California Rocker

Award-Winning Online Music Magazine

Best LA Concerts of 2016: Big Stars in Small Venues, Young Trailblazers, and California Rockers

Bob Weir, Desert Trip, Eagles of Death Metal, The Cure, Make Beautiful Music in 2016

Jesse Hughes and Eagles of Death Metal put on a high-voltage show - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Jesse Hughes and Eagles of Death Metal put on a high-voltage show – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Eagles of Death Metal at The Teragram Ballroom

The band members in The Eagles of Death Metal have coped with a lot and keep going. The most recent excellent performance was a benefit for Dave Rosser, held at Teragram Ballroom. Frontman Jesse Hughes AKA Boots Electric, is one of the most compelling performers — or poseurs — today and holds the audience spellbound with his wild maneuvers, great voice and excellent guitar work. We got an extra bonus on this night: Josh Homme debuted a new song.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Eagles of Death Metal

 

 

The Reluctant Apostles with Katey Sagal: An impressive crew - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Reluctant Apostles with Katey Sagal: An impressive crew – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Reluctant Apostles at Molly Malone’s

The Reluctant Apostles have come a long way in a short time.  The Katey Sagal and Bob Thiele-fronted band like to play at Molly Malone’s and was formed based on their teamwork during Sons of Anarchy.  The Reluctant Apostles are an offshoot of The Forest Rangers, which came to prominence during the uber successful run of SOA. But new things on the horizon from this star-studded cover band: A new Pledgemusic album and more shows to come.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of the Reluctant Apostles

 

Dick Dale gives his fans all he's got - Photo © Donna Balancia

Dick Dale gives his fans all he’s got – Photo © Donna Balancia

Dick Dale and Se7en Reasons Why at Whisky A Go-Go

Where would modern rock and roll be without remarkable performers Mick Scott and Se7en Reasons Why and the ultimate surf guitar master Dick Dale?  Dale’s varied health issues seem to fade away when Dale is on stage, never far from the watchful eye of his wife, Lana.  New Year’s eve at the Whisky A Go-Go has never been better. Dale comes from an era when you performed no matter what ails you. He led the way in the development of the California sound and he’s a true California Rocker.

The CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Dick Dale at the Whisky A Go-Go

 

The mystical Robert Smith and The Cure are enduring - Photo by Craig Hammons for CaliforniaRocker.com

The mystical Robert Smith and The Cure are enduring – Photo by Craig Hammons for CaliforniaRocker.com

The Cure at The Hollywood Bowl

On one of three sold out nights at The Hollywood Bowl, The Cure would cover over 37 years of Cure songs including the hits, rarities and two unreleased tracks. Reviewer Craig Hammons noted that the set list changed each night with The Cure digging deep into their catalog of impressive material.  Robert Smith and the crew would cover 35 songs in just under 3 hours.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The Cure at The Hollywood Bowl

 

Nick Waterhouse fuses jazz blues and rock and roll, he's depicted here performing from his Never Twice album - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Nick Waterhouse fuses jazz blues and rock and roll, he’s depicted here performing from his Never Twice album – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Nick Waterhouse at The Regent Theater

We can’t say enough good things about Nick Waterhouse and His Tarots.  Every time we see Nick, the performance gets better if that’s possible, as was demonstrated at The Regent Theater a couple of weeks ago.  A multi-faceted musician, who writes, performs, and produces others, Nick is a California Rocker on the rise. Openers Sad Girl and Cutty Flam impressed.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Nick Waterhouse, Sad Girl and Cutty Flam

 

The Black Angels were among the bands at Desert Daze - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Black Angels were among the bands at Desert Daze – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Desert Daze

Desert Daze, the enduring fest where up-and-comers and veterans alike kick around in boots, bandanas and shorts still reigns supreme.  An eclectic mix of newbies and veterans, the fest offers a chance to hear new music and gives veterans a chance to show their stuff. Television, Primus and Thee Oh Sees mingled with Brian Jonestown Massacre, L.A. Witch, and Thee Commons.

The CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Desert Daze

 

Gavin Rossdale of Bush on a speaker at The Observatory - Photo © Donna Balancia

Gavin Rossdale of Bush on a speaker at The Observatory – Photo © Donna Balancia

Bush at The Observatory

Gavin Rossdale is a high-energy performer, leaping into the audience and jumping on speakers.  Bush performs all the favorites and this particular show at the Observatory was extremely interactive. After a few rounds of hugs and kisses among his fans, Rossdale jumps onto a speaker and finishes “Monkey” from high above.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Bush at The Observatory

 

Robert Plant - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Robert Plant – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Robert Plant at Theatre at the Ace

Robert Plant and his audience share a special bond and that was illustrated clearly at the Theatre at the Ace.  Bringing flowers, love letters and gifts, Robert still has the gals on the edge of their seats.  Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters put on a show that is Led Zeppelin inspired, but takes us to a new and earthy place.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters

 

Soul Asylum takes off at Whisky A Go-Go - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Soul Asylum takes off at Whisky A Go-Go – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Soul Asylum at The Whisky A Go-Go

Dave Pirner keeps going. Whirling around with his guitar and speaking honestly to the audience, with little regard for his sweaty appearance, Pirner is happy to be on stage.  If nothing else Pirner and Soul Asylum are truthful in their performance and the crowd appreciates it. Soul Asylum’s tour started with The English Beat and wrapped solo.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Soul Asylum at The Whisky A Go-Go

 

The English Beat draws the crowds with great performances - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The English Beat draws the crowds with great performances – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The English Beat at The Canyon Club

The English Beat hits a home run every time.  There is not one song from all their famous hits that goes unheard at an English Beat concert and the crowds are devoted.  Dave Wakeling drives the band that has undergone some changes over the years, but the musicians on board are top talents.  Fortunately, The English Beat plays a lot of dates and 2017 shows are all set.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The English Beat at The Canyon Club

 

Michael Franti and the Soulrocker tour - Photo © 2016 Craig Hammons

Michael Franti and the Soulrocker tour – Photo © 2016 Craig Hammons

Michael Franti and Spearhead

Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Pacific Amphitheatre spreads the message of love and compassion for all. The show was such a warm experience that reviewer Craig Hammons said he felt like he left the stadium with 7,000 new friends.  The crowd interlocked arms, danced and sang songs of inclusion and love.  What’s better than an uplifting performance?

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Michael Franti and Spearhead

 

Fartbarf puts all the electronic bands to shame - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Fartbarf puts all the electronic bands to shame – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

FartBarf, David and The Curse at El Cid

Who would think with name like Fartbarf this band would be amazing?  Something must have happened along the way for three guys in caveman masks to call themselves something so silly but play so good.  The electronic music we heard at El Cid blew us out of our shoes.  This is a talented group that does the creators of the Moog proud.  Opener David and The Curse shows how it’s done as this young veteran gives us a new sound that blends Americana with pure rock.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Fartbarf and David and The Curse

 

Kam Franklin and The Suffers triumph at The Echo LA - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Kam Franklin and The Suffers triumph at The Echo LA – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Suffers at The Echo

The Suffers bring you to your knees, they’re that good.  Whether you call it, “Gulf Coast Soul” or good ol’ rock and roll, Kam Franklin and the band bring a blues-influenced power sound to the masses. We caught The Suffers at the Echo, one of our favorite venues, and the place was busting at the seams trying to contain the adoring fans.

The CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The Suffers at The Echo

 

Sad Lovers and Giants - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Sad Lovers and Giants – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Sad Lovers and Giants at The Echoplex

Sad Lovers and Giants put on a show for a lifetime at our well-loved venue the Echoplex, bringing 80s new wave to a young, enthusiastic crowd. It’s sad for fans that this beloved British band may not return to the U.S. any time soon, but we are thrilled to have caught Garçe Allard, Tony McGuinness, Nigel Pollard, Ian Gibson and Will Hicks at least once.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Sad Lovers and Giants at the Echoplex

 

The Who - Photo courtesy of Desert Trip for CaliforniaRocker.com

The Who – Photo courtesy of Desert Trip

Desert Trip

Reviewer Bob Busby called Desert Trip one of the best experiences of his life.  That comes from someone who has been to thousands of shows and festivals. Aside from Roger Waters’ rantings, the moon appearing during Neil Young’s performance of “Harvest Moon,” was a highlight.  And how can you do much better than Sir Paul McCartney sharing the stage with the pop princess Rihanna? Stay tuned for next year.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Desert Trip

 

Mike Campbell and Jason Sinay - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Mike Campbell and Jason Sinay – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

