Monday, June 30, 2008

99 Problems and Oasis aint one


Check out this clip - introduction from our boy Zane Lowe, getting paid to watch Jay Z. Damn, that's hard work.

From Idolator - "After months of buildup, Jay-Z played his much-discussed headlining set at the Glastonbury Festival last night, and he opened it with a special dedication to Oasis' Noel Gallagher, who was quoted in the buildup to the festival as saying that Jay was an inappropriate addition to the Glasto bill because it was "built on a tradition of guitar music." Jay strolled out with a guitar, strumming and warbling along, last-call-on-a-long-night-style, to "Wonderwall" before breaking into "99 Problems." I think this is a way to tell Gallagher "your move," although I shudder to think what an Oasis cover of "Big Pimpin'" might sound like. [YouTube]

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ring The Alarm, BaseFM, June 28 playlist
Womack and Womack - Teardrops
Karl Hector and the Malcouns - Sahara swing
Willie Royal - General alarm
Lee Perry - Venus
Al Brown - Aint no love in the heart of the city
Junior Murvin - Cool out son
Quantic - Cuidad del swing
Budos band - Chicago falcon
Brighton port authority (aka Fatboy Sliim) feat Iggy Pop - He's Frank (check their new video!)
James White and the Blacks - Contort yourself (August Darnell remix)
Tom Tom Club - Genius of love
James Brown - There was a time (Kenny Dope remix)
Commodores - Rapid fire
Young Holt Unlimited - Superfly
Gussie P - To love somebody dub

Credit to the edit set...
Al Green - Love and happiness (Shoes edit)
Love Unlimited Orchestra - King kong (Danny Krivit edit)
Aretha Franklin - Rocksteady (Danny Krivit edit)
Quincy conserve - Same old feeling (Peter Mac edit - exclusive)
Beginning of the end - Funky Nassau (Friction re-edit)
Willie Bobo - Spanish grease (Peter Mac edit - exclusive)

The Snugs - Trying
Mungo's Hifi feat Kenny Knots - Rock inna dancehall
Mungo's Hifi feat Top Cat - Herbalist (Ing remix)
Mungo's Hifi - Maryjane version
Rhombus feat Ranking Joe - Babylon retreat
Venetian snares - Black sabbath
Unitone Hifi - Up to eleven

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rip it up and start again
Go read Chris Bourke looking back on Rip It Up magazine... "Each year as New Zealand Music Month comes round, it feels good to see the bulls-eye T-shirt so widespread on our streets. But May isn’t the right month to celebrate New Zealand music: it should be June. It was in June 1977 that Rip It Up first appeared, and more than any other factor it changed the way New Zealanders perceive their own music.

Rip It Up only survived because of the tenacious, stubborn Murray Cammick, who founded it with his friend Alastair Dougal. Music journalism in print has never created a hit record – reading about music doesn’t make thousands beat a path to their store – but the impact of Rip It Up has been slow-burning and effective.

While persuading the public that its music was worthwhile, Rip It Up has also inspired many to choose journalism or photography or graphic design as a career. That comes down to the astute judgement of Cammick. Whenever any former staffers meet, we agree on one thing: Murray is the smartest editor we have ever worked for..."
More here. Hat tip to Idealog.


Also spotted at Idealog... as featured in their March/April issue, now online too...

How to turn sex, drugs and rock’n’roll into peace, love and a tidy campsite

Brian Ruawai is used to not being taken seriously. With his faded jeans, well-worn t-shirt, and thick, authentically unkempt dreadlocks, he looks more like the singer in a reggae band than a successful businessman.

In fact, he’s both. Ruawai is the frontman of Cornerstone Roots, the promoter of Raglan’s Soundsplash music festival and the driving force behind three limited liability companies. For Ruawai, business and roots music go together like surf wax and sand.

“I just enjoy it all, the whole thing,” Ruawai says. “Some people say music is the filthiest business in the world, but I kinda like it.” Link.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

There is no depression in New Zealand
99% of the time I like to write about music here, because music makes me happy. But then there's that irritating blip when the real world intervenes. I read this earlier today, and I still can't quite believe it.

National Party leader John Key claimed on Newstalk ZB that "One of the things that is unique about New Zealand is we're not a country that has come about as a result of civil war or where there has been a lot of fighting internally." (Link to No Right Turn)

Excuse me? Say what?

