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ENDLESS SURF, CONTINUED FROM PG. 20

Dick and Lana Dale

care of each other.” We discussed the trials that he goes through when he performs. Like the time right before a show in Las Vegas a couple of years ago when his colostomy bag broke as he was preparing to take the stage. He and Lana had forgotten to bring extras because they left home quickly that morning. “I had diarrhea coming all down my legs into my clothes and my pants, and my shirt. I’m supposed to be up on stage and I had to call Lana and go into the bathroom,” Dale explains with a laugh. “Lana washed my clothes out in the sink, I wrung them out and put them back on and did an hourand-a-half show soaking wet, and then I signed autographs for five-and-a-half hours after. “When I’m on stage, the pain can be excruciating. Someone has to help me up on stage because I can’t do it alone. There’s a part of my show where I play drums, and my drummer pulls my arm and my roadie pushes my butt to get up there. But I get up there.” Dale shares stories like this because he wants people in similar situations to see what can be accomplished through sheer willpower. “I’ll talk about it on stage,” he says. “I’ll tell them, ‘I don’t want to see anybody complaining about anything because I’m up here jumping around like a dummy.’” And that’s Dale’s other motivation for performing. He wants to reach out to people dealing with health situations like his, or even worse than his. He wants people to come to his shows to see what he endures. That’s why he’s so candid. “People come to my shows and they show me their scars. I’ve had paralyzed kids come in on gurneys because they want to see me, and I take time to talk with all of them,” he says. “I met a man who was sick

and dying, and began talking with him on the phone. He said, ‘Dick, you’re my idol and I plan to outlive these hospice workers if I have to, but I will be at your show.’ And he was. “I get that. Because I was told 20 years ago that I wouldn’t live much longer, but here I am. I believe our maker has kept Lana and I alive to give hope. We’re like Johnny Appleseed, crossing the country and sowing the seeds of survival.” If there’s one thing Dale knows, besides making some of the most beautiful guitar sounds anyone has ever produced, it’s survival. “When I go on stage, I’m in pain every night. But through the martial arts, I’ve learned to guide and deal with pain,” Dale says. “I play harder now than I ever have, and honestly when I go on stage I push a button. I swear at the pain. ‘Get out of my damn body; I’ve got to do a job!’” With the pain he’s currently in, Dale says Lana wanted to cancel the current tour, but he refused. He must work. For the money yes, but also, he says, for the people who come to see him. He has told many reporters, including myself, that when he dies he wants it to be “on stage in an explosion of body parts.” That could happen. Dying doesn’t scare Dick Dale; what scares Dick Dale is not living the life he wants. “You tell the people, ‘Don’t be scared of dying,’” he says. “When your mind leaves this body, it is a beautiful thing and it is not to be feared. Don’t let that fear of dying affect the way you live. “You take that fear and you use it as a driving force to keep moving forward, no matter how much pain you have. That’s how I do what I do on stage. I’m not afraid to die because it all gets beautiful from here.” C D E I T C H @ P G H C I T Y PA P E R. C OM

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PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER 07.29/08.05.2015

Profile for Pittsburgh City Paper

July 29, 2015  

Pittsburgh City Paper Volume 25 Issue 30

July 29, 2015  

Pittsburgh City Paper Volume 25 Issue 30