Media Life: Surf-guitar king Dick Dale set for Auburn holiday show

Auburn’s Greg Erwin and his band Saint Motel ripped off on road; “Dirty Jobs” likes Placer recycler; Kurt Barton’s scarecrows live on; Coloma highlighted on “Experience El Dorado”
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The King of Surf Guitar is coming to Auburn. Dick Dale is playing the Auburn Event Center on Dec. 19, bringing a muscular, vibrato-laden wash of sound to the city for a first-time appearance. An influence on musicians like Bruce Springsteen and a pioneer in instrumental surf music starting in the 1950s, the 72-year-old rocker is being brought to town by Scott Holbrook’s Keep Smilin’ Promotions and Paul Beatie of Auburn surf band The Pyronauts. The Pyronauts, who recently celebrated their 10th anniversary as a band, will open the all-ages show. They’ve opened in the past for a music legend whose shows amply demonstrate that his music’s about much more than “Miserlou.” The song was a minor hit in the early 1960s. But it revived Dale’s career in a big way in the 1990s when director Quentin Tarantino featured it in “Pulp Fiction.” RUDE ROAD AWAKENING Life on the road turned ugly last week for Placer High School grad Greg Erwin and his Los Angeles-based band Saint Motel. Erwin and his bandmates were on their way to New York City for their Big Apple debut at the prestigious CMJ music showcase when their van was broken into while they were doing a daytime TV appearance in Chicago. The thieves got away with ipods, laptops and cameras. Erwin also lost his wallet. The van break-in turned into interview fodder when they made it to New York, appearing for a couple of songs on Fox News’ online show with expatriate Sacramento radio personality Laura Ingle, host of “Strategy Room.” Erwin has been drumming with Saint Motel as it makes its musical name by headlining shows at top L.A. clubs like The Viper Room and The Troubadour. It has also just released a debut EP called “ForPlay” through its own On The Records label. And in case the Erwin name sounded familiar, you may have seen it in the news locally. His mother, Dena Erwin, is a former Auburn Journal reporter and now works as public information officer for the Placer County Sheriff’s Department. DIRTY JOBS VISITS A Roseville recycler’s world-class shredder has caught the attention of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs.” Show host Mike Rowe dropped into Sims Recycling Solutions’ Roseville plant to film a “Dirty Jobs” episode focused on green businesses. When the segment airs Nov. 3, viewers will see Rowe at the controls of one of North America’s largest e-waste shredders. Each blade in the machine weighs about 13 pounds and, according the Sims people, can break down electronic waste to the size of a dime in about 30 seconds. As an encore, Rowe went to the place where big-screen TVs go to die and dismantled some old cathode-ray tube electronics – one of the largest and most difficult-to-handle components out there in the e-waste world. How dirty was it, in the end? Well, word from the Sims Recycling folks is that Rowe left with a few smudges on his shirt – but a deeper appreciation for the recycling of electronics. BOOKS AND BARTON Heads up on the latest Kurt Barton creation. The Meadow Vista scarecrow artist who wows ‘em each year at the Auburn Community Festival has managed to smoosh this year’s creation through the front doors of the Auburn Library and it will be on display there through the end of November. “Mr. Maize and his Corn Butter” is a Rube Goldberg-worthy take on the manufacturing process. It’s worth a look if you missed it at the festival. HISTORY IN FOCUS “Experience El Dorado” is delving into history on Sunday with its fifth episode. The magazine-style TV series featuring actor Perry King airs at 5 p.m. on Sacramento’s News10. The cameras – under the eye of Emmy-winning videographer Todd Stanley of Lotus – zero in on Marshall Gold Discovery Park in Coloma, downtown Placerville and the El Dorado County Historic Museum. Sad to say, there won’t be a chance to linger over Placerville’s famous Hangtown Fry (scrambled eggs mixed with bacon and oysters). The Hangtown Grille was the last eatery there to offer the dish on the menu and a visit to Placerville earlier this month found the restaurant closed. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at or 530-852-0232.