The Dirty Knobs at The Echoplex

Mike Campbell and The Dirty Knobs put on a fun, upbeat show, complete with cover songs you haven’t heard in a while. Jason Sinay and Campbell play off each other as “Gator” and “Ape” in a band where nicknames are abundant as dolphins in Florida.  The Dirty Knobs is a band to check out when they play their few gigs every year. They haven’t recorded anything so go live or go home.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The Dirty Knobs at The Echoplex

 

Bob Weir on tour with 'Blue Mountain' album - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Bob Weir on tour with ‘Blue Mountain’ album – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Bob Weir at The Wiltern

The well-worn co-founder of The Grateful Dead only gets better as the years go on. He introduced a new album and played to a crowd at The Wiltern that was comprised of not only Grateful Dead veterans but young, rainbow-clad and dread-sporting fans. Bob still has the verve and enthusiasm and the sounds ring true.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Bob Weir at The Wiltern

 

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

At The Drive-In at Hollywood Palladium

It’s a rare treat to get to see At The Drive-In, but frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala is one of the most entertaining performers in the business. It’s clear from his leaping at The Hollywood Palladium last summer that he’s got a background in skateboarding and he’s a no-holds-barred, balls-to-the-wall musician, saving nothing for himself and giving the crowd his all.  See our award winning-shot of Cedric Bixler Zavala.

The CaliforniaRocker.com Review of At The Drive-In

 

Teri Le Butcherettes Photo by Donna Balancia

Teri of Le Butcherettes surfs the crowd – Photo by Donna Balancia

Le Butcherettes at Hollywood Palladium

Teri Gender Bender is the most physical female performer out there and her shows at The Regent Theater, The Echoplex and opening set for At The Drive-In prove it. There are few who can compare to this precious young rock and roll veteran whose demeanor after the show is remarkably calm compared to her rebellious and taunting onstage persona.  Despite personnel changes over the years, one thing remains a constant: Teri’s talent.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review for Le Butcherettes

 

Joe Bonamassa performs during celebration of B.B. King - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Joe Bonamassa performs during celebration of B.B. King – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

GRAMMY Foundation Honors BB King at Wallis Annenberg

BB King may be gone, but The GRAMMY Foundation hosted a bevy of blues slinging rock stars to honor him at The Annenberg: Slash, Tedeschi Trucks, Joe Bonamassa and a heavenly host of blues performers sang and played the blues in BB’s honor.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review for B.B. King at the Annenberg

 

Wayne Kramer and Marshall Crenshaw - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Wayne Kramer and Marshall Crenshaw – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Wayne Kramer’s Jail Guitar Doors at The Ford Theatres

Wayne Kramer, Don Was and pals put on an amazingly entertaining show at The Ford Theatres to raise money for their charity that serves those behind bars.  The show featured Marshall Crenshaw and a slew of talent to help Wayne raise money for the charity that is close to his heart.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Wayne Kramer and Jail Guitar Doors

 

Bad Boy Eddy - Photo by Donna Balancia

Bad Boy Eddy Rocks Cruefest – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cruefest 2016 at Whiskey A Go-Go

Cruefest Hollywood 2016 brings the kindest hearted metal performers to the Whisky A Go-Go stage each year.  It was a Who’s Who of metal with  Heartbreak Heroes from Oklahoma and Los Angeles; Snake Bite Whisky from Brisbane, Australia; Bad Boy Eddy from Northern California; Stonebreed; Wreking Crue from Detroit, and Mick Scott and Se7en Reasons Why; Blacklist Union, Lunden Reign, Westfield Massacre, and L.A. Story; all of whom are from Los Angeles.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Cruefest 2016 at the Whisky A Go-Go

 

Brian Wilson and band at Hollywood Bowl - Photo by Craig Hammons

Brian Wilson and band at Hollywood Bowl – Photo by Craig Hammons

Brian Wilson at The Hollywood Bowl

Brian Wilson never disappoints and his performance at reviewer Craig Hammons said his performance at the Hollywood Bowl was one of his best.  Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds, considered a unique collection at the time of its release, Wilson held the Hollywood Bowl audience enraptured.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Brian Wilson at The Hollywood Bowl

 

Iggy Pop destroys the mic stand during his show at The Hollywood Bowl - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Iggy Pop destroys the mic stand during his show at The Hollywood Bowl – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Iggy Pop at The Greek Theatre

