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Lisa Dewey Musician and a Songwriter (Kitchen Whore Records)

by Ashley Andersen

Lisa Dewey is a singer, songwriter and musician from the Bay Area in Northern California. Beginning her career in the early ’90’s, Lisa Dewey has released four full length albums and two EP’s. Originally starting out as a solo artist she is now the fearless leader of Lisa Dewey and the Lotus Life. Lisa Dewey is also the owner of Kitchen Whore RecordsShe strives to uphold the freedom and creative integrity of what she calls, the “fringe, alternative, Independent artist,” without them having to face conflicts or problems, which can arise from being signed to a major music label. Dewey’s indie music label represents several bands and solo music artists. 

Lisa Dewey has collaborated musically with legendary multi instrumentalist, Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins.) The two produced Dewey’s albums “Weather Changer Girl and “Busk.” Dewey has also worked together musically with Michael Steele (The Bangles.) She has also worked with drummer Budgie, (Siouxsie and The Banshees) on tracks that have yet to be released. Lisa Dewey’s music is inspiring, powerful, proactive and resonates in one’s soul. I’m grateful that Lisa has taken time out of her busy schedule to do this interview with me. 

1. Ash Andersen ( At what age did you first begin to take an interest in music? I know that you play guitar. Would you please inform our viewers about other musical instruments that you play? What is you personal songwriting process?

Lisa Dewey: I was very young… Four or five. My dad gave me a harmonica and a John Denver harmonica songbook around that time. I had a stereo with a turntable and AM/FM. I would sing along to everything all the time. I play guitar, piano, drums, bass, harmonica, dumbek, etc. I play all kinds of different instruments.

My songwriting process varies. Sometimes, I write while I’m driving down the road, sometimes water is involved (it seems to help me write), sometimes, I’m practicing and a song comes out. It happens lots of different ways.

2. Ash Andersen ( When did you begin performing as a solo artist? When did that evolve into Lisa Dewey and The Lotus Life?

Lisa Dewey: Tricky question because I’ve always had band members, even when I performed solo shows here and there. I guess 1989 was my first show. I quickly got a band together and kept on performing together with them as well as solo under the name Lisa Dewey.

I don’t remember when we added “The Lotus Life,” (2002 or 2003) to our name. I had been the same band members for many years at that point. We were looking to give a visual with the name Lisa Dewey. Something that would encourage people to think of dreamy, ethereal, pop. That’s how Lisa Dewey and The Lotus Life came about but, it’s the same band as before.

3. Ash Andersen ( I know that you studied music at San Jose State University. Is this also where you studied recording engineering?

Lisa Dewey: Yes. I studied voice, improvised music studies, recording, while attending SJSU School of Music and Dance.

Lisa Dewey’s song “Watching Her Fingers” from her third album Weather Changer Girl, released in 2000.

4. Ash Andersen ( What year did you create Kitchen Whore Records? What would you say are the most challenging aspects of owning a music label?

Lisa Dewey: 1997. Before that I had two labels. (Whitewashed Records and Stellar Records.) The most challenging aspect is keeping up with the most current forms of promotion.

5. Ash Andersen ( I know that on Kitchen Whore Records you represent great indie / shoegaze group Bethany Curve. Would you please inform our viewers about the other artists and bands that you represent on the label?

Lisa Dewey: Sure. Marc Moreland Mess (Marc Moreland from Wall of Voodoo,) Mute Angst Envy, Lisa Dewey, Lisa Dewey and The Lotus Life, Gina Chiala and Kelsi Arnold.

6. Ash Andersen ( I know that you have worked with Simon Raymonde from the amazing band Cocteau Twins. Would you please inform our viewers what are artists or bands that you have collaborated or worked with?

Lisa Dewey: I collaborated with Andalusia and I recently joined Bethany Curve as a singer. We released our new album Murder! in January and it includes me as a vocalist.

Bethany Curve – 2019.
Left to Right: David Mac Wha / Drums, Nathan Guevara / Guitars, Richard Milang / Guitars, Vocals, Lisa Dewey / Vocals.

7.  Ash Andersen ( Would you please tell us who has inspired you and your wonderful music? Who are some lady rockers that have influenced your career?

