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Fun times and 'Dirty Water'

Dick Dodd, of the Standells, carries on with his musical muse.

April 05, 2013|By Jonny Whiteside
  • Dick Dodd, former lead singer and drummer of mid-60's Hollywood rockers the Standells, performs at Joe's Great American in Burbank.
Dick Dodd, former lead singer and drummer of mid-60's… (Courtesy of Dick…)

Dick Dodd is one of the most persuasive and recognizable voices in the classic American rock ’n’ roll pantheon.

Lead singer and drummer of mid-’60s Hollywood rockers the Standells, his declarative, sneering vocals on big-beat staples “Dirty Water,” “Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White” and “Riot on the Sunset Strip” established an electrifying new type of hard modern rock. When Dodd takes the stage at Burbank's Joe's Great American Bar on Sunday night, he'll not only bring all of that momentous rebel spirit, but also an impressive trove of show business experience that he'd accrued even before joining the Standells at age 18.

The lifelong Redondo Beach resident was a child prodigy whose talents as a dancer and singer landed him in Burbank in mid-1955 as one of the original Mickey Mouse Club's Mouseketeers.

“I was nine,” Dodd says. “We didn't have a car, so we had to leave at 5 in the morning to be at the studio at 8 o'clock. It was a long trip, and we took the bus five days a week. On the ride home, I'd do my homework and take a nap and then get up the next day and do it all over again. I bought my first snare drum from Annette [Funicello] and she had bought it from Cubby [O'Brien] — I paid I think 25 bucks.”

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After his stint at Disney, Dodd was hired as one of singer Giselle MacKenzie's musical Curfew Kids on her popular NBC variety show and performed, with MacKenzie and comic icon Jack Benny, in Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe.

But the drum he'd purchased from Funicello set the pace for his professional life, first as drummer for surf rock pioneers the Belairs (of “Mr. Moto” fame).

“I finally bought a full kit, but I was still using that snare. We were the surfers’ favorite because the Belairs were, pretty much, the first surf band to get any attention. We'd pack Columbus Hall every time we played and do it whenever we needed money. I was in there a couple of years, started around ’59, and then we formed Eddie & the Showmen, and we were playing up against Dick Dale, the king of the surf guitar.”

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