I'm excited to be a consultant and contributor for Vintage Rock magazine's Ritchie Valens 80th birthday tribute out today! Included in the feature is an excerpt of an interview that my twin sister Sherry and I secured as part of our project, The Surf Speaks: Voices of a Living History. The subject was Bob Hale, emcee of the Surf Ballroom's 1959 Winter Dance Party concert. It was an event that would shockingly prove only hours later to be the final career performances of rock 'n' roll pioneers and ascending stars Valens, Buddy Holly and "The Big Bopper" J.P. Richardson. Sherry and I co-founded The Surf Speaks project to document the legacy of the Surf Ballroom's annual commemoration of the Winter Dance Party that began in 1979 and has since been sustained by a global swath of rock and roll fans affectionately self-acknowledged as the "February Family."
Being in the room to hear Bob recount his witnessing the incredible heights of rock 'n' roll and then so suddenly meeting the dawn of such a tragedy and foundational shift in music history was an experience I'll never forget. Watch Bob's full interview here.
Many thanks to Carolyn Travis (Travisty Productions) and The Airplay Channel, a project inspired by her award-winning documentary "Airplay: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio," and to Ben Race from Capture Films UK who facilitated the February 6, 2016 interview.
Above Photos - Sherry Davis and Ben Race (February 6, 2016).
Locations - Surf Ballroom and Best Western Holiday Lodge (interview) in Clear Lake, Iowa.
Purchase your print or digital copy of the June/July 2021 issue of Vintage Rock magazine!