Dick Dale...still rockin' after all these years.
Dick Dale, the "King of the Surf Guitar", is still on the road, playing nearly every night. Is he doing it for the love of music? Not exactly. The 78-year-old guitar legend has twice suffered rectal cancer, had parts of his stomach and intestines removed, lives with renal failure, diabetes, a damaged vertebrae and to top it all off, his wife is suffering from multiple sclerosis. And that's why he's still on the road. From the
Pittsburgh City Paper:
“I have to raise $3,000 every month to pay for the medical supplies I need to stay alive, and that’s on top of the insurance that I pay for,” Dale explains. “The hospital says change your patch once a week. No! If you don’t change that patch two times a day, the fecal matter eats through your flesh and causes the nerves to rot and they turn black, and the pain is so excruciating that you can’t let anything touch it. That has happened to me because I was following the orders of the hospital.”
“Sure, I’d love to stay home and build ships in a bottle and spend time with my wife in Hawaii, but I have to perform to save my life,” he says. “I’ve been living like this for the past 15 years, but I’m still here and opening my eyes each morning.”
He may need help to get through a show, but he's determined to keep rocking and encourage others:
“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.”
“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.
Good for Dick Dale for carrying on, but what a shame he has to push himself so hard just to pay for medical treatment.