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The Buttertones: Dreamy Surf Guys Bring Their Cool California Style — And All the Girls — to The Hi Hat

New Album ‘Gravedigging’ is a Fun Retro Record


When you see The Buttertones, get ready for a new style of surfy beach music, cute guys and screaming women.

It’s part of The Buttertones’ scene and it’s a well-established routine. They’re not exactly The Beatles, but it’s the frenzy these guys cause among the females of Southern California that’s really something to see and appreciate. If they could put this kind of sex appeal in a bottle we’d all be better off.

The Buttertones, the women are falling for them - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Buttertones, the women are falling for them – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

We missed a few opportunities to see The Buttertones in the last six months, once at their Aquarium of the Pacific gig on New Year’s Eve and the other recently at The Bootleg. We hear The Bootleg gig was complete with not only the screaming, swooning females, but plenty of stage divers, leaping into the audience like lemmings over the cliff.

Buttertones at The Hi Hat – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

But we managed to catch them at The Hi Hat, one of our favorite venues in Los Angeles — after all, the staff is awesome and the place is big enough to hold all the fans The Buttertones bring in tow.

Check out The Buttertones’ new album, Gravedigging on Bandcamp.

The Buttertones put on an entertaining show. They light themselves up and then have their routine. The songs are fast-paced and fun and the guys dress respectfully, something that seems to be increasingly more common, buttoned shirt, ties and even socks!

Richard Araiza of The Buttertones – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Their recent album, Gravedigging, is a gas, with some killer tunes with catchy, simple titles including “Geisha’s Gaze,” “Ghost Safari,” “Sadie’s a Sadist,” and “Morroccan Monsoon.” All upbeat and rowdy in a surfy and snappy manner. This show is so worthwhile and moves fast.

Silent X wrapped up the night at The Hi Hat – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Buttertones are: Bassist Sean Redman, guitarist/singer Richard Araiza, drummer/polyinstrumentalist Modesto ‘Cobi’ Cobiån, saxophonist London Guzmån and guitarist Dakota Boettcher. All accomplished and impressive musicians, and cute to boot.

Matter Room was a fun opener, Espresso really cranked on the drums, Violet Mindfield held the audience spellbound and Silent X was a great topper on the evening.

Energetic and innovative: The Buttertones – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

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.


“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.”


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