fountainhead: June 2008 Archives

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LOS ANGELES -- Top celebrities in film, television, music, and sports will come together at Dodger Stadium this Saturday, June 21, to play in the 50th annual Hollywood Stars Game. The celebrity softball game will begin shortly after the conclusion of the Los Angeles Dodgers-Cleveland Indians game that day, which starts at 12:55 p.m. Approximately 40 celebrities will comprise the two teams, led by honorary captains Russell Martin and James Loney.

The full roster of stars scheduled to appear in the game includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (NBA Hall of Famer), Jon Lovitz ("Saturday Night Live"), James Denton ("Desperate Housewives"), David Arquette ("Scream" trilogy), Sean Astin ("Lord of the Rings," "Rudy"), James Van Der Beek ("Dawson's Creek," "Varsity Blues"), Adam Carolla ("The Adam Carolla Show"), Tom Arnold ("True Lies," "Roseanne"), Camryn Manheim ("The Practice," "Ghost Whisperer"), Cristian de la Fuente ("Dancing with the Stars," "In Plain Sight"), Garry Marshall ("Happy Days" creator, "Pretty Woman" director), George Thorogood (George Thorogood and the Destroyers), Carlos Mencia ("Mind of Mencia"), Kendra Wilkinson ("The Girls Next Door"), Zac Levi ("Chuck"), Neal McDonough ("Band of Brothers"), Yvonne Strahovski ("Chuck"), Tobin Bell ("Saw" movies), Wallace Langham ("CSI"), Kenny Johnson ("Saving Grace"), Bailey Chase ("Saving Grace"), Michael Rosenbaum ("Smallville"), Kevin Frazier ("Entertainment Tonight"), Chris Rose ("Best Damn Sports Show Period"), Mike Bunin ("My Boys"), D.B. Sweeney ("Eight Men Out," "The Cutting Edge"), Patricia Kara ("Deal or No Deal"), David Berman ("CSI"), Jon Wellner ("CSI"), Samm Levine ("Freaks and Geeks"), Josh Gomez ("Chuck"), Vida Guerra ("Livin' The Low Life"), Peter Ishkhans ("Peter Perfect"), Adam Sessler ("X-Play"), Morgan Webb ("X-Play), Tony Todd ("One Tree Hill"), Kristin Holt ("American Idol," "Cheat"), Layla Kayleigh ("America's Best Dance Crew," "Attack of the Show"), Osvaldo Rios (""El Juramento"), and Yasmin Deliz ("Vivo," "The Chicas Project").

Popular on-air personalities from E! Entertainment, including E! News' Jason Kennedy and Ashlan Gorse and The Daily 10's Catt Sadler and Ben Lyons, will announce the celebrity players as they come to bat, offer play-by-play commentary and conduct on the spot interviews throughout the game, giving fans a chance to hear from their favorite stars. The game will also feature special performances by the Blue Man Group.

All fans with tickets to the Dodgers-Indians game will be invited to stay for the Hollywood Stars Game as well, including the opportunity to watch from Dodger Stadium's outfield grass and warning track. Additional auction winners will take part in pre-game and in-game festivities, with proceeds benefiting the Dodgers Dream Foundation. Those fans will act as an honorary photographer, an honorary coach, or an official Hollywood Stars batkid. Other auction winners will read the celebrity team lineups or take the field with a celebrity at the start of the game and receive their autograph.

Thorogood honours Bo Diddley's legacy

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Legend shaped rock and roll, rocker says
DEAN LISK, METRO HALIFAX
June 05, 2008 05:00

Knowing his friend was in ailing health, George Thorogood had been thinking about Bo Diddley’s death for some time.


“He was bedridden, right. You are never prepared but you know it is going to happen,” said Thorogood. “I just didn’t think that the state of his body could handle a stroke and a heart attack and be able to bounce back.”


Diddley, a rock ’n’ roll pioneer and guitar-playing inspiration, died of heart failure on Monday at the age of 79. He had been in ill health for a number of months.


“I guess I was as close to him as any person could be,” said Thorogood, who covered Diddley’s song Who Do I Love, and had the legend appear in his Bad To The Bone music video.


“We had a great relationship, let’s put it that way,” added Thorogood on a break from his current Canadian tour with The Destroyers. “We always lead with a Chuck Berry-type song to get the band loose, and we follow with a Bo Diddley song.”


Thorogood said he starts his shows this way because both artists pretty much created rock and roll with their blues backgrounds.


