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Surf King Riffs On Cancer

02:01 PM Monday 12/15/08 | |

Dick Dale, the King of the Surf Guitar, has spent most of 2008 battling cancer but he tells Pollstar he’s still playing and will amp it up next year.

Dale was diagnosed with rectal cancer and had six weeks of radiation treatment, three times a day, followed by an eight-hour surgery in April.

“At 8:30 in the morning, I was taking three doses of radiation and, at 9 p.m. I was playing to 6,000 people at the Anaheim Convention Center at the NAMM show,” Dale told Pollstar. “So they call me the ‘Cancer Warrior.’”

Although the surgery removed the tumor, Dale had to return to the hospital for a Dec. 5 followup surgery, returning to his California home Dec. 11.

“I’m just laying down right now,” the 71-year-old Dale said. “I’m not taking pain meds, which slows down the healing. I just shut off my tubes and blew the doctors’ minds.”

He had a photo shoot for GQ later in the week and is preparing for the release of some new guitars, including a collector’s edition Fender with a Dick Dale montage paint job. His son, Jimmie Dale, has a signature acoustic Fender Kingman on its way, too, Dale said.

As for the cancer, it won’t slow him down.

“I played with Brian Wilson at the [Carl Wilson Foundation Benefit Concert] at the Roxy a couple weeks ago, then they operated on me on Friday,” Dale said. “I’ll be out there in 2009,” he insisted.


  1. Heavy Metal Infant wrote:

    02:18 PM, Dec 15, 2008

    Hang in there, man! What a weird but inspiring dude.

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