One of the biggest literary successes in recent years is the excellent History of New Zealand by well-respected author, the late Michael King. It sold out its first print run of 10,000 copies, and has gone on to sell over 230,000. Clearly, John Key was not among those of you who bought a copy, or read it.

Key cannot remember where he stood on the 1981 Springbok tour either - surprising for a then 19-year old student. And he wants to be your next prime minister.

But look! Now he says his comments were taken out of context.

Dear John Key, Please go home, boil the jug, and make yourself a nice big cup of SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Beats for daze
"MRR-ADM (Michael Raymond Russell & Adam Douglas Manella) are the San Diego based production duo previously heard as Sound In Color’s MHE. They released a privately pressed untitled 10” EP limited to 1000 pieces featuring Malcom Catto (B1 - Bass, B2 - Drums, Bonus Beat - Drums) & Mike Burnham (Mixed at Tardis) & Jeannette Deron (B1 - Guitar).
www.dirtydrums.com is their site where you may play drums by typing on your computer keyboard. Once the drums have been loaded, an internet connection is no longer needed to play them."

Download it for free (legit) from Last.fm here.


Whatcha want?
From The Playlist - "Despite having a movie that boasts tracks by Jay-Z, the Notorious B.I.G., Nas, million-plus seller Lil Wayne, Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys (a new track recorded for the film, titled "Bass Line Is Nice"), director and B-Boy Adam Yauch says there will be no soundtrack CD to his upcoming basketball documentary "Gunnin' For That #1 Spot." “The music industry is having so much trouble right now that nobody really wanted to pay for the clearances,” Yauch lamented to New York magazine.

It's kind of sad considering that everyone who has actually seen the film makes note of how music-centric it is. NYMag says the film is filled with new Beastie tracks (plural, their must be another) and a mix of seventies R&B and funk (strangely they make no mention of the aforementioned hip-hop).

In an Apple store Q&A during the Tribeca Film Festival, the interviewer hosting the talk said the film was filled with good music. Asked about his approach for the music Yauch said, "Music and film is both about pacing and shaping thing together. We were just looking for music that has the right feel in the scenes. There wasn't a specific agenda other than we were trying to pick a lot of New York music because the film is a NY based film. Sometimes [we'd look for] themes in the lyrics, but it was mostly just playing around [with songs] and seeing what felt right."
Link

Watch: " Gunnin' For That #1 Spot" Preview trailer

Friday, June 20, 2008

Black gladiator
More on Bo Diddley via WFMU's blog... good roundup of music blogs on Mr Diddley...

Gladiator "Of course, the saddest news on the music blogs in the past couple of weeks has been the passing of Bo Diddley. In memory of this bona-fide legend, The B Side pulls out one of his usual comprehensive tributes, as does Living In Stereo, and of course, Reverend Frost, who idolized the man. And don't miss out on the story of Bo's run in with Ed Sullivan. You can explore his music by starting with some classic tracks, then some Rare & Well Done (courtesy of this very blog), then jump into the funk-blues of 1970's Black Gladiator and 1971's Another Dimension, then wind down with Bo on stage Live In '82. As for his lasting influence, you can always take a listen to the Animals' "Story of Bo Diddley", or check out some 60s garage covers, as well as look at songs that use the famous Diddley beat. And then of course there is his influence on Maureen Tucker, so we have to throw in some VU songs as well.

But there is one song in particular that lyrically stands as the most fitting Bo Diddley epitaph, from his 1976 album The 20th Anniversary of Rock'N'Roll.
Listen to: Bo Diddley, "Kill My Body"

Thursday, June 19, 2008



Picasso core
Facebook generally annoys the crap outta me - endless messages clog my email about a new video on my superwall, or invites to events in other countries. But earlier this week, our old manager, Lisa van der Aarde, scanned a bunch of old photos of Hallelujah Picassos and put them up on her Facebook page.

I had a great time adding comments to the various pics, and so did a few other old mates from that era, now spread across the globe (Singapore, Sydney, London...) I copied some of them and made a slide show and have put it up on the Picassos Myspace page, so go have a look, if you're so inclined.