At a time when most people are slowing down, Iggy Pop is going strong, having his best year yet. The “world’s forgotten boy” has a GRAMMY nomination for Post Pop Depression, there’s a Jim Jarmusch movie out about him, and also a new book released about his life.  He’s a 69-year-old anomaly in the world of rock, proudly resplendent in his hard-earned success. Via his partnerships with the young and hip, Iggy continually adds new admirers to his list of longtime fans. It doesn’t hurt to have the “Ginger Elvis,” Josh Homme and the rest of the crew on stage with you.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Iggy Pop at The Greek

 

Burning Spear, the legendary reggae rocker - Photo by Craig Hammons

Burning Spear, the legendary reggae rocker – Photo by Craig Hammons

Burning Spear at The Hollywood Bowl

Reviewer Craig Hammons says Burning Spear is one of the best shows of the year simply because Burning Spear is a solid reggae performer.  The legendary musician among a sea of young upstarts bid adieu to his fans as “I Man” takes a step down from the stage. Over the many years, with grace and dignity Burning Spear has brought new fans to the reggae flock.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Burning Spear 

Jackson Browne at Lucky Strike Live - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Jackson Browne at Lucky Strike Live – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Jackson Browne at Lucky Strike Live

It was a pleasant shock to find Jackson Browne appearing at Lucky Strike, which hosts mostly metal-style rockers every Wednesday night during its weekly Lucky Strike Live events.  Browne is a good-hearted type who shows up for a good cause and for the fun of the performance.  At Lucky Strike Live, he gave the regulars — plus about 600 others — a thrill, jamming with some regular players and he had fun to spare.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Jackson Browne

 

Glam Skanks release new album, "Glitter City" - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Glam Skanks release new album, “Glitter City” – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Glam Skanks at MIME

Where are the young women in rock and roll? Answer: The Glam Skanks are right in Los Angeles and they put on a terrific show each and every time. Climbing on speakers, throwing glitter, taunting the audience. Their show at MIME in Echo Park put on by Echo Box heated up the room and had fans screaming for more. There’s a new album and they’re going on tour with Adam Ant.  Stay tuned!

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The Glam Skanks 

 

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Smash Mouth at The Canyon Club

Say what you will about the in-your-face frontman, but Smash Mouth has made it in a tough rock and roll world. When Paul DeLisle teamed with Steve Harwell, as odd a combination as that may have appeared it worked.  With a little help from a hit animated movie, Smash Mouth reinvigorated “I’m a Believer” from The Monkees and a whole new generation was jumping at The Canyon Club. Openers Paper and Strange Case lit a fire.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Smash Mouth, Paper and Strange Case

Editor’s Note: The “Best Concerts of the Year” coverage only includes the performances CaliforniaRocker.com staff attended during 2016.

California Rocker Wins Best Photo Essay, Best Action Photo at Prestigious LA Press Club Awards Gala

California Rocker Wins Three Awards at 2016 NAEJ

By DOTTIE PARIS

California Rocker, the online music magazine, won Best Photo Essay and Best Action Photo categories Sunday night at the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards by the Los Angeles Press Club.

The awards were presented to California Rocker producer Donna Balancia at the annual awards gala that honors the best of entertainment journalism.  The event was held at the Millennium Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles.

California Rocker Wins Best Action Photo

Donna Balancia Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In - California Rocker Wins

Donna Balancia won Best Action Photo for this image of Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Best Action Photo was awarded to Donna Balancia for her image of Cedric Bixler-Zavala, the high-energy frontman for At The Drive-In, leaping into the air at the Hollywood Palladium.  California Rocker wins included third place in the same action photo category for a beautiful image of the legendary surf guitar master Dick Dale performing to an adoring crowd at The Whisky A Go-Go.

Best Photo Essay for Suzanne Allison Witkin

Suzanne Allison Witkin - Vampires California Rocker Wins

Suzanne Allison Witkin took first place for her photo essay “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin

Renowned rock photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin won Best Photo Essay for “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires,” a photographic documentation of behind-the-scenes with the supergroup featuring Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.

The gala was attended by hundreds of writers, editors, producers and photographers and honored renowned songwriter Diane Warren, actress Angela Lansbury, and late-night talk show star Chelsea Handler.

