His real name is Richard Monsour
. You can see
why he get a nice stage name
Dick Dale is the king of the surf guitar. A former surfer (before his surfing led to a near-gangrenous leg; now he's an environmental activist) and self-taught guitarist, he damn near singlehandedly created the 'surf music' genre that was later brought into extreme popularity during the early 60s. His album Surfer's Choice is the true classic of the genre.
Dick Dale pioneered a few areas of rock - the use of reverb (although his first albums, including Surfer's Choice, had no reverb in the guitar), the powerful use of the electric guitar (which later heavily influenced Jimi Hendrix), and most importantly, the use of Extreme Ear-Bleeding Volume. Leo Fender built custom, extremely high wattage amps (for the time, 85 watts was a bunch) exclusively for Dale, who would then wire a bunch of them together because they weren't loud enough. He became a minor celebrity just for the way that he'd leave a club's PA system in a complete and utter shambles. In the 80's, Australians called him 'louder than Motorhead'. Some of the extreme volume is probably achieved by his use of only the thickest guitar strings known to man (oh, yeah, did I mention he was the first to play his guitar backwards and upside-down?)
After the British Invasion, surf music went into remission, until 1993 and 1994, when Dale's new album Tribal Thunder (the second-best surf guitar album ever; contains the song Nitro, which shreds) was released, and Pulp Fiction came out. The theme song to Pulp Fiction was Miserlou, Dale's best, most intense song. Between the excellence of Tribal Thunder and the popularity of Pulp Fiction, surf music made a small comeback. Dick Dale now tours regularly, killing eardrums all across the globe.
I recently got to see Dick Dale live... maybe I'll node that later.