Lisa Dewey: It’s difficult to naIme just a few because there are so many. Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, early U2, Clan of Xymox, Throwing Muses, Kate Bush, Wolfgang Press, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Chrissie Hynde, Kristin Hersh, Elizabeth Fraser, Harriet Wheeler, Patti Smith, Lisa Gerrard, etc.

8. Ash Andersen ( What you say personally are some of the most challenging aspects of playing in a band and owning a music label are?

Lisa Dewey: The administration of copyrights, publishing and promotion can be a lot to handle. Other than that, it’s awesome!


Lisa Dewey and The Lotus Life
Music video for “Mellow Day” off of the fourth full length studio album from Lisa Dewey and The Lotus Life. It was officially released in 2004.

9. Ash Andersen ( Can you tell us what Lisa Dewey and The Lotus Life is up to this year?

Lisa Dewey: We are currently playing a bunch of shows and we are recording an album.

10. Ash Andersen: ( Would you please provide with links so our viewers can find you as a solo artist, Lisa Dewey and The Lotus Life and Bethany Curve?

Lisa Dewey: Lisa Dewey, Lisa Dewey and The Lotus Life and Bethany Curve (Murder!) can all be found on iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, CDBABY,,, Spotify, and LastFM.

11. Ash Andersen What advice would you provide ladies out there, who are aspiring to become successful musicians like yourself?

Lisa Dewey: Keep moving forward, no matter what.

Ash Andersen ( Thanks again Lisa!

Johnny Depp “Heroes ” – Hollywood Vampires

by Ashley Andersen
A screen shot of the video “Heroes,” performed  by Johnny Depp and his band “Hollywood Vampires. 

When one thinks of John Christopher Depp II, who is known the world over by his stage name Johnny Depp; we automatically think of an incredibly talented and versatile method actor. Depp first rose to fame when he starred in the highly popular television series 21 Jump Street, which was featured on the Fox network from 1987 to 1991. Depp played an extremely young looking undercover cop in the series. This role instantly made him become a teen idol, which made both women and men absolutely swoon with his every move…

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The Cure – Induction Into The H.O.F.

by Ashley Andersen
April 1, 2019

All around the world millions of fans of gothic rock, post punk and alternative rock are celebrating because FINALLY The Cure has been inducted into the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Cure isn’t a band that is just a set of marshall stack amps, this band is one of the pioneers that helped to create the essence of Gothic Rock…The Cure emerged from Crawley/West Sussex England in 1976 and released their first album, Three Imaginary Boys in 1979 as the their first effort.

The band is defined by the Post Punk Music movement, which includes the Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Bauhaus as well as The Stranglers &The DamedThe Cure went on to define the new genre of Gothic Rock with its darker music accompanied by introspective and romantic lyrics.

Robert Smith is the band’s iconic, brilliant lead singer, songwriter and guitarist, with a distinctive singing voice that is arguably a musical instrument in its own right. Simon Gallup is the bass guitarist and songwriter. Lol Tolhurst is also an original member and contributing songwriter. He has changed his role in the band in terms of what instrument he has played throughout the years. These “three imaginary boys” have been The Cure’s core unit, even though other musicians have contributed mightily over the past forty plus years. Their music is fabulous, at times dark, and memorable with such early hits as Boys Don’t Cry, The Caterpillar cascading towards later tunes such as Close to Me and Friday I’m in LoveThe Cure has never stopped giving fans what they want–new, fantastic and inspiring songs.

A rare, live video of The Cure performing the title track of their first album, “Three Imaginary Boys.” Lol Tolhurst – drums, Simon Gallup – bass guitar, Robert Smith – Lead vocals and guitar. Paris, 1979. In this video, Lol Tolhurst is seen playing drums.

In 2012, Robert Smith was asked where does the music come from and in his shy, modest and adorable way he said,

 “I’d say that seventy-five percent of what The Cure does is me and the other twenty-five percent is usually Simon the bass player and sometimes really great songs have come from other members and people forget that. That The Cure is always a band…”

And thank goodness The Cure have always remained one! They are one of the most indelible, adored rock bands of all time. They have inspired countless others to pick up an instrument and aspire to become a musician including yours truly. Robert Smith recently announced The Cure is releasing a new album after a ten year hiatus, which is something fans of The Cure are tremendously excited about.

