Tales of Rock – SPECIAL REPORT – Dick Dale, Surf Guitar Legend, Dead At 81

Dick Dale, the surf rock pioneer who took reverb to new levels, died on Saturday night. He was 81. The guitarist’s health had declined over the past 20 years due to a number of illnesses, including diabetes, kidney disease and rectal cancer. The news was confirmed to NPR by Dusty Watson, a drummer who worked and toured with Dale between 1995 and 2006, who says he spoke with Dale’s wife, Lana Dale. No cause was given.

Dale, born Richard Anthony Monsour in 1937, changed the sound of rock and roll in the early 1960s when he upped the reverb on his guitar and applied the Arabic scales of his father’s native Lebanon. Born and originally raised in Massachusetts, he found his aesthetic when his family moved to Orange County, California in 1954 — where he took up surfing.

His high-energy interpretation of an old song from Asia Minor, “Misirlou” (Egyptian Girl), became the most famous song of surf rock: He had learned the tune from his Lebanese uncles, who played it on the oud.

“I started playing it,” Dale, who had started out as a drummer, told NPR in a 2010 interview, “and I said, ‘Oh no, that’s too slow.’ And I thought of Gene Krupa’s drumming, his staccato drumming… When we went to California, I got my first guitar, but I was using this rocket-attack, Gene Krupa rhythm on the guitar.”

And that wildfire-tempo song became his signature: Dale self-released “Misirlou” as a single on Deltone Records in 1962, which led in part to a deal with Capitol Records to distribute his first album, 1962’s Surfer’s Choice. Dale’s first album for Capitol was 1963’s King of the Surf Guitar; he said that fans at an early show came up with the honorary moniker.

Dale’s collaborations with guitar inventor Leo Fender also made sonic history. “I met a man called Leo Fender,” he told NPR, “who is the Einstein of the guitar and the amplifiers. He says, ‘Here, I just made a guitar, it’s a Stratocaster. You just beat it to death and tell me what you think. So when I started playing on that thing, I wanted to get it to be as loud as I could, like Gene Krupa drums. And as I was surfing, when the waves picked me up and took me through the tubes, I would get that rumble sound.”

Fender and Dale also worked together on amplifiers, Dale told Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross in 1993. “I wanted to get a fat, thick, deep sound,” Dale remarked.

Fender kept trying options, but Dale still wasn’t satisfied. “We kept on making all these adjustments with output transformers, with speakers,” Dale told Fresh Air, “and that’s how I blew up over 48 speakers and amplifiers. They’d catch on fire, the speakers would freeze, the speakers would tear from the coils … So he went back to the drawing board came up and invented the Dick Dale Showman amplifier, and the dual Showman amplifier with the 15 inch Lansing speaker. That was the end result … along with the creations that we did on the Stratocaster guitar, making it a real thick body because the thicker the wood, the purer the sound.”

Three decades after he first released his most famous tune, Dale and “Misirlou” had a wave of resurgence after the song was featured in the opening credits of Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film Pulp Fiction. The movie’s soundtrack sold more than 3 million copies and helped put surf rock — and Dale himself — in front of a new generation of music fans. New compilations were issued and he was even booked on the 1996 Warped Tour.

Over the decades that followed, he released two more albums and kept playing in front of live audiences. “I make my guitar scream with pain or pleasure or sensuality,” he told NPR. “It makes people move their feet and shake their bodies. That’s what music does.”

Rest in peace, Mr. Dale. You will be missed, but your unique sound lives forever.

 

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Tales of Rock: Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop has been around forever, and is responsible for that one song you definitely know, and several more you probably don’t. As a consequence of being around forever, there’s two distinct phases in his career: the drug phase and the post-drug phase.

First the drug phase–and hang on to your butts, because this is pretty nasty. Back in 1969-1970, Iggy and his original band, the Stooges, all hung out together in an apartment in Detroit, and, possibly because no one had invented the internet yet, they got bored and started doing a lot of heroin. A side note: One of the quirks about taking heroin intravenously is that after shooting up, you end up with a bit of blood inside the hypodermic. Which these guys started squirting out over the walls and ceiling. Imagine what that apartment must have looked like after a few weeks and months, and keep in mind that heroin is not known for being much of a motivator, and you start to realize why getting these guys out to a show might have been somewhere between difficult and your worst nightmare.

A Typical Day If You Were Iggy Pop’s Personal Assistant (Drug Phase):

You: No. I am not going back into that apartment. Because fuck you guys, that’s why. If you need me, I will be five thousand miles away and on fire, because I quit, and because I will light myself on fire having seen what I just saw. Fuck.

Since then, Iggy’s cleaned up a bit, which should make shepherding him around a lot easier of a chore. And by all accounts it is, aside from the hilarious contract rider he has for gigs. For those that don’t know, a contract rider specifies the required amenities that should be in a performer’s dressing room; snacks, beverages, that sort of thing. Iggy’s is one of the most extensive in the industry, and although it’s almost certainly a joke, has specific requests for:

“Seven dwarves dressed up as those dwarves out of that film about the dwarves. You know the one. Cinderella?”

“Two cans of red bull. Something with testicles in it”

“Cauliflower/Broccoli, cut into individual florets and thrown immediately into the garbage. I fucking hate that.”

Awesome.

A Typical Day If You Were Iggy Pop’s Personal Assistant (Post-Drug Phase):

Concert Promoter: …You: Look, you know the way these rock stars are. They’ve got an image to live up to…Concert Promoter: …You: And I don’t have to tell you that there is nothing more rock and roll than, uh,… drinking testicles and wasting food in the company of a dwarf.