Also added a few new songs there too, including our cover of the late, great Mr Bo Diddley's classic Who Do You Love?, recorded in one take live at Frisbee.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Best awards acceptance speech ever.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's acceptance speech for Best Original Score (music & lyrics) for 'In the Heights' at the 2008 Tony Awards. Dude raps his acceptance speech. Beautiful.
Link. (Hat tip to Different Kitchen)

Monday, June 16, 2008




Ring The Alarm, BaseFM, June 14 playlist
Koliphones - Jungle concerto
BT Express -Peace pipe
Azymuth - Estrada dos denses (Recloose re-edit)
Bruise n cuts - Down the road
Prince fatty -Gin and juice
Miles Davis- So what (Shoes reggae re-edit)
Pitch black - Flex (Son Sine remix)
Marlena Shaw - California soul (Diplo remix)
Lightning head - Bookor sound special
Katalyst & Stephanie Mckay - Jackson ave
Led Zeppelin - Trampled underfoot (John Daly edit)
NERD feat Santogold (who is touring as support for Coldplay????) - My drive thru
Benga - 26 basslines
Freddie Cruger - Running from love
Barrington Levy - Many changes in life/dub

Tribute to Big Matt... 26-09-1964 to 15-06-2007
Brentford allstars - Racetrack
Lopez Walker -Jah jah new garden
Skatalites -Collie bud
Le Peuple de l'herbe -Reggaematic
Million dan - Dogs n sledges
Mad lion - Take it easy
Courtney melody -Bad boy
PD Sydnicate - Ruff like me (Shy FX and T-Power remix)
Yush 2K - Fade away
Jackie Mittoo - Earthquake


Gaslamp killer -Showstopper
Dam funk - Rollin
Bettye Lavette - I just dropped in...
Ahmed Fakroun - Yo son (Prince Language edit)
Tarrus Riley - Protect your neck
Kolab - Sideways (Dub Asylum remix)
Lil Wayne - Dr Carter

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shock Horror! Advertising uses stock images!
And guess what? That's news. No wonder I don't bother with the evening news any more.
La La La
Via Coolfer: "A report this morning by Fox News' Roger Friedman claims Capitol Music Group head Jason Flom and Capitol Records president Lee Trink will exit their roles at EMI and will not be replaced. The folks at Terra Firma, Friedman wrote, do not believe in label presidents...which means Coldplay will soon release the most important album of the Terra Firma/EMI era without anybody helming the ship. (Friedman is told all EMI labels will have "president of A&R" roles and heads of marketing, but no label presidents.)"

The article also notes "More perilous is the situation at Blue Note and Manhattan Records, two highly successful divisions of EMI run by Bruce Lundvall and Ian Ralfini. Their artists include top-selling acts such as Norah Jones and Celtic Woman. Lundvall is sort of the Clive Davis of EMI and may get the same kind of deal as Davis now at Sony BMG — sort of president emeritus. But even that is unclear, since Hands and friends are said not to have contacted him yet."

Lundvall is responsible for signing NZ singer Hollie Smith to Manhattan/Blue Note.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

We'll be right back, after this word

DOWNLOAD:Steinski - The Payoff Mix (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Steinski - Lesson Two (James Brown Mix) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Steinski - Lesson Three (History of Hip Hop) (MP3)

Steinski

For decades, cult hero Steinski has reigned as an underground legend of the truest sort. Thanks to the nasty killjoy known as copyright law, Steinski's wildly influential old-school sound collages (known as "Lessons") have been furtively passed from DJ to DJ and hip-hop head to hip-hop head without receiving a legal release. Hell must have frozen over, because Steinski has finally gone semi-legit with Illegal Arts' awesomely essential two-disc career retrospective, What Does It All Mean? [Onion AV Club]
"From DJ Shadow to Girl Talk to Cut Chemist and beyond, artists large and small have tipped their sonic hats in his direction." [WIRED]

Check it out. Stream the whole album for free.



“Following “The Payoff Mix,” also known as “Lesson 1,” Steinski and Double Dee (as they dubbed themselves) assembled their second piece, “Lesson 2 (James Brown Mix)” – the second in their highly influential trio of hip-hop history lessons. A modern listener will recognize most of the samples in this one, with everyone from Pop Will Eat Itself to Missy Elliott copping them in the years since. “Lesson 3 (History of Hip Hop),” from 1986, rolls up jazz, funk, films and sound effects into a rowdy, insane collection of beats and chopped-up songs.