“The Caterpillar.” Hit single off of The Cure’s album “The Top.”This was the band’s fifth studio album by the band. The song was written by Robert Smith and Lol Tolhurst. 

Why is The Cure’s induction into the rock and roll hall of fame so important? For the simple reason that there are many bands in the gothic rock genre, who have yet to be bestowed this honor and they should be… The Cure’s award is more than well deserved, it is a testament who they are as one of the founding pioneer groups of gothic rock. They are truly a unique, creative sounding group, who’s music has stood the test of time. Cheers to The Cure and this wonderful milestone in their career!

“In between Days.” From The Cure’s 1985 “Head On The Door.” This was the group’s sixth studio album.

The British Invasion – “Fake Rivalries.”

by Ashley Andersen
March 31, 2019

If there had been a rock and roll Olympic Games in early 1964 during the British Invasion / Swinging ’60’s,  three bands would have medaled…The Beatles would have been awarded the gold medal, which is probably not shocking to you. The Rolling Stones would have taken the silver. But, you might be surprised to learn just who it was that would have earned the bronze medal in early 1964. It is most likely not your first guess… 

It was The Dave Clark Five.They sold a hundred million records during their career. Dave Clark was not only the band’s leader, drummer and back up singer. He also produced and managed and was a songwriter for the group as well. They appeared on the Ed Sullivan show eighteen times. They would knock The Beatles off of their number one status on USA music billboards charts and they were the first British Invasion band to tour the U.S.A. 

 Despite all their incredible success, why is it that most people only know Dave Clark and cannot name the other four members of his group? Why was a rivalry created between The Beatles and DC5? Did these two bands actually hate each other? How important is it to develop a rivalry in the entertainment world? What rivalries – fake or real exist in the music world today? 

Before we examine the supposed “rivalry” between The Beatles and DC5, I think it is important to provide some context regarding just how prevalent rivalries are in the U.K. in general in and outside of the music world. A great way to explore this topic is by watching the movie, “The Football Factory,” starring East London born and raised actor Danny Dyer

This movie highlights the brutal rivalries between “U.K. football hooligans” and all the “football firms”, who were fanatically loyal to their various hometown football teams. These extremely violent conflicts were comparable to battles exchanged between The Bloods and The Crips in the U.S.A…

The Beatles

An early Beatles promotional pic taken in the Mersey Beat Newspaper 1962. This is a pic of John Lennon, a seventeen year old George Harrison, Paul McCartney and their original drummer Pete Best. Ultimately, Best would get fired. Two days later, he was replaced by Ringo Starr. Copyright: Mersey Beat Newspaper Archives. This image shows how proud folks, who were born and raised in Liverpool were of The Beatles… Copyright: Mersey Beat Magazine.

In 1962, Lennon and McCartney wrote “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” in the basement of actress Jane Asher’s abode. Jane Asher was McCartney’s girlfriend at the time. It was The Beatle’s first song to be recorded on a 4 – track recorder. On February 26, 1963, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” was number a one hit in the U.S.A. and “across the pond,” in the U.K. On February 16, 1964, The Beatles performed the song on the Ed Sullivan Show. This televised performance created an instant media frenzy that completely enveloped The Beatles for the remainder of their career.

The Beatles performing their number one hit, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” live on the Ed Sullivan Show. The song was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and released November 29, 1963 (UK) and December 26th, 1963 (USA) It is from the album “Meet The Beatles,” from Parliphone (UK) and Capital Records (USA). It was produced by George Martin.

The Dave Clark Five (DC5)

Early promotional shot of The Dave Clark five. Starting from upper left: Lenny Davidson – guitar and backing vocals, Dennis Payton – saxophones and backing vocals, Mike Smith – lead vocalist and keyboards, Rick Huxley bass and  backing vocals and Dave Clark drummer backing vocals. Copyright: Rex Features LTD / REBELSHOT.

