Let’s Go Trippin’

He struck a chord in surfers and music lovers across the world over a career that spans six decades. 

Guitar legend Dick Dale still carries the perfect tune, and on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Casa Escobar, Dale will perform any number from an arsenal of a catalog.

“Last time we were here, the place was filled right to the walls,” Dale said. “I’ve been all over the world … I like smaller audiences because it’s more personal. Malibu is very special to me — very, very special to me.”

Dale’s affected the music industry in more ways than he can count. 

Between influencing musicians, directors, entertainers and creators with his legendary guitar scales that spawned a surf sound, to pioneering technology to harness the accurate tones and vibrations from musicians’ instruments, Dale and music go hand-in-hand.

“Music — it has no borders,” Dale said. “When I’m on stage and I look at an audience, if I see someone with a cowboy hat on, I’ll do a Johnny Cash tune. I never have a set list. Every song I’ve ever played has always been off the top of my head. If you say the same thing and you play the same thing, people know what time it is by the song you’re playing. When I look in someone’s face night after night, I want them to feel like they’re on a cyclone ride.”


In the early ‘90s, Dale was given a note that had been thrown away by a bandmate, saying some director had been looking for him.

“Quentin [Tarantino] told me, ‘Dick I’ve been listening to you for so many years. I make movies a different way. Most people make a movie and then put music to it. I don’t do that. I sit in a room, lock myself up and listen to a song over and over again until it grabs me to make a movie. Can I have your permission to use the masterpiece of ‘Misirlou’ to create a masterpiece of a movie?”’

Dale said yes, and after its release in 1994 starring John Travolta and Uma Thurman among other notable actors and actresses, “Pulp Fiction” became a cult classic and “Misirlou” rose again to music infamy.

“He was so humble, because I’ve always been a rebel against the system,” Dale said.

Still riding high from a recent seven-week tour around the country with his wife and manager Lana, Dale has practically toured and played music his entire life. 

While touring keeps the two together, it’s also a means to keep the two going as both suffer from severe medical concerns. 

“We’re both dealing with ailments,” Dale said. “Lana has multiple sclerosis, a tumor in her throat, fibromyalgia … I’ve been dealing with cancer for 20 years, diabetes, renal failure. We’ve been doing it all on our own.”

For many of their fans, Dick and Lana’s willingness to be open and honest about their struggles with health has proven to be another integral note to the Dale story.

“A lot of the people that are coming to see me have the same ailments, and they see me jump on stage and they say ‘holy mackerel!’ Then there are times that I have to sit on a stool because it takes the strength out of me. But yet, we fight through it, and they see me doing it and it gives them courage to keep on going and we talk all about it. We don’t hide anything like that because we try to make the people say, ‘If Dick and Lana are going through this kind of stuff, look at them. We can too.’” 

If Dale has learned anything through years in the industry and with the love of his life Lana, it is to be happy. 

“You’ve gotta always laugh at life,” Dale said. “Laugh at the pain. Our life is nothing but a minefield that you must learn how to walk through. You must learn how, when you wake up — if you’re lucky enough to wake up and open your eyes, no matter what you’re dealing with, be thankful that your eyes woke up and that you can see and hear — and then deal with it. Deal with the situation and forget about yourself. Help others and then you’ll forget about the pain.”

For more information, visit livefrommalibu.com

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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