‘Voices of Independent Artists Heard Tonight’

Dick Dale at the Whisky A Go-Go California Rocker Wins

The photo of Dick Dale taken at the Whisky A Go-Go was honored with a win in the action photo category – Photo © Donna Balancia

“I started California Rocker three years ago to give independent artists a voice,” Donna said. “Their voices were clearly heard tonight as our work was selected over that of the corporate media.  We will continue to work with up-and-coming and established musicians, writers and photographers so talent and truth can shine through.”

Previous wins include the work of Heather Harris in the LA Press Club’s first-ever Photo Essay category, for her images of musician James Williamson’s all-star concert at the Bootleg, and Donna’s image of Flyin’ Jay Armant, of the band Fishbone, launching into the crowd at the Roxy Theatre.

California Rocker has had several finalist designations and this year was no exception. California Rocker took three finalist designations among five in the action photo category and Suzanne’s Photo Essay was among three finalists.

CaliforniaRocker.com Nabs Four Finalist Nods for Arts and Entertainment Awards by Los Angeles Press Club

By JOHN DALY, CaliforniaRocker.com

HOLLYWOOD – CaliforniaRocker.com, a music industry website and fanzine published by Donna Balancia, received four National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards finalist designations, it was announced by The Los Angeles Press Club.

The finalist selections all came in the area of photography: Three images were in the Action Photography category and one finalist selection came in the Photo Essay category.

Suzanne Allison Witkin scored a Los Angeles Press Club nod with her photo essay, "On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires" - Photo courtesy Suzanne Witkin

Rock photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin scored an LA Press Club nod with her photo essay, “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires” – Photo courtesy Suzanne Witkin

“Our work reflects our commitment to the highest quality music journalism,” said publisher Donna Balancia. “Our independent website and fanzine strive to give up-and-coming as well as established musicians a voice amid the overwhelming coporate clatter.”

Winning Images: Hollywood Vampires, At The Drive-In

CaliforniaRocker.com, which first went live in 2014, dominated the photography categories, with photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin scoring for her Photo Essay called “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires.”  The project included a diary with exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos of Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry and all of The Hollywood Vampires.

Los Angeles Press Club Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium: A winning image – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

California Rocker Dominates Action Photos

CaliforniaRocker.com also scored a record three finalist designations in the Action Photo category. The photos, taken by Donna, captured Fishbone’s “Flyin’ Jay” Armant launching himself into the audience at The Roxy Theatre; Cedric Bixler-Zavala of the band At The Drive-In leaping into the air at The Hollywood Palladium, and the 80-year-old Dick Dale, “King of the Surf Guitar,” revving the audience with his upbeat music.

Los Angeles Press Club Suzanne Allison Witkin captured images of The Hollywood Vampires on their historic tour - Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin for CaliforniaRocker.com

Suzanne Allison Witkin captured images of The Hollywood Vampires on their historic tour – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin for CaliforniaRocker.com

 

Los Angeles Press Club Keeping Journalism Alive

“We are honored to be selected as finalists for the National Arts and Entertainment Awards,” Donna Balancia said. “The Los Angeles Press Club strives to keep journalism alive. We too not only support independent journalism, but through our stories and images we also help musicians at a time when the music business is extremely challenging.

“CaliforniaRocker.com has the best reviewers, writers and photographers in the music world working together with us, and we are delighted with the finalist designations.”

Los Angeles Press Club Fishbone image has been named a finalist in the action photo category of the National Arts and Entertainment Awards - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The remarkable ‘Flyin’ Fishbone’ image was captured by Donna Balancia at The Roxy Theatre – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Dick Dale Rips Up The Crowd; Mick Scott and Se7en Reasons Why Swing from Rafters on New Year’s

Dick Dale performs on New Year's Eve as wife Lana Dale looks on - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Dick Dale performs on New Year’s Eve as wife Lana Dale looks on – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Dick Dale Hosts Modern Day Surfer Stomp

By DONNA BALANCIA – Dick Dale still gets the crowds swooning with his cool surf style, bringing a rockin’ show to the Sunset Strip on New Year’s Eve.

“This was the most fun I’ve had on a New Year’s Eve,” said concert-goer Kathy. “I came with my friends and my heart is beating to see Dick Dale.”

See CALIFORNIA ROCKER PHOTO GALLERY BELOW

The mixed aged audience who came for the legendary Dale as well as opener Mick Scott and Se7en Reasons Why got their money’s worth on a chilly LA night to ring in 2016.