DC5 first formed as a quintet jazz band in 1957. The band consisted of band leader Dave Clark, drummer, background vocals, songwriter, Dennis Payton – saxophones, background vocals, Lenny Davidson – guitar, background vocals, Rick Huxley – bassist, background vocals, Mike Smith – lead vocals and keyboardist. They adapted and changed their sound as rock and roll became more popular. 

DC5 hailed from North London and the group was proudly called “The Tottenham Sound.” This was in direct response to the Mersey Beat sound being popularized by The Beatles and Gerry and The Pacemakers, and many other bands, who also hailed from Liverpool. The DC5 song “Glad All Over” knocked The Beatles song, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” off of the number one position on the U.K. music hit charts in January 1964.

For a while, it seemed as though DC5 were really giving The Beatle a run for their money literally! DC5 had a keyboardist and saxophonist, which in the early stages of The Beatles career did not have. This would change later on in their career when producer George Martin would add many more instrumentation and orchestral instruments to their songs. 

Also, in the latter part of their career, Billy Preston would play keyboards frequently on their last albums such as their smash hit song “Get Back,” which The Beatles performed live on their famous rooftop concert on the rooftop of their personally owned record label Apple Records. In 1969. Preston was often regarded as the “fifth’ Beatle. Preston also played “keys” for The Rolling Stones, George Harrison during his solo career and many, many other superstar musical acts. It is also very interesting to note that John Lennon performs all the guitar solos in this rendition of the song rather than traditionally done by lead guitarist, George Harrison…

If you look closely at the beginning of this video, one can see Billy Preston walking out with the rest of The Beatles. However, in “Get Back” Preston is not featured playing keyboards in this live performance. However, one can see Yoko Ono, who would become John Lennon’s second wife and the love of his life.

So… What was the real story behind closed doors or backstage? Did The Beatles and DC5 actually really hate each other? In 2014, at a ceremony commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the British Invasion,  Sir Paul McCartney had this to say to reporters regarding his thoughts about DC5 and their hit “Glad All Over:”

“Glad All Over” came on the scene and it was a really good record. The band looked great, so you had to hand it to them reluctantly…” 

When Dave Clark was asked recently whether there was an actual rivalry between The Beatles and DC5 he said: 

“No… For the first two years in America, all the magazines could print was Dave Clark vs. The Beatles, as if there was a big thing. I got on well with the boys. They’d come to my parties and I’d go to theirs. They were great fun to spend time with…” 

This proves that the rivalry between The Beatles and DC5 was just a made up media marketing tool to generate publicity and sell newspapers.

Why are rivalries created by the media such a powerful marketing tool? Ed Sullivan, American television personality, sports and entertainment reporter is perhaps the best qualified person to answer this question.

For twenty three years, he hosted the longest running variety show in American broadcast history. The Beatles appeared on his show nine times and DC5 made eighteen appearances… He said this about booking these two “rival” bands on his show: 

“Rivalries are important in generating publicity. I suspect neither would have had as much impact on the USA record and radio scene without the other. With the two generating the sales and publicity, it opened the USA to greet many other rock performers from the UK…”

Moreover, Sullivan’s point is proven even more, if you take a look at the “Thrilla in Manilla.” This was the highly anticipated fight between boxers, Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazer. The hype  and publicity created by this famous rivalry was tremendous.

 Ultimately, the fight was watched by over a billion viewers.The fight between Ali and Frazer occurred in 1975. There was no internet or social media. It was up to magazines and promoters, magazines and the media to generate publicity for the fight. Obviously, it worked!

 “The Thrilla in Manilla” promo poster for the highly anticipated boxing match between Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazer.  Copyright, All Canada Sports Promotions archives.

It is abundantly clear that DC5 had an amazing career. So, why did DC5 not become a household name like The Beatles? Why is it today if people are asked if they can name all of the five members of the group most folks cannot. Was it due to lack of promotion? DC5 Bassist Rick Huxley had this to say regarding promotion of the DC5:

“Lord, no. And you’re mistaken to think the DC5 didn’t have “PR promotion.” They were relentlessly promoted. Magazines of the time created a fake “rivalry,” constantly running articles about who’s better/cuter/bigger. Think Taylor Swift vs. Katy Perry times 1,000…”

~ Karen Fowler, “Office Drone Magazine.”