These three mixes came to be known as “The Lessons,” and have been inspirational to countless bands since then, though the songs themselves have remained somewhat shadowy in great part due to the legal concerns. With literally a hundred samples or more each, getting clearance is probably impossible. These works of genius are living examples of the problems with existing copyright laws, and, since their release, have been more or less impossible to purchase. But that hasn’t stopped them from spreading and inspiring artists like Coldcut, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist.” – Dusted Magazine

links - STEINSKI | STEINSKI MYSPACE
NY state of mind
While promoting his Sirius Satellite Radio Show, 'New York Shuffle,' rocker Lou Reed lost his marbles. During an interview with New York magazine, Reed responded to writer Andrew Goldstein's question about the pending merger of Sirius and rival XM with a verbal can of whoop-ass.

Here's how it went:

Goldstein: "Sirius' impending merger with XM is anticipated to boost earnings. Do you own any stock in the company?"

Reed: "What are you, a f---ing a--hole? I'm here telling you the truth about music and you want to know if I have stock in the f---ing radio? You f---ing piece of s---. What did I do to deserve that?" Link - Spinner.com.

ADDED: spotted a bunch of other interesting stuff at Spinner -Grandmaster Flash talks about his autobiography... Bobby Womack interviewed... and James Brown remixed by Kenny Dope - free mp3, off Verve Remixed vol 4. It's incredibly good. Seriously. Go get it now.
Oh, and this one - Charles Bradley and the Bullets free Mp3 off Daptone 7 inch Singles Collection Vol 2.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Ring The Alarm, BaseFM, June 7 playlist
Mighty Mo - The next message
Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley
Natural youghurt band - Soft cheese
Butch Cassidy sound system - Brothers and sisters
Horace Andy - My heart is gone dubwise
Reuben Bell - Superjock
Marlena Shaw - California soul (Diplo remix)
Ocote soul sounds - Divinorum (Quantic remix)
Sister Nancy - Transport connection
Revolutionaries - Skanking
Dub traffik control - Fresh prince of Babylon
Bo Diddley - Hit or miss
Bits and pieces - Don't stop the music
Lebron Bros - Salsa y control
Djalma Dias & Sambossa 5 - Cicade vazia
Scientist - Don't rush the dub
Sharon Jones & the Dapkings - I Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Is In
James Brown - There was a time (Kenny Dope remix)
Build an ark - Door of the cosmos take 1
Congos - Congoman (Carl Craig edit)
Unitone Hifi - Up to eleven
Little John - Fade away
Phillis Dillon - Woman of the ghetto
Hortense Ellis - People make the world go round
O'Donel Levy - People make the world go round
Anglea Bofill - People make the world go round (found this on vinyl in Real Groovy for $5! Very happy)
Poopee and the NY squirrels - Bust that nut (Downtown mix)
Bo Diddley - I'm a man
Bo Diddley - I don't like you
Bo Diddley - I'm a roadrunner

Friday, June 06, 2008



Rough trade
"Chris Rock has been enjoying his time in London, and popped into Rough Trade Records to do some shopping. Staff were so excited they asked him to sign the ceiling.

He wrote “I love crack”.

[Gotta love Pop Bitch.]

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bic Runga And Weird Al in the same room...
Franklin Ave blog reviews Flight of the Conchords LA show.... snip...

"First up, New Zealand-based singer Bic Runga performed a handful of acoustic songs with her guitar; comedian Aziz Ansari ("Human Giant") hit the stage. Ansari's irony-laced humor fit well as an opening act for the ironic Conchords. Ansari mixes guerilla humor with more mainstream takes on every day life. One of his more benign takes is on the gluttonous experience of Coldstone Creamery.

Ansari recounted the time he stuck a dollar in the tip jar at the Creamery -- and the workers behind the counter began dancing and singing -- but replacing the lyrics to popular tunes with Coldstone Creamery-related lyrics.

"They were like fifth-rate Weird Al impersonators," he screamed.

The crowd went nuts. Ansari continued to tell his joke, but the crowd wouldn't stop screaming. Ansari finally stopped, mid-sentence.

"What, is Weird Al here?" he joked.

The crowd screamed harder, and the house lights went up. Weird Al stood up and waved. Ansari was dumbfounded.

