When a Dunn native’s guitar struck terror in hearts of cities

“[The documentary] ‘Rumble’ takes its name from a seminal slice of rock ’n’ roll created by guitarist Link Wray, a Shawnee Indian from [Dunn] North Carolina. A 1958 hit, Rumble introduced the world to the ‘power chord.’ The song was banned in New York and Boston for fear that the mere sound of that amped-up guitar might incite riots. ‘Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck used to play air guitar to Rumble,’ [executive producer Stevie] Salas said. ‘But when I told Jeff that Link was Indian, his jaw dropped.’

” ‘When Link Wray was a boy, the grand wizard of the KKK made a deliberate attempt to go after indigenous people,’ [director Catherine ] Bainbridge said. ‘When his mom was 10 years old and walking to school, a bunch of white girls surrounded her and broke her back. She wore a brace for the rest of her life. That’s the violence Link came out of.’ ”

— From ” ‘Buried history’: unearthing the influence of Native Americans on rock ‘n’ roll” by Jim Farber in the Guardian (July 19)

David Menconi wants to know why Link Wray isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Me too!

 

Addressing WWI, N.C. clergy presented disunited front

“Ministers from mainstream Southern denominations preached pro-war sermons, such as the one delivered by the Presbyterian minister in Dunn, North Carolina, in January 1918 and headlined in the Raleigh News & Observer: ‘Teutons Cannot Win, Proof from Bible.’

“Other Christians had different views. In March 1917, before the declaration of war, a group of ministers from Littleton, North Carolina, wrote to [House Majority Leader] Claude Kitchin that ‘War entered into until every effort that can be made to avert it is made is murder.’… ”

— From “Rich Man’s War, Poor Man’s Fight: Race, Class, and Power in the Rural South” by Jeanette Keith (2004)

 

‘Pearl was there’ for Kerouac (just not in Dunn)

“[Dean Moriarty — that is, Neal Cassady] and I suddenly saw the whole country like an oyster for us to open; and the pearl was there, the pearl was there. Off we roared south. We picked up another hitchhiker. This was a sad young kid who said he had an aunt who owned a grocery store in Dunn, North Carolina, right outside Fayetteville. ‘When we get there can you bum a buck off her? Right! Fine! Let’s go!’ We were in Dunn in an hour, at dusk. We drove to where the kid said his aunt had the grocery store. It was a sad little street that dead-ended at a factory wall. There was a grocery store but there was no aunt. We wondered what the kid was talking about. We asked him how far he was going; he didn’t know. It was a big hoax; once upon a time, in some lost back-alley adventure, he had seen the grocery store in Dunn, and it was the first story that popped into his disordered, feverish mind. We bought him a hot dog, but Dean said we couldn’t take him along because we needed room to sleep and room for hitchhikers who could buy a little gas. This was sad but true. We left him in Dunn at nightfall.”

— From “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac (1957)