where he played surf with a punk edge. He played so hard that he would periodically show his picks to show how worn down they were, and one Sunday night he walked off the stage, through the crowd, out the door and into traffic, staring down cars and playing all the while.

The Dick Dale Chronicles: Preventing Crispy Critters

Today Dick Dale concludes his 65-minute monologue in a crustier mood. He has been talking non-stop for 45 minutes, and his attention turns first to unprepared journalists who don’t read the four emails of stories about Dale sent my his wife Lana. They’re not links to stories; they contain stories that have been cut and pasted into the email—stories with no obvious sources, and one with a byline that is only initials.

The Dick Dale Chronicles: What Keeps Him Alive

When I read surf guitar hero Dick Dale’s memories in this series, I see the thoughts and recollections of someone who has been a physical, assertive man dealing with his decline. You don’t hear it when he plays. His guitar sound remains a richly textured, driven rumble, but as he approaches 80, it’s easy to imagine that his world and social circle are shrinking.

The Dick Dale Chronicles: The Parable of Jesse and Frank

Dick Dale is now 74, and on the phone recently, he held court for 65 minutes without pause to talk about his life, his career, his wife, and a host of topics I never expected him to get to. Dale will play The Howlin’ Wolf Monday night with Mahayla opening, and today we present the second installment of what Dale said in his monologue.

The Dick Dale Chronicles, Pt. 1

For years, Dick Dale seemed to be a poster child—okay, poster man—for how to grow old gracefully. He didn’t hide his age onstage, but nothing about his performance hinted that there might be an AARP card in his wallet. He sawed his guitar strings on “Misirlou” and countless surf instrumentals with punk intensity, on more than one occasion holding up his pick to show the damage he had done to it with the fury of his playing.