"I figured, either the joke was that good, or Weird Al was here," he said. "And I knew the joke wasn't that good!" Link.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Bo Diddley, Who Gave Rock His Beat, Dies at 79

By BEN RATLIFF,The New York Times, June 3, 2008

[Here's some history on Bo Diddley. If you aint up on him, give it a read, then go buy some of his music.]

In the 1950s, as a founder of rock ’n’ roll, Mr. Diddley — along with Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and a few others — helped to reshape the sound of popular music worldwide, building on the templates of blues, Southern gospel, R&B and postwar black American vernacular culture.

His original style of rhythm and blues influenced generations of musicians. And his Bo Diddley syncopated beat — three strokes/rest/two strokes — became a stock rhythm of rock ’n’ roll.

It can be found in Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away,” Johnny Otis’s “Willie and the Hand Jive,” the Who’s “Magic Bus,” Bruce Springsteen’s “She’s the One” and U2’s “Desire,” among hundreds of other songs.

Yet the rhythm was only one element of his best records. In songs like “Bo Diddley,” “Who Do You Love,” “Mona,” “Crackin’ Up,” “Say, Man,” “Ride On Josephine” and “Road Runner,” his booming voice was loaded up with echo and his guitar work came with distortion and a novel bubbling tremolo. The songs were knowing, wisecracking and full of slang, mother wit and sexual cockiness. They were both playful and radical.

So were his live performances: trancelike ruckuses instigated by a large man with a strange-looking guitar. It was square and he designed it himself, long before custom guitar shapes became commonplace in rock.

Mr. Diddley was a wild performer: jumping, lurching, balancing on his toes and shaking his knees as he wrestled with his instrument, sometimes playing it above his head. Elvis Presley, it has long been supposed, borrowed from Mr. Diddley’s stage moves; Jimi Hendrix, too.

Still, for all his fame, Mr. Diddley felt that his standing as a father of rock ’n’ roll was never properly acknowledged. It frustrated him that he could never earn royalties from the songs of others who had borrowed his beat.

“I opened the door for a lot of people, and they just ran through and left me holding the knob,” he told The New York Times in 2003.

He was a hero to those who had learned from him, including the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. A generation later, he became a model of originality to punk or post-punk bands like the Clash and the Fall.

In 1979 Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon of the Clash asked that Mr. Diddley open for them on the band’s first American tour. “I can’t look at him without my mouth falling open,” Mr. Strummer, star-struck, said during the tour.

For his part Mr. Diddley had no misgivings about facing a skeptical audience. “You cannot say what people are gonna like or not gonna like,” he explained later to the biographer George R. White. “You have to stick it out there and find out! If they taste it, and they like the way it tastes, you can bet they’ll eat some of it!”

Mr. Diddley was born Otha Ellas Bates in McComb, Miss., a small city about 15 miles from the Louisiana border. He was reared primarily by Gussie McDaniel, the first cousin of his mother, Esther Wilson. After the death of her husband, Ms. McDaniel, who had three children of her own, took the family to Chicago, where young Otha’s name was changed to Ellas B. McDaniel. Gussie McDaniel became his legal guardian and sent him to school.

He was 6 when the family resettled on Chicago’s South Side. He described his youth as one of school, church, trouble with street toughs and playing the violin for both band and orchestra, under the tutelage of O. W. Frederick, a prominent music teacher at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Gussie McDaniel taught Sunday school. Ellas studied classical violin from 7 to 15 and started on guitar at 12, when a family member gave him an acoustic model.

He then enrolled at Foster Vocational School, where he built a guitar as well as a violin and an upright bass. But he dropped out before graduating. Instead, with guitar in hand, he began performing in a duo with his friend Roosevelt Jackson, who played the washtub bass. The group became a trio when they added another guitarist, Jody Williams, then a quartet when they added a harmonica player, Billy Boy Arnold.

The band, first called the Hipsters and then the Langley Avenue Jive Cats, started playing at the Maxwell Street open-air market. They were sometimes joined by another friend, Samuel Daniel, known as Sandman because of the shuffling rhythms he made with his feet on a wooden board sprinkled with sand.

Mr. Diddley could not make a living playing with the Jive Cats in the early days, so he found jobs where he could: at a grocery store, a picture-frame factory, a blacktop company. He worked as an elevator operator and a meat packer. He also started boxing, hoping to turn professional.

