I want to share a little story… 

about how I manifested some of my musical heroes into my life since childhood…

I’ve always collected records and music since I was around six years old, and it’s so interesting to see how I was influenced by the recordings, both musically and also culturally.  

 

Somehow along the way, a lot of the people from my record collection seemed to pop out of the vinyl and enter into my life in the here and now. Some of these were brief musical encounters and others were long time associations and multiple projects. The variety of genres and influences were to shape my own original voice in an overarching way.

 

One such encounter was around 1990 when I had been invited to play rhythm guitar in Bo Diddley’s band for a show at the Santa Barbara County Fair. It was at the height of the Nike TV ad campaign “Bo Knows” which featured the two Bo’s – Bo Diddley and athlete Bo Jackson, so there was a huge resurgence of popularity and awareness for Diddley with tons of screaming fans of all ages.

“This was like a “rock n roll” fantasy moment for me…”

… to be a part of Bo’s band, a man who’s music I had grown up with and who was one of the original architects and enigmas of the genre. He was a gentle giant, and I’ll always remember him handing me his signature square body electric guitar backstage to try out. The thing weighed a ton and the strings sat very high above the fretboard, making it practically impossible for most people to play, but Bo was a big guy and his hands were massive!

Photo: Toledo Blade, from the Article: “Diddley, Elvis was great, but he wasn’t an original”, May 2004

So many of us know and love the music of Bo Diddley, like “Say Man”, “Bo Diddley”, “I’m A Man”, “Who Do You Love”, etc etc, but in later years Bo got away from playing a lot of the music that his fans really wanted to hear him play at his live shows. 

Bo loved “keeping up with the times” and was known for playing loooong rambling funk jams that only had one or two chords in them; songs that should’ve only lasted a few minutes instead of 20 plus. He even made his attempts at rapping by the 80s/90s.

Such was the case when I played with him. We did play some of the hits, but at one point, we had to follow him through one of these tedious , open ended improvs that I just described and it seemed like it would never end!

After about 15 minutes of this, he cued the band to bring the groove down to a whisper, and he began a new verse:

“If you gonna leave baybee, take your dog.

And your ugly cat”

then , after a brief pause,

“Don’t forget the poopah scoopah’

 

All the band members looked at each other, practically dying from how funny and out of left field this line was.

 

The audience also ate it right up (of course).

Here's What Bo Sounded Like...

by Joey | (Push Play to Hear!)

 

We were waiting for what was coming next, and then, once again…

 

“If you gonna leave baybee, take your dog.

And your ugly cat”

(brief pause)

“Don’t forget the poopah scoopah”

 

The crowd still ate it up but not as much as the first time. Same with the band.

And, as you can probably guess, once again:

 

“If you gonna leave baybee, take your dog.

And your ugly cat”

(brief pause)

“Don’t forget the poopah scoopah”

 

This  continued repeatedly, like when a four year old unintentionally makes a “funny” and  all the grownups laugh, and so they do it again and again and again and again……..

 

So yeah, it  was all “part of my Rock n Roll fantasy” with Bo Diddley at the  Santa Barbara County Fair in 1990.

 

I still feel deeply grateful to have had this experience on so many levels.

Bo knew how to keep it real. 

 

More Stories To Follow!

Ciao For Now,
~Joey

 

P.S. Leave a comment below if you liked this story!  And don’t forget the poopah scoopah!

Joey Altruda Presents-
Plas Johnson: Christmas In Hollywood

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