Se7en Reasons Why - Photo © 2016 Donna Balanci

Se7en Reasons Why – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Opener Scott, a veteran performer, kept the Whisky A Go Go audience engaged, doing everything from dropping to his knees to acrobatic kicks.  His band has got some chops with a unique grouping of drummer Anjilla Piazza, guitarist Jason Stalk and violinist Hiro Goto.

Scott is a local favorite who clearly is a showman, doing everything from high kicks to leaping up to the balcony at the Whisky, overcoming microphone problems and near-misses with audience members.

Dale’s physical appearance at 78 is remarkable and he has overcome many hurdles in his health, which he credits mainly to the love of his wife, Lana.

Dick Dale drumming on Sam's bass - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Dick Dale drumming on Sam’s bass – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

But the legendary Dale played some of the favorites, including “Let’s Go Trippin,'” and “Miserlou,” from Pulp Fiction.

He is at home on the stage, keeping company with Sam the bassist and Gary the drummer, and under the ever-watchful eye of his devoted wife, Lana Dale.

Still with the same sparkle and love of the performance, Dale kept the crowd hopping, tantalizing the veterans and younger people alike on a New Year’s Eve not to be beat.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”31″ gal_title=”Dick Dale NYE 2016″]

Guitar Legend Dick Dale to Play Whisky A Go Go on New Year’s Eve – The California Rocker Interview

The Original California Rocker: Dick Dale, King of the Surf Guitar, to play the Whisky A Go Go on New Year's Eve

The Original California Rocker: Dick Dale, King of the Surf Guitar, to play the Whisky A Go Go on New Year’s Eve

Creator of Surf Music, Dick Dale Still has Many Waves to Ride

By DONNA BALANCIA – Surf Guitar legend Dick Dale says his purpose is to inspire.

Dale, who is drawing more crowds than ever at 78 years old, is one of music’s greatest innovators. His surf guitar sound inspired a range of bands from The Beach Boys and The Surfaris, to The Cure.

And on New Year’s Eve, Dale will be inspiring people to ring in 2016 stronger than ever.  He headlines New Year’s Eve at the Whisky A Go Go in an all-ages show.

GET TICKETS FOR DICK DALE AT THE WHISKY 

“I love playing the Whisky,” Dale said in an interview with California Rocker. “And New Year’s Eve is always special. But I really want families to celebrate together, that’s why I always play an all-ages venue.  Parents bring their kids as young as 5 years old to come and see me.”

The band Se7en Reasons Why will support Dale on New Year’s Eve.

Dick Dale at the first Hollywood Surf Revival, The Hollywood Palladium, 1973 - Photo © 1973 Heather Harris

Dick Dale at the first Hollywood Surf Revival, The Hollywood Palladium, 1973 – Photo © 1973 Heather Harris

Dale, who the media tabbed “King of the Surf Guitar,” named after his second album, has enjoyed a diverse and fulfilling career.

Dale is the innovator of many of the things our culture takes for granted.  He is the creator of the surf rock genre, giving guitar performances a reverb sound that hadn’t been heard in 1960.

He created the “Surfer Stomp,” a phenomenon that started on Balboa Island and caught on throughout the nation.  It is said that Dick Dale and His Deltones drew so many surf-crazed teens in 1961 who jumped around in their sandals and sixties style, the noise was deafening.

Dick Dale’s Innovations Beyond Surf Music

He played his new-style surf music so loud, that he was brought in by the James B. Lansing speaker company to devise a more powerful amp than had ever been heard.  But Dale feels there’s still a lot he has yet to accomplish.

California Rocker Dick Dale: 'Music is my Medicine' - Photo © John Rudolph

Dick Dale: ‘Music is my Medicine’ – Photo © John Rudolph

“They say ‘Why don’t you retire, Dick?'”  Dale said.  “Well, there are two reasons I don’t retire: Playing music keeps me alive, and my music helps others.”

His hit, “Misirlou,” was the theme for the film Pulp Fiction, bringing his music to a new legion of young fans.

Dale said he has a special place in his heart for the Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip.  It’s always been considered The Big Time.

“In the ’60s I performed there and it was exciting,” Dale recalled. “The night was unbeliveable, the owners said they’d never seen a crowd like that. That was the night the late Keith Moon came to see me and we collaborated after that.”

Dale, who was born back east, traveled the world with his guitar and still graces the stage, despite his serious health issues.  While onstage, he plows through the pain.

