Brian May, Slash, and More Pay Tribute After the Death of Dick Dale

The surf rock innovator was 81

March 18, 2019
Dick Dale

David Livingston / Stringer

Dick Dale, known as the "The King of the Surf Guitar” and for his inventive and pioneering approach to playing guitar, passed away on Saturday at the age of 81. 

Born Richard Anthony Monsour, Dale was at the forefront of surf culture in the early 1960s with his loud and disruptive style of playing. Playing left-handed and blowing out several amplifiers on stage, he has also has been credited by many as the "Father of Heavy Metal." The powerful method and technique that he brought to music helped set him apart in the crowded field of great guitarists. The inclusion of his version of "Misirlou" in 1994's Pulp Fiction introduced a whole new audience to his work, and Dale would continue to tour until 2016.

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With the news of his passing, several in the music community have offered memories and extended their condolences. Guitarists like Brian May of Queen and Slash from Guns N' Roses were among those posting tributes over the weekend.

"We all owe you. Rock on" wrote May. "Truly we all benefit from his trailblazing."

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RIP Dick Dale - Father of the Surf Guitar. We all owe you. Rock on. ------ Look how his guitar is strung ! He’s left handed, but plays essentially a right handed guitar - except for the controls and ‘horns’. So his heavy bass-end strings are at the lower edge of the fretboard. This means his fingers could never fall in the same shapes as the rest of us. Maybe this led him to use those low notes more often and more forcefully than everyone around him. But his highly distinctive sound comes from his very fast up-and down action in the picking hand (sometimes confusingly referred to as ‘tremolo’, in reference to the similar-sounding traditional Flamenco Spanish guitar technique, which is actually done in a very different way, with multiple fingernails). And a lot of echo effect. And thick strings. And a lot of energy !!! Check out his early hit ‘Miserlou’. Wild !!! I wish I’d met him. But truly we all benefit from his trailblazing. Bri

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RIP #DickDale

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