We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
One can trace the beginning of the surf-music revolution to the stage at Carnegie Hall on the night of Jan. 16, 1938. On that date, the Benny Goodman’s band played the show-stopping number “Sing Sing Sing,” featuring nearly 12 minutes of Gene Krupa’s thunderous primal drumming, and had the foresight to record the proceedings. Krupa became the first celebrity drummer, eventually leaving Goodman to form his own band, which recorded many songs arranged around incessant tom-tom beats. But “Sing Sing Sing” remains his signature piece, as well as one of the all-time great proto-rock ‘n’ roll recordings, and one of the kids who fell under the tune’s spell was Dick Dale (pictured)—the King of the Surf Guitar. In crafting his signature surf sound, Dale has often credited Krupa as his main inspiration, admitting that he takes a drummer’s approach to guitar playing, translating the wild percussive rhythms he hears in his head to six strings. Whatever, it works, and Dale has rightly kept his crown all these years. It may be hard to hear the drummer’s influence in the guitarist’s trebly arpeggios, but Dale and Krupa share a commitment to crowd-pleasing, sweat-soaked musical histrionics. Surf’s up at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 19, at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $16.50. (703) 549-7500. (Dave Nuttycombe)