He has learned to control the pain through his martial arts training.

“I’ve been doing martial arts all my life,” Dale says. “And I would ask, ‘Master, why can’t I be the greatest; Why can’t I be ‘unbeatable?’

“The master would answer: ‘You can, but you must give up your life, my son.’

Dick Dale and his Del-Tones

Dick Dale and his Del-Tones Greatest Hits 1961 – 1976

“So I have to tell you, if you’re a master of one, it’s awfuly dull,” Dale said. “You wouldn’t be able to talk to other people about a range of topics.”

‘Music Is Medicine for King of the Surf Guitar’

Dale still has the will to pursue his music — and his hobbies as well.  Maybe he might have had a wonderful career as an engineer, he says, as he loves to work with designs and blueprints — for everything ranging from homes to appliances — and he loves to putter around his humble Palmdale home.

And while he doesn’t brag, he is indeed a master of the sound of the Surf Guitar.  And in many respects he has —  as his martial arts master said he would have to — he devoted his entire life to that music.

Dale’s health concerns have made it all too clear to him that he is “merely human,” though his music — especially in the day — was out of this world.  He admits he has surpassed his own expectations.

Dale believes the good times are good, but don’t be too worried about the low times, he advises.

Dick Dale still rippin' - Photo © 1994 Heather Harris

Dick Dale still rippin’ it on the surf guitar – Photo © 1994 Heather Harris

“Don’t worry about yesterday and don’t worry about tomorrow,” he says. “Don’t worry about yesterday because it’s used. It’s either good or it leaves you feeling bad.  And don’t waste time or energy worrying about tomorrow.  I could have a stroke and be dead. That’s why they call it the present.  It’s a present.”

“I don’t go on stage to say Whoopie for me, I go on stage to play to the people,” he says. “If I see a country hat in the audience I’ll play country; if I see dreadlocks I’ll play Jamaican style. I play for all walks of life.

“Every note I play is to address the people I’m playing to,” Dale said. “There’s no better feeling than bringing the music to the people.”

TICKETS TO DICK DALE’S NEW YEAR’S EVE SHOW AT THE WHISKY

Tarantino’s Winter Western ‘Hateful Eight’ Boasts Hot, Classic Soundtrack

Hateful Eight Quentin Tarantino story California Rocker

Song list courtesy of The Film Stage

By DONNA BALANCIA – The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino’s winter western may have a cool look, but its soundtrack is hot.

And despite the star-studded Christmas picture having to overcome production issues — including whether or not it would get released — Tarantino’s music department never missed a beat.

Ennio Morricone scores The Hateful Eight, an epic shot in Ultra Panavision 70-mm film. It stars Kurt Russell, Samuel Jackson, Bruce Dern and Tim Roth.

The soundtrack includes songs by The Voodoos, Link Wray, The Rondells, Bob Dylan, and Muddy Waters.

Tarantino is a clear-headed artist who sticks to his guns and is known for his excellent taste in music. He takes pride in his musical selections, and has a knack for bringing to the public forefront long-buried sounds from appealing artists.

Tarantino single-handedly brought a mid-90s resurgence to the surf guitar music of Dick Dale, featuring the 1960s hit “Miserlou” on Pulp Fiction. (Dick Dale plays NYE at Whisky – info here)

Samuel Jackson stars in "Hateful Eight," Photo courtesy of Weinstein Company for California Rocker

Samuel Jackson stars in ‘Hateful Eight,’ Photo courtesy of Weinstein Company for California Rocker

Known as The King of the Surf Guitar, Dale told CaliforniaRocker.com how Tarantino approached him after a performance.

“He said, ‘I listened to your music and I want to create a masterpiece of a movie that complements the masterpiece of music you created,’” Dale told CaliforniaRocker.com in an interview.

The movie, of course, is the 1994 feature film Pulp Fiction. The film would breathe life into the careers of several of its participants besides Dale, most notably actor John Travolta.

Dick Dale tells California Rocker producer Donna Balancia all about "Pulp Fiction"

Dick Dale tells California Rocker producer Donna Balancia all about how Tarantino recruited him for ‘Pulp Fiction’

“Quentin told me he had had doors slammed in his face,” Dale recalled. “And he was very humble. And because he was humble, I took a liking to him. He said, ‘I have John Travolta,’ and I said ‘OK, sure, go for it.’”

Dale said when the film was completed, Tarantino sent a limo for Dale to come to a special screening.

