The Bo Diddley Interview
Bo on Tabloid Journalism & Drugs

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SG: One of the historical discrepancies simply regards the origin of your name.

BD: The kids in school started calling me Bo Diddley. I used it when I was boxing. They got it all screwed up. Some places say I was born in 1930 and I was born in 1928. If you donít get it right from the horses mouth, meaning go to the source. Look at the problem with Carol Burnett and the papers. These kind of papers cause a lot of problems in families. These guys go out and canít find the real truth. I wouldnít print the stuff if I didnít get it from you, the person Iím writing about. If you print it as 100% or 90% truth you could get a brick thrown through your face. I had some guy write about me in Australia. He was talking to me about something and somehow we got to talking about Black and White races. I donít know how it came up. When the morning papers came out, in big black letters ďBo Diddley Hates White PeopleĒ. Thatís what the SOB had on the front page. I called the paper up and told them to retract the statement immediately, and I wanted to see the guy who printed it. I havenít found him yet. But this was good news that was going to blow my whole existence. This is stupid, my wife is white and weíve got two daughters. Iím supposed to hate whites? I donít understand people who could write something like that. What I said was, and he got it all tangled up, at the time when white cats started copying and playing my stuff I didnít like it because I thought they should have gone and wrote their own songs. This was before I realized how great it was to have people copy my songs. You have to be stupid before you learn some sense. I call it before you learn some etiquette.

SG: But the white musicians were capitalizing on your material.

BD: Itís like a wounded animal. You can take the most vicious animal other than a rattlesnake, and probably help him. He might look at you funny, but once he figured that you ainít doing him no harm you might become a great friend to that particular beast, but not your brother, only you. What happened was cats took my music and started butchering it, but this was their approach to what I was doing. I had to realize that they were helping me by doing my material because I know cats out here that canít get arrested. I thank God for what happened to Bo Diddley over the years. All the people and all the groups that have gone and left copied my songs and made me a legend in my own time.

SG: While the young musicians are dying out at thirty, youíre still going strong.

BD: : Iím fifty two and felling good. A lot of cats are in trouble. I donít fool around with drugs. Iím very anti-druggish. I try to daddy all of the young people, white or black. I donít see white people I see people. I try to tell them ďHey man why donít you lighten up off that crap youíre doing, it ainít no good for you.Ē They look at me all funny and say ďWell how do you know, man?Ē I say ďI donít have to do it cause I see whatís happening to you. Do you have to run out there and get hit by a car to know that youíre going to get your ass knocked off. Iím going to try the same thing that you did, and I might not be as lucky as you. I can teach you something that I canít do.Ē Thatís a little contradiction of what I said before. But I said that to say this. Donít do as you see me do, do as I say to do. First of all, youíre not going to see me do anything, but try to do some of what I say and watch it work for you.

SG: You know what it is and you know where it doesnít take you.

BD: I done seen too many cats that left and they ainít been back yet. A one way trip.

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