My personal theory as to why DC5 is not as well known as The Beatles is this… The media focused heavily on The Beatles as individuals during all interviews with the band throughout their entire career. This is why most people can name all four members: John Lennon, Sir Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. With DC5, all interviews concentrated on the band’s namesake Dave Clark. As mentioned in the beginning of this article, Clark was the groups band leader, manager, songwriter and the bands head PR man.

It is also important to note that the The Beatles enjoyed pushing the envelope with their sound. They loved experimenting with instruments and sounds such as harmonium and fuzz bass. This can be heard in albums such as Rubber Soul, which was the group’s sixth studio recorded album released in 1965. As most of us know, The Beatles enjoyed experimenting outside of the studio by trying drugs such as LSD. These experiences that “the lads” shared together would change their sound forever….

The Beatles also incorporated non western musical instruments such as the sitar and tabla drums heard in the song “Within you without you” written by George Harrison and accompanied by the late, great sitar player Ravi Shankar (father of the beautiful singer, pianist and songwriter Norah Jones.) Like her father, Jones is also incredibly talented and successful musician in her own right. She has sold over 50 million records globally.) The half sister of Norah Jones, Anoushka Shankar would go on to follow in her father’s footsteps by becoming an accomplished and respected sitar player. Ravi Shankar, dear friend and sitar teacher to George Harrison would continue to collaborate together after The Beatles break up.

While DC5’s songs “Glad All Over,” “Bits and Pieces,” and “Catch Us If You Can” are wonderful, their music in general tended to have a consistent, up tempo and “big beat” sound. They never deviated much from their particular sound. Ultimately, DC5’s  career would last until 1970. Dave Clark explains why he and his bandmates decided to call it quits. 

“People never understood why I did that, but I wanted to get back to being just an ordinary person. I enjoyed every moment. We’d been everywhere, done everything. I just wanted to get back to being just Dave Clark not Dave Clark Celebrity. The only thing I missed was going out on stage and performing…” 

Before you start to feel too bad for Dave Clark, keep in mind that he retained most of the rights to all of DC5’s song catalog. This is something that The surviving Beatles have still never managed to acquire…

 Clark also managed to acquire the rights to the 1960’s pop series “Ready Steady, Go!” He directed a musical, “Time – The Musical,” which would be the last performance given by the great actor, singer Sir Lawrence Oliver. This musical is a two disc vinyl album was released featuring, Julian Lennon, the late great Freddie Mercury and many other legendary performers.  Dave Clark was at Freddie Mercury’s bedside during his final hours on this earth…

Handsome Dennis Payton died on December 17, 2006 after a long battle with cancer. He was 63 years old. Rick Huxley died on February 11, 2013 from emphysema. Guitarist Lenny Davidson lives in Cambridgeshire, England, where he has taught guitar for many years. 

 The saddest story however, is what happened to DC5’s lead singer Mike Smith… He broke his neck while attempting to scale a fence on his property in Spain. As a result, he  and sustained a terrible spine injury and became paralyzed. His former DC5 would come to visit him often He died from pneumonia in 2008 with his devoted wife at his side…. 

Death and Assassinations: The Beatles

On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was assassinated by Mark David Chapman. Lennon had signed an autograph for Chapman just hours earlier. Lennon personally never believed in using bodyguards snd this decision would ultimately prove to be incredibly tragic…

 Chapman waited for hours for Lennon to return to his home The Dakota apartment buildings in New York City. When Lennon and second wife Yoko Ono stepped out of their vehicle, Chapman waited patiently as the couple walked towards the entryway of their residence. The coward and cruel Chapman fired five shots hitting Lennon in the back four times… It has been said by doctors that Lennon could have possibly survived the first four shots. But it was Chapman’s final shot that pierced straight through his heart, which completely obliterated it…

Chapman had once been a fan of The Beatles. But he became enraged when Lennon made a highly publicized and controversial comment during an interview with The Beatles early on during their career. 