We’ll have to wait and see who gets the limo ride for The Hateful Eight.

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Music is Medicine for ‘King of the Surf Guitar’

The King of the Surf Guitar, Dick Dale

The King of the Surf Guitar, Dick Dale

By DONNA BALANCIA — SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — For The King of the Surf Guitar, music is the medicine.

“I have to perform to stay alive,” said Dick Dale, whose trademark surf sound defined a generation and has since the sixties inspired musicians around the world.

“My mind is what pushes me through,” Dale told East Coast Rocker. “The doctors say, ‘You’re a tough son of a bitch. But let me tell you, I rode the pain train all through my operations.”

At 76 years old, Dale, who doesn’t smoke, drink or take any drugs, has had his share of health issues. Cancer and diabetes are atop a long list of diseases he battles with the help of his wife, Lana, who only leaves his side when he’s on stage.

Dale is playing The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano Saturday night, followed by gigs in Arizona, Texas and Louisiana, and Florida at the end of April. The touring is non-stop. CLICK HERE FOR DATES

But Dale, who came to California as a child said he’ll always love playing his home state and has a fondness for Southern California in particular.

“I love playing the Coach House,” Dale said. “The venue couldn’t be more fun and the food is great. It’s run the way a club is supposed to be run as far as the quality.”

But Dale’s words are not so kind for others. His illnesses have given him new insights into the failings of the healthcare system, particularly what he considers the disregard of lower-income retirees and veterans who have fought for our country.

“What is happening to our troops from a medical standpoint?” Dale asked. “What happens when they come home? I am blessed because I have my wife, Lana, but what do these troops have? They left their wives, their newborns, their families to fight for us, many have lost limbs and they come home to get no reward, whereas the politicians get insurance for the rest of their lives. What are the wounded getting?”

Dale, himself, was in the Air Force and was commended for his successes as an Air Force Firefighter. He wants the servicemen to be cared for and he doesn’t appreciate the supposed groups soliciting funds on their behalf over the telephone.

“I got all sorts of people calling to ask for money for the servicemen, the police and the firefighters, but I know that only a little bit of the money goes to them,” Dale said. “A friend of mine advised that anyone who wants to give money should bring the money directly to the source.”

Dale has succumbed to the sensibility of dietary restrictions, like cutting out sugar. He loves grape leaves and tabbouleh, much in keeping with his Lebanese heritage.

His music developed because of his Lebanese heritage as well, as he was always interested in working with Egyptian and Arabic beats and tunes. His famous Misirlou and his vast and legendary collection of surf songs was inspired by those familiar Middle Eastern sounds, only played at triple speed. Back in the 60s, it wasn’t initially accepted — not because of the region of origin — but because of the guitar.

“They called it devil music then,” Dale said. “Yes, that’s really true.”

The stories are well-documented that he and his father, who helped Dale book a gig at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa, would only get a permit to play if the kids attending wore ties. Dale’s dad grabbed a box of ties to hand out to the bare-footed surfer kids who wanted to attend the show, and history was made.

Dale had a strong relationship with Leo Fender who was like his second dad, Dale said and that friendship would last through the years.

His music survived the years, through the ups and downs, and while it has been debated that The British Invasion cut short the full potential growth of the surf sound, Dale was luckier than most musicians to get another shot at major fame.

Dale recalled the night when a young movie director came a knocking at his dressing room door. The director was Quentin Tarantino and he had something great in mind for Dale.

“He said, ‘I listened to your music and I want to create a masterpiece of a movie that complements the masterpiece of music you created.'”

The movie, of course was the 1994 feature film “Pulp Fiction.” The film would breathe life into the careers of several of its participants besides Dale, most notably John Travolta, who had been fighting a stigma of typecasting from his more recent feature comedies.

“Quentin told me he had had doors slammed in his face,” Dale recalled. “And he was very humble. And because he was humble, I took a liking to him. He said, ‘I have John Travolta,’ and I said ‘OK, sure, go for it.'”

When the film was completed, Dale said, Tarantino sent a limo for Dale to come to a special screening.

“The success of the film gave Quentin the last laugh because everybody shut the doors on him,” Dale said. “And it gave Travolta the last laugh, and so on.”

But for us and for The King of the Surf Guitar, it’s easy to tell that despite it all, he’s laughing — and his laughs are far from his last.

 

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