Dick Dale

From the beginning of time the Indians only wanted whitey how to plant corn -- now look what's happening.

Dick Dale has recently concluded a summer tour including several dates playing with various punk bands on the Warped Tour. He was accompanied on drums by his 4-year-old son, Jimmy. Dale's latest album is Calling up Spirits.

BuGs How was the Warped Tour?

DickDale We have been touring steady for four years. The Warped Tour was incredible. To play with all those different kinds of bands, it was one of the greatest moments of my life. The drummer of Green Day asked my son for his autograph. My son Jimmy has been playing drums since he was 12 months old. He played the Warped Tour with me. Dick Dale was the only band that the police came and complained about the noise.

byrds Hey Mr. Dale, remember coming to the Chameleon in Lancaster, PA? That was a very impressive concert!

DickDale Thank you for the very kind words. I play from my gut and my soul.

ALISON Were you surprised when Quentin Tarantino asked you if he could use "Misirlou" for Pulp Fiction?

DickDale Quentin has a mind like mine. He doesn't give in to the machine. Tarantino is very into music. He creates an energy around a song. I cannot thank Quentin enough.

Ben What kind of music were you listening to in the early '60s when you invented surf guitar?

DickDale I always listened to Hank Williams, big bands, old blues and spiritual music.

BuGs You're signed to Beggars Banquet. Do you feel out of place on a label that puts out Bauhaus, the Cult, Love and Rockets -- English goth rock?

DickDale Are you crazy, I am the father of loud. I am so proud to be on Beggars Banquet. I hope that I do another record with them. I was told by my attorney that Beggars is very picky about how they pick their artists.

Benway Do you ever have trouble with tendinitis or any repetitive stress syndrome? It seems your playing is pretty demanding, physically.

DickDale Hell, I don't even wear ear plugs! When Dick Dale dies it will not be in a rocking chair. It will be on stage, blowing up. I come to kick some serious ass.

ALISON Do you still surf?

DickDale I do not surf now because the waters are so polluted. Ocean water is killing everyone. I don't eat any flesh whatsoever! Snowboarding is my new love.

ALISON Don't you work with an organization to clean up the waters?

DickDale I have been a part of many different organizations. All waters are polluted beyond the max -- I almost had my leg amputated because of the waters. The environment is being totally destroyed. From the beginning of time the Indians only wanted to teach whitey how to plant corn -- now look what's happening. I don't want to raise my child in a world where he doesn't know what is going on around him. What kind of a planet is this?

ALISON Do you follow any particular religious path?

DickDale Religion is good for everyone. It is a way for the insecure to gather together like mice and receive their bravery. Most of my life I tried to find answers, and after studying all the religions I found Buddha, which means nothing more than "wise man." I tell people that when you fall in a bucket of shit, tell yourself it's perfume. To know one is to empty oneself. To experience is to know, to know is to understand, to understand is to tolerate, to tolerate is to have peace. Once you can understand all of that, you can put it to use. How can you get mad at an idiot? Treat people how you want to be treated yourself. If it works for you, share it. My music is an attitude, an extension of that theory. Whatever you do in life, it all comes from your inner soul workings. One and one is two with Dick Dale. Politicians are like fruit, they rot with age.

byrds Where is there a spontaneous enthusiasm for life equivalent to that in Southern California in the early to mid-'60s?

DickDale There isn't. That is why I keep going higher and higher into the mountains. I haul water to where I live now.

Darnel How old were you when you were exposed to music you knew would shape you for the rest of your life?

DickDale I didn't know music would shape me. Drums became my first instrument. I listened to every sound I heard. My aunts played the piano. I was playing with knives on top of cookie cans. I became the jack of all trades, master of none. Which I would rather be than master of one. That would be very boring. Curiosity is what gives you the excitement of life so that you will open every book and read every page. As long as you have curiosity, you will always have happiness, because you will always be asking rather than telling. My body is like my temple, too. I don't put meat and booze and alcohol into it, and that's why I keep going.

Benway Any plans to re-release more of your early material?

DickDale I hated all my earlier material because it never captured the way I sound on stage. I quit recording because of that. If I could not capture the sound of me on stage, I did not want to make records. When my son was born, I went to find an engineer who did not have an ego. That started the trend of Dick Dale living in the recording studio until the CD is finished. I make each album as if it is my last. You're not supposed to like one song more than the rest. Each one should be the best.

Betty-boo What about the young girls and Newport Beach?

DickDale When Dick Dale gets black girls, 15 ask him to sign their arms, instead of saying, "Hey Whitey!" That's who I play to -- I've lived in the mountains with the native Americans. I've been with the indigenous people in Australia where they give Dick Dale paintings. The music is always geared to the people who are being used and destroyed and not cared about. I wrote "The Long Ride" because I paddled my board onto the glassy wave, but the waves are toxic -- that is why I don't surf anymore. I caught a disease from the ocean, the place where I used to go to heal myself. How can you stand there and not do anything? I can't. Especially when I have a 4-year-old son.

I can't wait to see you all again. Next time I come, I come to do some serious damage