To paraphrase Lennon, he said that the public was more obsessed with his band The Beatles than Jesus Christ… He further argued that the Christian faith was in decline and just might be outlasted by rock and roll. Unfortunately for Lennon, these comment would ultimately seal his demise… 

 Mark David Chapman was completely obsessed with the book The Catcher in the Rye by author, J.D. Salinger. Chapman tried in every way possible to live his life exactly the way the books main character Holden Caulfied. He also was obsessed with musician and songwriter Todd Rundgren. Chapman also had plans to kill Johnny Carson, Elizabeth Taylor and former President Ronald Reagan… Chapman’s wife knew about his plans to kill Lennon. However, she chose not to notify police or other authorities…

Mark David Chapman has been denied being eligible for parole ten times…Yoko Ono sent a letter to the parole board requesting that he not be released from prison. New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio in 1980, was the chairman of the Crime and Correction Committee, also wrote to Parole Board. In this letter , he wrote:

“It is the responsibility of the New York State Parole Board to ensure that public safety is protected from the release of dangerous criminals like Chapman.

George Harrison playing sitar live. To his right was his dear friend and sitar teacher, Ravi Shankar. 

In 2001, George Harrison had surgery to remove a cancerous growth from one of his lungs.  Unfortunately for Harrison he also developed a brain tumor. Harrison chose to go to a clinic in Switzerland in the hopes of removing the brain tumor. Former bandmate Ringo Starr visited him but his was time with Harrison was very short. He had to fly to Boston because his daughter had also been diagnosed with a brain tumor! 

Both Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr visited George one last time… Harrison ultimately died from lung cancer in 2001 at the age of 58. This was just two years he and his wife Olivia Harrison survived terrifying a knife attack by a deranged intruder at their Friar Park home…

 His remains were cremated and the ashes were scattered according to Hindu tradition in a private ceremony in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India. In addition to his former wife, George Harrison is also survived by his son and musician Dhani Harrison, who looks remarkably like his late father!

Are there still fake rivalries fake or real that exist in music industry today? The answer is “You Betcha!” Just think of the rivalries between East and West coast rappers. Also for years, the media has tried to pit Rihanna and Beyonce against one another. Both singers are award winning superstars. The media LOVES to remind people that Rihanna has had more number one hits than Beyonce… Rihanna had this say regarding the supposed feud or hatred between the two superstars

“They (the media) just get so excited to feast on something that’s negative. Something that’s competitive. Something that’s you know, a rivalry. And that’s just not what I wake up to. Because I can only do me. And nobody else is going to be able to do that…” 

Rihanna’s quote proves that the media will always and create fake rivalries  in an attempt to generate more sales / viewers for magazines, TV shows and in the music industry…

Dick Dale – King of Surf Rock and So Much More

by Ashley Andersen
March 20, 2019
 Dick Dale featured with a Fender south paw guitar circa 1961 – ’62. He did not string his guitar in the traditional way for a “lefty” guitar. The strings were arranged as they would be for a right handed guitarist. Technically, he played the guitar upside town. Photo credit: Jasmine.

On March 16th, 2019 the music world lost one of its most unique, inspirational and legendary guitarists, Richard Anthony Monsour. You will recognize him by his stage name Dick Dale. He was crowned the King of Surf Rock. But Dale would go on to acquire a few more honorable music titles before it was all said and done.

 Dale was born on May 4th, 1937 in Boston, Massachusetts. As a young boy, he was very fond of Hank Williams. Williams has been called one of the greatest songwriters of the twentieth century. You may be surprised to learn that the first instrument that Dale took up was not the guitar. It was the piano, which he started learning at the age of nine.

He considered the piano to be his favorite instrument to play. He could not read music. He also would learn the ukulele and the trumpet. The first song he learned on the ukulele was “Tennessee Waltz” due to being highly influenced by the way Hank William’s played the guitar. These are just the western instruments that Monsour learned how to play…

Hank William’s giving one of his only live performances. He performed “Hey Good Lookin” in 1951 on the Kate Smith Evening Hour. Before the song begins, he dedicates it to a twenty two year old June Carter. This gives a great example of William’s guitar playing style that Dick Dale grew up being influenced by.

