Saturday, June 07, 2008

The day I met Bo Diddley

By John Stephan

Bumbershoot Arts Festival, Seattle, Washington, 1981 or '82.

As a member of the Isaac Scott Band, I opened for Bo Diddley at the Mural Amphitheatre for a crowd of about 10,000. We'd played a great set, and they wanted an encore; much to the chagrin of Bo and his road manager, who was telling us to stop because "Bo's got to catch a plane after his set." This guy was pulling our AC cords out of the wall one minute, and then asking me if Bo could use my amp!

I had just about the only 100-watt Mesa Boogie amp in town, then. Bo was trying to connect my amp with an old rented blonde Fender Twin, as Jr. Cadillac (his backing band), a video cam operator, and 10,000 people watched on. The Twin was blowing a tube or whatever, and I refused to let him connect the two amps together. Bo, with a little piece of fried chicken hanging out of the corner of his mouth, had no more patience for me, and said "You don't understand- I don't play like you. I don't play that one-note shit, I get down!". Isaac was practically rolling on the stage laughing!

So Bo got up there and completely tore that crowd up! He was great, and had only 2 strings left on his guitar when it was all over (it still sounded about the same!). I grabbed my amp, and Bo caught his plane. He never thanked me! So goes the story of how I repaid my portion of the world debt to Bo Diddley for all the great music he's brought us.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bo Diddley is dead.

Bo Diddley - 1929 to 2008

To see Bo's NY Times obituary, click here. What are your favorite Bo Diddley tunes? Mine are "Roadrunner" and "Crackin' Up." Check this video out (my thanks to one of my favorite drummers, Russ Kammerer):