Dick Dale Is Still "King Of The Surf Guitar"

The inclusion of Dick Dale's "Misirlou" in the film Pulp Fiction helped spark the current surf rock revival.

The sonic waves will be ripping in early June, when Rhino Records

releases a new two CD compilation of legendary surf rock guitarist Dick Dale's

recordings, Better Shred Than Dead: The Dick Dale Anthology.


collection assembles 39 Dale cuts from eight labels, spanning the years 1959 to

1996. Rarities include a 1987 soundtrack recording of "Pipeline" with Stevie

Ray Vaughn, and a song previously available only on the Rocket Jockey video


Dick Dale virtually invented the sound of surf rock in the early

1960s. Genre classics such as "Let's Go Trippin'" and "Misirlou" earned him the

"King of the Surf Guitar" title. Dale also worked with electric guitar and

amplifier innovator Leo Fender on technical innovations such as reverb.

Although his most famous records were recorded with his band the Del-Tones

during the 1960s, Dale remains an active musician, playing roughly 200 shows

each year. A slot on last summer's Warped tour brought his trademark sound to a

'90s punk audience, and the influence of his aggressive, trip hammer style can

be heard throughout modern heavy metal. Much credit for the recent surf revival

can be traced to Dale, thanks to Quentin Tarantino's inclusion of "Misirlou" in

the film Pulp Fiction.

"Dick Dale is a cultural icon," says Rhino's

Stephen Peeples. "If you go to one of his concerts, you'll see his fans range

in age from original rock 'n' roll fan geezer types to kids who love the way he


Dale was directly involved with the production of

Better Shred Than Dead, from suggesting the title to approving the track

listing. Greg Douglass' liner notes include an exclusive interview with the

guitarist, and the set includes additional song by song notes from surf

aficionado Jim Pewter, one of the first DJs to play Dale's work.

Disc one

of the anthology covers Dale's classic recordings from the 1950s and '60s, but

it's the '80s and '90s cuts on the second disc that are particularly important

to the innovator. "The tracks that he recorded back in the '60s he's never

really been pleased with," says Peeples. "To his ears they never really caught

the visceral, ballsy nature of his music. Recording techniques in the '80s and

beyond were much more able to get that."