As Dale got older he became interested in the guitar. He put down a deposit on one that a friend of his was selling. At the time was only making five cents an hour at a bakery. The cost of the guitar was a steep eight dollars. After making weekly scheduled payments of fifty cents, he succeeded in acquiring the instrument. In 1954, Dale moved to California with his family after graduating the eleventh grade in Quincy, Massachusetts. Dale discovered his passion for surfing at age seventeen.

Originally, Dale aspired to become a country music musician and singer. He began playing in Honky Tonk bars and met a fellow named Texas Tiny. It was Tiny who would give Richard Monsour the stage name Dick Dale. Both men agreed that it would be the perfect name for an aspiring country music singer. Due to his maternal Belarusian and paternal Lebanese heritage, Dale was exposed to many wonderful rhythms, instruments and musical genres.

 His uncle taught him how to play the tarabaki drum a.k.a. the goblet drum. Dale said that mastering the rhythms on this drum would go on to influence every other instrument that he played. In his guitar playing it would translate into “the pulsation,” which was Dale’s unique, signature, alternate picking style that would ultimately make him a music legend.

Dale incorporated a lot of middle eastern scales into his guitar playing. This is perhaps best demonstrated in his song, “Misirlou.” Prior to this song no rock and roll guitar players were doing this. Dale was left handed and played a south paw guitar. Once again, Dale would create his own approach to playing a “lefty” guitar. 

Essentially, the way in which Dale technically played guitar was upside down because he chose to string his left handed guitars as you would if you were right handed. With the success of “Misirlou,” Dale could have retired and gone into the sunset. But, this was only the beginning for this man’s extraordinary career as a musician…

“Misirlou.”It could be argued that this is Dale’s most popular song. This song help Dale become a household name when he and his band performed it on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964.

Dale became a tester of new equipment for an American inventor named Leo Fender. This man’s guitars and amplifiers became the preferred choice of legendary guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton and countless others. Incredibly, Leo Fender did not know how to play guitar. He considered himself an inventor – engineer and not a musician. In his obituary, Robby Slaugher from Guitar Player Magazine wrote this about him.

“Leo Fender neither drank nor smoked and had few close friends. He had no children. His guitars and amps, one associate said, those were his kids. He was described by more than one associate as something of a recluse. While he dabbled in photography, liked to play pinochle on a Saturday night, and owned an expensive boat, his only true hobby, perhaps his obsession was his work. He was a man of few words. He did not play guitar.”

Leo Fender, American inventor. 

Dale had a need for a loud sound! As a result of this, he wound up blowing up a lot of Fender amplifiers. After attending a show Leo Fender and an associate Freddie Travares acquired a customized fifteen inch loudspeaker. It became known as the Fender Single Showman Amp. It was the loudest amplifier available at the time. As a tester for new Fender products Dale said, “when it can withstand the barrage of punishment from Dick Dale, then it is fit for human consumption.”

Dick Dale and his main guitar, which he called “The Beast.” He received this  guitar directly from his friend Leo Fender. Photo courtesy of Eric Ernest from Abalone Vintage

Dale also developed a preference for using heavy gauge strings. Dale is credited as being “The Father of Heavy Metal.” The shows that Dale and his band played in Balboa Beach, California became the most popular event in town. He was granted permission to play at the Rendezvous Ballroom, which had a three thousand person occupancy as long as there was no alcohol available and fans adhered to a strict dress code. Dale sold out the venue every time he and his band held a show. These “surfer dances” became known as “stomps.” 

In 1962, Dale released his first album called “Surfer’s Choice.” Dale commented about what surfing meant to him as a musician. “There was a tremendous amount of power I felt while surfing and that power was simply transferred into my guitar.” This primarily instrumental rock, saturated in reverb and known for its alternate picking techniques became highly popular.

“Surfer’s Choice.” This was the first album from Dick Dale and his Del Tones by the Deltone label and was released in 1962. This was Dick Dale’s own label. This picture represents Dale’s two passions – music and surfing. It was recorded live at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa Beach, California. The song “Let’s Go Trippin” is considered to be one of the first surf rock songs.

