"I don't play to musicians," he claims. Musicians live lives with sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll that Dale deems destructive. He doesn't allow anyone on tour with him to drink or smoke. "There's nothing but fruits and vegetables in the dressing room," he announces. He asks, to the surprise of venue owners, that they replace refrigerators full of beer with water. Dale tells people who play with him, "Forget what you know; I'm going to teach you what you should know. You're going to play to people, not musicians."

He recently had the opportunity to conduct the Fullerton College Symphony when it performed an orchestral version of "Misirlou." "When I heard what they had the ability to do, I asked the conductor, could I please interject some things, because I can hear some of the things they can do with 'Misirlou.' When we got through, the audience went insane. It was the first time in my life I said I don't want to play anymore; I want to get a job as a conductor, because it was so creative. Like Salvador Dali painting."

At almost 75, Dale still connects strongly with his audience. "I was put here, like Johnny Appleseed, to spread happiness," he says. "Make people forget about the pain that they're in." And Dale knows pain. He says thoughtfully, "I had the blues because I had no shoes, then upon the street, I met a man who had no feet." At shows, he makes sure to sign everything and talk to everyone. "The same families have been coming for the last 20 years. Their kids have been growing up, getting married, and they still come to see me." He has paintings on his wall from 12-year-olds that say "Get Well!" Many of the kids who contact him are gravely ill. He says of their commiserating, "We tell war stories, and we laugh."

"Music is medicine for everybody."
"Music is medicine for everybody."

Location Info


Respectable Street

518 Clematis St.
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: West Palm Beach

Culture Room

3045 N. Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Fort Lauderdale


Dick Dale, with Cutback and Skinny Jimmy and the Stingrays. 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Age 18 and over. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Call 561-832-9999, or click here.

Also 8 p.m. Friday, April 27, with the Riot Act at the Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $26 with fees. Call 954-564-1074.

At the end of the conversation, I wish him well, hope he and his wife feel better. He proclaims with a laugh, "When I die, it's not going to be in some old rocking chair, going back and forth. It's going to be onstage in one big explosion of body parts." And I tell him, "That'll be quite a show to see."

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Slammie Productions
Slammie Productions

The third South Florida date is Sunday, April 22, at Churchill's Pub in Miami with Charlie Pickett, Skinny Jimmy and the Stingrays, Enough, Heartline Fits and Turboretardo. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Call 561-832-9999, or go to Slammie.MusicToday.com.

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