 

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Tales of Rock – Kurt Cobain Kills Himself Twice

“Like Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, he was 27 years old when he died.

And let us not forget Amy Winehouse who also died at age 27.”

Few musicians’ experiences with drug abuse have been as complex and intense as Kurt Cobain’s. For proof of this, see the index of Charles Cross’ 2001 Cobain biography Heavier Than Heaven. If you check, “Cobain, Kurt Donald; drug use of…” you’ll basically be instructed to read the entire book. He started off heavily averse to heroin; during his formative years, a friend suggested they try it and he stopped hanging out with him in response. He eventually tried the drug; when asked how it was by Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, he shrugged, “Oh, it was all right.” But his habit escalated.

By the time Nirvana appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1992, Cobain was so deep in heroin addiction that he was vomiting and barely able to stand right until the time came to perform. He somehow pulled it together long enough to play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Territorial Pissings” on live television. In March 1994, Cobain attempted suicide for the first time by washing down a large dose of flunitrazepam with champagne while in Rome. He nearly died and ended up in a coma for a day (Novoselic claimed that, mentally, he was never the same after this).

Within weeks he was back in Seattle, crashing on his daughter’s junkie nanny’s girlfriend’s couch and popping out occasionally to purchase speedballs and burritos. Cross quotes the girlfriend as saying, “He’d sit in my living room with the hat with the ear coverings, and read magazines. People came and went; there was always a lot of activity going on. Nobody knew he was there or recognized him.” By the end of the month, Cobain was given an intervention and packed off to rehab in California. But he soon escaped the facility by scaling a six-foot wall and, improbably, found a seat on a flight back to Seattle next to Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan.

Despite beef between Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses, the two bonded, finding a great deal of common ground as famous musicians from the Pacific Northwest with heroin problems. Once back at his house, Cobain reattempted suicide and this time he meant business. He injected a lethal dose of heroin and then blasted himself in the head with a shotgun, effectively killing himself twice. Like Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, he was 27 years old when he died.

And let us not forget Amy Winehouse who also died at age 27.

Another sad rock and roll tragedy. Showbiz is the only industry that eats it’s young.

Check this out:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/27_Club

A footnote from phicklephilly: “I never understood suicide. You get one chance to be here, why leave early if you don’t have to? Suicide’s for quitters. I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression my whole life. I’ve beaten the shit out of them both (without drugs) and now we’re all on the same side. Suicide is always a long term solution to usually a temporary problem. I just don’t get it, Kurt. I was in a band when I was younger. It was an amazing experience. Kurt, you play music for a living. You’re in a famous genre inspiring band. You’re surrounded by a gaggle of moist women. Your bank account is full and your nuts are empty. WTF?”

 

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Tales of Rock – Prince Assaults Sinead O’Connor

In the early 90s, Sinead O’Connor scored a massive hit with her cover of the Prince-penned “Nothing Compares To You.” Sorry, that should probably read “Nothing Compares 2 U.” We are talking about Prince after all. At any rate, according to O’Connor, His Purpleness was less than thrilled with her decision to cover the song since he was already planning to give it to a female protege of his, perhaps in exchange for a series of unthinkable sex acts.

When he met with Sinead to discuss the situation, things got a bit out of hand. And by “out of hand” we mean “they got in a goddamned fistfight.”

It started with Prince berating the shorn-locked singer for, of all things, cursing in interviews. She replied with a diplomatic and sympathetic “go fuck yourself.” At that point, O’Connor claims Prince became physically threatening, or at least to the extent Prince can physically threaten anyone.

At that point the two went at it, in what was probably the most effeminate fistfight of all time. Prince used his fists, O’Connor used loogies. “All I could do was spit. I spat on him quite a bit,” she said. Classy! Not that beating women is any classier, but seriously, how would you feel if you were robbed of the chance to pass one of your most enduring tunes onto one of your talented proteges? Imagine the possibilities!

 

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Are Women Expecting Too Much Of Men?

https://va.topbuzz.com/s/mdSRR

 

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Tales of Rock – The True Story Behind Bohemian Rhapsody

http://time.com/5443000/bohemian-rhapsody-true-story/

 

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Tales of Rock – Why Fred Durst Has Been Banned From Ukraine

Limp Bizkit’s window of popularity shut in the early 2000s, leaving them and the nu-metal genre they championed a relic of a cheesy bygone era of rock ‘n’ roll, like dozens of hair metal bands before them. In the years after the band’s fame faded, lead singer Fred Durst directed a couple of small not-terrible movies that didn’t do much to jumpstart his filmmaking career. So he’s been trying to be a director in Russia.

Durst loves Russia, and Russia loves him back. In 2015, he and Limp Bizkit toured throughout the country, hitting every city they could. Soon after Russia forcefully snatched Crimea from Ukraine, Crimea’s leader put out an open letter declaring his vision to turn Crimea into “the new Beverly Hills” and his hope that Western celebrities would make the land their new home. Durst sent a letter back saying he wanted to be a part of that vision, offering to produce movies and TV shows for the up-and-coming hostilely-taken-over chunk of land to help create a “great future of Crimea and Russia.” Russia is super proud that they’ve been able to snatch Durst from American hands, like they couldn’t just do it by promising him a six-pack of Coors and a lifetime supply of Dickies.

Sure sounds like Fred Durst has become a Russian propagandist, and not just to my ears: Ukraine, still reeling from having a chunk of itself stolen by Russia, caught wind of all this Fred Durst nonsense, so they banned him for five years “in the interests of guaranteeing the security” of the country.

For years we’ve all known Fred Durst is a threat to our security, but Ukraine is the only country with the balls to make it official.

 

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