In 1954 Mr. Diddley made a demonstration recording with his band, which now included Jerome Green on maracas. Phil and Leonard Chess of Chess Records liked the demo, especially Mr. Diddley’s tremolo on the guitar, a sound that seemed to slosh around like water. They saw it as a promising novelty and encouraged the group to return.

By Billy Boy Arnold’s account, the next day, as the band and the men who were soon to be their producers were setting up for a rehearsal, they were idly casting about for a stage name for Ellas McDaniel when Mr. Arnold thought of Bo Diddley. The name described a “bow-legged guy, a comical-looking guy,” Mr. Arnold said, as quoted by Mr. White in his 1995 biography, “Bo Diddley: Living Legend.”

That may be all there is to tell about the name, except for the fact that a certain one-string guitar — native to the Mississippi Delta, often homemade, in which a length of wire is stretched between two nails in a board — is called a diddley bow. By his account, however, Mr. Diddley had never played one.

In any case, Otha Ellas McDaniel had a new name and the title of a new song, whose lyrics began, “Bo Diddley bought his babe a diamond ring.” “Bo Diddley” became the A side of his first single, in 1955, on the Checker label, a subsidiary of Chess. It reached No. 2 on the Billboard singles chart.

Mr. Diddley said he had first heard the “Bo Diddley beat” — three-stroke/rest/two-stroke, or bomp-ba-domp-ba-domp, ba-domp-domp — in a church in Chicago. But variations of it were in the air. The children’s game hambone used a similar rhythm, and so did the ditty that goes “shave and a haircut, two bits.”

The beat is also related to the Afro-Cuban clave, which had been popularized at the time by the New Orleans mambo carnival song “Jock-A-Mo,” recorded by Sugar Boy Crawford in 1953.

Whatever the source, Mr. Diddley felt the beat’s power. In early songs like “Bo Diddley” and “Pretty Thing,” he arranged the rhythm for tom-toms, guitar, maracas and voice, with no cymbals and no bass. (Also arranged in his signature rhythm was the eerie “Mona,” a song of praise he wrote for a 45-year-old exotic dancer who worked at the Flame Show Bar in Detroit; this song became the template for Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.”)

Appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1955, Mr. Diddley was asked to play “Sixteen Tons,” the song popularized by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Without telling Mr. Sullivan, he played “Bo Diddley” instead. Afterward, in an off-camera confrontation, Mr. Sullivan told him that he would never work in television again. Mr. Diddley did not play again on a network show for 10 years.

For decades Mr. Diddley was bitter about his relationship with the Chess family, whom he accused of withholding money owed to him. In her book “Spinning Blues Into Gold,” Nadine Cohodas quoted Marshall Chess, Leonard’s son, as saying, “What’s missing from Bo’s version of events is all the gimmes.” Mr. Diddley would borrow so heavily against projected royalties, Mr. Chess said, that not much was left over in the final accounting.

Mr. Diddley’s watery tremolo effect, from 1955 onward, came from one of the first effects boxes to be manufactured for guitars: the DeArmond Model 60 Tremolo Control. But Mr. Diddley contended that he had already built something similar himself, with automobile parts and an alarm-clock spring.

His first trademark guitar was also handmade: he took the neck and the circuitry off a Gretsch guitar and connected it to a square body he had built. In 1958 he asked Gretsch to make him a better one to the same specifications. Gretsch made it as a limited-edition guitar called “Big B.”

On songs like “Who Do You Love,” his guitar style — bright chicken-scratch rhythm patterns on a few strings at a time — was an extension of his early violin playing, he said.

“My technique comes from bowing the violin, that fast wrist action,” he told Mr. White, explaining that his fingers were too big to move around easily. Rather than fingering the fretboard, Mr. Diddley said, he tuned the guitar to an open E and moved a single finger up and down to create chords.

As his fame rose, his personal life grew complicated. His first marriage, at 18, to Louise Woolingham, lasted less than a year. His second marriage, in 1949, to Ethel Smith, unraveled in the late 1950s. He then moved from Chicago to Washington, settling in the Mount Pleasant district, where he built a studio in his home.

Separated from his wife, he was performing in Birmingham, Ala., when, backstage, he met a young door-to-door magazine saleswoman named Kay Reynolds, a fan, who was 15 and white. They moved in together in short order and were soon married, in spite of Southern taboos against intermarriage.