In 1963, several of Dale’s songs were featured in the movie “Beach Party,” staring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. In 1964, Dale’s music was featured in the film “Muscle Beach Party.” The film was directed by William Asher and again starred Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello and Don Rickles. A thirteen year old Stevie Wonder would make his first film debut billed as “Little Stevie Wonder.” Surf rock became overshadowed by groups such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and other British Invasion groups when they began dominating the American music airwaves and music charts. 

Around this time Dale was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Although the cancer went into remission, he retired from music and was not heard of for many years. One day while swimming, Dale had an accident and was injured. He almost lost a leg due to acquiring a pollution related infection. After this experience Dale became an environmental activist. In 1986, Dale recorded an album which would earn him a grammy nomination. The following year Dale would perform “Pipeline” in the movie “Back to the Beach with the late, legendary guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. 

Dick Dale and The Del Tones and “Little Stevie Wonder” performing “Happy Street” in the 1964 movie “Muscle Beach Party.”

Quentin Tarrantino’s use of “Misirlou” in his cult classic film “Pulp Fiction,” essentially revitalized Dale’s career and exposed him to a whole new generation of fans. In 2009 Dick Dale was inducted into the musicians hall of fame in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2011, he was inducted into the surfing walk of fame specifically in the surf culture category. In his later years, Dick Dale was not a well man. The cancer that had been in remission resurfaced. He also had diabetes, renal failure and damage to his vertebrae, which caused him excruciating pain. 

He said that he had to keep touring in order to pay his medical bills. Dale did not drink or smoke and encouraged his bandmates and roadies not to either. He said it was because of health reasons. He was married twice and has a son James. Dick rarely saw his first wife or his son. James would go on to tour with his father’s band as the drummer. Dale’s wife Lana became his manager. On March 16, 2019 Dick Dale passed away. No specific cause of death has yet been disclosed.

Dick Dale and Stevie Ray Vaughan performing “Pipeline” together in the film “Back to the Beach” released in 1987. All you have to do is look into the eyes of Stevie Ray Vaughan to see how honored he felt playing next to Dick Dale. Dale had the ability to make other guitar legends become “awe struck.” Two incredible guitar players, who are now no longer with us.

According to a “Renaissance Man” is defined as, “a person with many talents or areas of knowledge.” I would say that this is the perfect way to define Dick Dale. He surfed, played guitar as well as many other instruments, road motorcycles was an activist and an animal lover and much more. He was a pioneer, an innovator and completely original. That is something that is hard to be in our world today. 

His unique approach to playing guitar created a whole new genre of rock music. His music would go on to inspire the creation of other genres of music including punk, garage rock, psychabilly, indie and goth music… If I had to talk about all the amazing musicians, who have been inspired by Dick Dale’s guitar playing this blog would probably get put into the Guiness Book of World Records in the category for world’s longest blog. Instead, I’ve chosen to feature some tributes from musicians who admired and or knew him.

“I’m sorry to hear about Dick Dale passing. Dick’s guitar playing was a big influence on all of us, and we covered “Misirlou” on our Surfing USA album in 1963. Love and mercy to Dick’s family.” 
Brian Wilson /The Beach Boys

“Dick Dale, who will forever remain a guitar God. May his spirit rest in peace. We will meet again brother…”
Rick Springfield

“It is saddening to hear of the passing of the incredible Dick Dale. I spent many moments learning his massive reverbed guitar licks in my bedroom, and still enjoy playing “Nitro” whenever I can. Sadly, I never got to meet him. A unique innovator of the guitar with pick melting style and swagger for miles. I can remember traveling up from Pontiac to Detroit by myself to watch him play when I was sixteen. That upside down gold sparkle Fender of his needs to be hung up some place special. Dick Dale, King of the Surf Guitar.”
Jack White III

I think Jack White III describes what a lot of other guitar rockers like Jim Heath a.k.a. the Reverend Horton Heat, Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Setzer and other killer guitar players all did when they were first learning. They practiced and learned technique and tried to master songs by Dick Dale. I’m willing to bet money on that! For more info about Dick Dale go to We here at send our thoughts and prayers to his family.