In his three years as a member of Dick Dale's road crew, Palmer "Ted" Feland played a behind-the-scenes part in helping the dynamic rock guitarist evoke, in waves of electric sound, what it's like to be pummeled by a raging surf.
Feland was taking a break from a film shoot with Dale near Malibu in September when he had a rougher brush with the actual phenomenon.
Dale and his band were set up on the beach at Point Dume, playing their part in a low-budget Adam West film called "American Vampire." The day was hot, and the delays were long, so Feland decided to go for a swim. He says he was standing in waist-deep water, watching some bodysurfers, when a big wave bore down on him and drove him hard into the ocean bottom.
Feland is mending, but disabling injuries to his sternum, neck, collarbone and vertebrae linger. With medical debts approaching $8,000 and his doctors talking about the need for more surgery, the 37-year-old Lomita resident is learning firsthand the worst part of being part of the rock 'n' roll rank-and-file--in which world travel and fun are typical fringe benefits but health insurance isn't.
What the surf took away from Feland financially, a lineup featuring some of surf-rock's definitive bands will seek to restore, at least in part, on Sunday with a daylong "Benefit for Ted" at the Galaxy Concert Theatre in Santa Ana. Dale tops the bill; before him come the Surfaris, who now include Paul Johnson, another leading '60s innovator of the surf-guitar sound. Other '60s veterans on the 12-act bill are the Chantays, the Lively Ones and Davie Allan & the Arrows. The bands are donating their performances, and all gate proceeds go to Feland.
The prime mover behind the surf-rock summit is Ron Eglit of Huntington Beach, who has been Dale's bass-playing sidekick since 1980.
As a concert promoter, Eglit said, "I'm kind of unqualified. I've never done anything at this end of the business. I'm going from scratch, wondering, 'What do I do?' "
A flier Eglit put out, advertising the show as "Concert of the Millennium," proves that he's catching on to how the promotion game is played. He credits Dale's attorney, Malcolm Wiseman, and local journalist and band manager Robert Fitzpatrick with giving him pointers and helping him make connections. Far more bands have volunteered to play, Eglit said, than he could possibly fit on the bill.
Feland is appreciative. A surf fan since his teens, he began going to Dale's shows about four years ago. At that time, Dale's wife, Jill, who is not a large woman, was in charge of lugging the heavy equipment; Feland volunteered his help and became friendly with the Dales. The former construction worker became Dale's full-time roadie in 1994, and the job has carried him across the United States and to Europe, Australia and Japan.
Feland says his injuries probably won't allow him to return to the heavy muscle-work he had been doing. He says doctors think he will be able to resume working by late summer, and he hopes to break into tour-managing, a more white-collar, logistics-coordinating job that would get him back on the road in a musical milieu.
Feland said that part of surf-rock's appeal for him has always been its sense of community spirit. Now that community is rallying around him.
"The surf bands have a good, positive attitude," he said. "They communicate and really support each other--even roadies."
* "Benefit for Ted," with Dick Dale, the Surfaris, the Chantays and others, takes place Sunday from 2 p.m. to about midnight at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana. $15. (714) 957-0600.
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'BENEFIT FOR TED'
* 2 p.m.: The Wedge
* 2:40: Bluebird
* 3:30: Evil Surf
* 4:20: Reventlos
* 5:20: The Tuners
* 6:10: The Torquays
* 6:55: The Lively Ones
* 7:40: The Chantays
* 8:20: Jon & the Niteriders, featuring guest Mike Palm of Agent Orange
* 9: Davie Allan & the Arrows
* 9:40: The Surfaris
* 10:30: Dick Dale