During the late 1950s Mr. Diddley’s band featured a female guitarist, Peggy Jones (stage-named Lady Bo), at a time when there were scarcely any women in rock. She was replaced by Norma-Jean Wofford, whom Mr. Diddley called the Duchess. He pretended she was his sister, he said, to be in a better position to protect her on the road.

The early 1960s were low times. Chess, searching for a hit, had Mr. Diddley make albums to capitalize on the twist dance craze, as Chubby Checker had done, and on the surf music of the Beach Boys. But soon a foreign market for his earlier music began to grow, thanks in large part to the Rolling Stones, a newly popular band that was regularly playing several of his songs in its concerts. It paved the way for Mr. Diddley’s successful tour of Britain in the fall of 1963, performing with the Everly Brothers, Little Richard and the Rolling Stones, the opening act.

But Mr. Diddley was not willing to move to Europe, and in America the picture worsened: the Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan and the Byrds quickly made him sound quaint. When work all but dried up, Mr. Diddley moved to New Mexico in the early 1970s and became a deputy sheriff in the town of Los Lunas. With his sound updated to resemble hard rock and soul, he continued to make albums for Chess until his contract expired in 1974.

His recording career never picked up after that, despite flirtations with synthesizers, religious rock and hip-hop. But he continued apace as a performer and public figure, popping up in places both obvious, like rock ’n’ roll nostalgia revues, and not so obvious: a Nike advertisement, the film “Trading Places” with Eddie Murphy, the 1979 tour with the Clash, and inaugural balls for two presidents, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

His last recording was the 1996 album “A Man Amongst Men” (Code Blue/Atlantic), which was nominated for a Grammy. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and in 1998 was inducted into the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame as a musician of lasting historical importance.

Since the early 1980s Mr. Diddley had lived in Archer, Fla., near Gainesville, where he owned 76 acres and a recording studio. His passions were fishing and old cars, including a 1969 purple Cadillac hearse.

The last of Mr. Diddley’s marriages was to Sylvia Paiz, in 1992; his spokeswoman, Ms. Clary, said they were no longer married. His survivors include his children, Evelyn Kelly, Ellas A. McDaniel, Tammi D. McDaniel and Terri Lynn McDaniel; a brother, the Rev. Kenneth Haynes; and 15 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Mr. Diddley attributed his longevity to abstinence from drugs and drinking, but in recent years he had suffered from diabetes. After a concert in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on May 13, 2007, he had a stroke and was taken to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha. On Aug. 28 he suffered a heart attack in Gainesville and was hospitalized.

Mr. Diddley always believed that he and Chuck Berry had started rock ’n’ roll, and the fact that he couldn’t financially reap all that he had sowed made him a deeply suspicious man.

“I tell musicians, ‘Don’t trust nobody but your mama,’ ” he said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2005. “And even then, look at her real good.”

Link - New York Times

Tuesday, June 03, 2008



RIP Bo Diddley
"He was a hard-scrabble visionary from the streets of Chicago's South Side who literally had to fight for everything he got. He created rock 'n' roll's essential rhythm, pioneered an approach to electric guitar playing that was at least a decade ahead of its time, and developed a vocal style and stage persona that influenced everyone from Elvis to Chuck D." Link.

"The legendary singer and performer, known for his homemade square guitar, dark glasses and black hat, was an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, had a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and received a lifetime achievement award in 1999 at the Grammy Awards. In recent years he also played for the elder President Bush and President Clinton.

Diddley appreciated the honors he received, "but it didn't put no figures in my checkbook."

"If you ain't got no money, ain't nobody calls you honey," he quipped. Link.

"Born Ellas Bates in 1928 in McComb, Mississippi, he took the last name McDaniel from his adoptive mother, and played classical violin as a boy.

He was given the nickname Bo Diddley as a teenager after moving to Chicago, where he started playing music on street corners in the 1940s.

Inspired by blues musician John Lee Hooker's classic "Boogie Chillen," Diddley used his violin skills to craft a guitar sound that laid the basis for the funk music of the 1960s.

He found fame in the mid-1950s with his signature song "Bo Diddley." Even among the first wave of rock music, the song stood out with its tremolo guitar, maracas and trademark beat." Link.







Extra credit - Bo Diddley - Roadrunner