Hipsters, music nostalgists and the downright adventurous gathered for a night of what rock n’ roll was meant to be: an abusively loud show, a flashy frontman and lightning fast licks, all in a packed, smoky club


Dick Dale Thursday, May 10, 2007 - The Picador - Iowa City, Iowa

Hipsters, music nostalgists and the downright adventurous gathered for a night of what rock n’ roll was meant to be: an abusively loud show, a flashy frontman and lightning fast licks, all in a packed, smoky club.

Bringing surf sounds to the heart of the Midwest, Dale put on an electric show for a crowd that spanned the gamut – some of the audience was old enough to remember Dale’s debut album, while others gathered to finally see the man who had given the world (and Pulp Fiction) the surf masterpiece, “Miserlou.” Dressed smartly in a jacket, a hilarious “Dick Dale for President” t-shirt and trademark headband, Dale prowled the stage, enjoying every moment of it – not bad for a road warrior entering his seventh decade.

His band moved fluidly between classic surf rock and bluesy singa- longs, most notably the spirited renditions of “House of the Rising Sun” and “What I’d Say.” Dale’s gold-speckled Stratocaster filled the room with reverb-drenched tone – astute concertgoers noticed Dale’s reverb tank suspended from the rafters. He frequently stood on the edge of the stage and invited curious audience members to inspect his technique while he floated up and down the fretboard in grand style.

As the night progressed, Dale spent some time showing off his instrumental versatility, playing drums and bass, as well as pulling the trumpet out for a few tunes. Between riffs and crescendos, he told stories and joked with the audience. It all harkened back to the days when musicians were more than just that – they were consummate entertainers. And even though Dale is enduring a brutal schedule (38 shows in 42 days), he kept the energy level high and put on a show that kept everyone smiling into the early hours of Friday.


A bone nut being back-filed for proper string placement and correct action height.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to change your acoustic guitar’s tone and playability.

In my early days, all the guitars I played (which all happened to be pre-1950s) used bone nuts and saddles. I took this for granted, and so did my musician friends. With the exception of the ebony nuts on some turn-of-the-century parlors and the occasional use of ivory, the use of bone was a simple fact of our guitar playing lives, and alternative materials were simply uncommon to us.

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While Monolord has no shortage of the dark and heavy, guitarist and vocalist Thomas V Jäger comes at it from a perspective more common to pop songsmiths.

Photo by Chad Kelco

Melodies, hooks, clean tones, and no guitar solos. Are we sure this Elliott Smith fan fronts a doom-metal band? (We’re sure!)

Legend has it the name Monolord refers to a friend of the band with the same moniker who lost hearing in his left ear, and later said it didn’t matter if the band recorded anything in stereo, because he could not hear it anyway. It’s a funny, though slightly tragic, bit of backstory, but that handle is befitting in yet another, perhaps even more profound, way. Doom and stoner metal are arguably the torch-bearing subgenres for hard rock guitar players, and if any band seems to hold the keys to the castle at this moment, it’s Monolord.

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