MATT DRISCOLL: PLUS THE RETURN OF A SURF GUITAR LEGEND >>>
Tacoma is no stranger to surf guitar superhero Dick Dale. He's been to T-Town many times, playing at Hell's Kitchen, and the results have always been loud and memorable - unless you drank so much PBR that it's all a "Miserlou" themed blur. (Which, by the way, Dick Dale would frown upon. Dude's as sober as they come.)
Well, Olympia hasn't had the chance to build such a close relationship with Dick Dale as of late, but on Thursday at the Capitol Theater they'll get a chance to start. Dick Dale will be in town unleashing his voluminous guitar swells on the masses, and Olympia's original punk-postured, '60s garage fueled, dash of sax band the Dirty Birds. It's a perfect billing.
The Weekly Volcano caught up with the Dirty Birds' frontman Jimmi Davies, an Olympia legend, to get his take on opening up for Dick Dale, a worldwide legend and father of the surf guitar sound.
WEEKLY VOLCANO: First of all, explain how the Dick Dale show came about and how the Dirty Birds came to be involved? I'm sure you guys were stoked. What are you most looking forward to?
JIMMIE DAVIES: Well let me start off by saying how damned proud we are to be having Dick Dale come to Olympia for the first time and rock us out! He usually plays up there in Tacoma at Hellâ's Kitchen, but since Flash and the HK crew are in the middle of a relocation to bigger and better digs, we get him this time around! So the Olympia Film Society (OFS) that runs the Capitol Theater got the gig and asked us to open the show. We responded with something very professional like 'FUCK YEAH!" and it was game on. We're looking forward to the whole deal, man. Dick Dale is a legend!
WV: It seems silly to ask, since he's been an influence, really, on any one who's ever played the electric guitar, but has the music of Dick Dale helped shape the Dirty Birds at all? In more general terms, how would you describe Dale's place in the history of music?
DAVIES: The short answer is yes, absolutely. When Scott and I first started writing and playing music together in 1995, surf and garage rock was where we found our commonalities in musical taste. We were/are both nuts about bands like The Sonics, The Wailers, The Ventures, Duane Eddy, the seedy "jungle erotica" sounds of 50's and 60's burlesque, and when we discovered Dick Dale and the Del Tones, it was a natural fit. If you take all of that stuff and stew it up with some Southern rock, a little British invasion, some punk and a few beers, you've pretty much got The Dirty Birds. As far as his place in the history of music, I believe he's still making history, so I feel wholly unqualified to comment. Let's just say I have a shit-ton of respect for him and his achievements thus far.
WV: Have you previously had the opportunity to meet Dale, or will this be a first? Do you know what to expect?
DAVIES: Nope, never met the man, and I'm ashamed to admit I've never seen him play live. I'm going to guess that I'll be blown away and have my ass handed to me on a platter. I mean, Dick Dale is 72 and he's kicking ass. He's a survivor. He tours all over the place with his son and plays rock-n-roll!! Many years ago we opened for Link Wray at The OffraGracelaCorazon, and I expect to be as humbled this Thursday by Dick Dale as I was by Link Wray back then.
WV: In terms of the Dirty Birds' set, does a show like this put extra pressure on you guys - not bad pressure, but the pressure to really perform to the utmost? Will you step it up a notch? Anything in particular planned for this show?
DAVIES: Oh Hell yes it does. Usually we're completely content to just plain ol' suck, but not this time. We're gonna go ahead and tune up our guitars and stuff. You know, really polish up our sound for the occasion. We're working out some synchronized stage moves, and some real bitchinâ"pyrotechnics too" But seriously, we're going to WAIL, man! It will be the stripped down rock we love to play. This is the big stage at The Capitol Theater. Looking out over all that red upholstery, the balcony, the pit, and all those good folks who are there to see the show makes you just want to DELIVER it, you know? They are there for the rock, and we are there to give it to them. Our job is to warm up the crowd for Dick Dale, and failure to do so is NOT an option. That's the plan, my man.
WV: How do you anticipate Oly will react to Dick Dale? Do you sense excitement and substantial interest in the show?
DAVIES: Olympia loves live music, so I expect Mr. Dale will be treated to a seriously warm welcome and some truly appreciative fans from a broad spectrum of Oly's populous. I've been handing out handbills and posting flyers for the last few weeks and have gotten a ton of support and positive feedback on the show. Dick Dale doesn't just come around and play here all the time here, ya dig? This is going to be one of the great ones of 2009. Damn straight.
WV: Not that this will happen - and, naturally, I jest - but what happens if a 72-year-old dude rocks louder than the Dirty Birds? Will this lead to inner self-examination? Perhaps a psychiatrist's chair?
DAVIES: It may lead to an inner ear examination'. and maybe, just maybe a substantial upping of my dosage'.