“As great as some lead singers are, and drums and saxes, guitars will always be the number one dude when it comes to rock and roll,” he said.


It is essential to listen to both men, added the musician, if you want to get a grasp on rock and roll and what the music is all about. They represent a lineage that stretches back to some of the best blues musicians of the last century — and continues into rock today.


“Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley got John Lennon and Keith Richards’ attention, who are the two highest profile rock musicians ever, right up there with Hendrix.”


If you don’t take the time to listen to the blues, you’ll never get a real understanding or appreciation of rock, he said.


“It is like an actor who never heard of Tennessee Williams,” he said. “Or a director who says, ‘I don’t know who Cecil B. DeMille is.’”

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According to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, the influence that Bo Diddley’s records have had is immeasurable, but that’s not the most amazing part of his legacy. “But how heavy is it that a person has a beat named after him?” he asks. Indeed, the “Bo Diddley Beat” has left an indelible mark on the rock landscape, and according to Gibbons it will be immortal. “You can play Bo Diddley for three year olds who can’t speak and yet they start gyrating,” he says. I think we must be wired to respond to it and he just happened to tap into it and deliver it in such a masterful way. And it still works.”

George Thorogood would agree, as one of his biggest hits was a cover of Diddley’s “Who Do You Love.” Thorogood also counted Diddley as a friend. “When I first met him he was kind of standoffish. Once we got going we had a very wonderful relationship,” Thorogood says. “He was very moved by the fact that I was so into his music and I seemed to have a grip on it. I did a concert with him in Australia in 2005, and he played before I did. As he was coming up he stairs I said goodbye to him, he hugged me and grabbed my hand and he whispered, ‘I’m done, George. It’s yours now.’”

Buddy Guy was never close to Diddley, but he was an admirer. “I say he was one of the best guys that ever played the music,” says Guy. “I’m a very religious man and I think we all was put here for a reason. And when Bo came along and came up with that beat he was at the right time at the right place. You gotta give credit where credit is due. He is one that should never be forgotten.”

George Thorogood speaks about Diddley's impact

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Guitarist remembers his friend and influence

Jun 3, 2008
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Bo Diddley news, reviews, video and tour dates
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George Thorogood remembered Bo Diddley, his friend and influence who died of heart failure today (June 2).

The singer/guitarist, who covered Diddley's 'Who Do You Love' and name-checks him in one of his songs, told NME.COM that he was turned on to Diddley by The Rolling Stones.

“I first heard Bo Diddley in 1966," said Thorogood. "I knew The Rolling Stones were big on this guy and I got a copy of Bo Diddley’s '16 All-Time Greatest Hits' and flipped over it, and played it constantly."

Thorogood said that he still performs his cover of 'Who Do You Love', as well as 'Ride On Josephine', which was heavily influenced by the 'Bo Diddley beat'.

"I first met him in 1979, and as years went on we got closer and closer," he said. "It’s an honour to be associated with his great music. I just had ‘Hand Jive’ on last night. It goes, ’A doctor, a lawyer and an indian chief/They all dig that Diddley beat.’ That says it all.”

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June 2 (Bloomberg) -- Bo Diddley, the rock 'n' roll originator with the rectangular guitar whose signature beat influenced musicians from Buddy Holly to the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and Bruce Springsteen, has died. He was 79.

Diddley died at his home in Archer, Florida, early today, according to his publicist, Susan Clary. The cause was heart failure. In May 2007, he suffered a stroke during a performance in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

He scored only a few hits in more than 40 years of recording, yet Diddley's impact on the development of rock 'n' roll places him in a pantheon with Chuck Berry and Little Richard. The maracas-fueled sound he introduced in 1955 on the song ``Bo Diddley'' evolved into what Rolling Stone magazine called ``the most plagiarized rhythm of the 20th century.''

The beat -- bomp a-bomp a-bomp bomp bomp -- became the driving force on songs such as Holly's ``Not Fade Away'' (1957), which the Stones recorded and the Grateful Dead used in live shows for years; Johnny Otis's ``Willie and the Hand Jive'' (1958); the Strangeloves' ``I Want Candy''(1965); The Who's ``Magic Bus'' (1968); the Stooges' ``1969'' (1969), Springsteen's ``She's the One'' (1975); and U2's ``Desire'' (1988).

The Stones' version of ``Not Fade Away'' in 1964 became their first top-10 hit in the U.K. and first U.S. release. In its early days, the band often opened its shows with the number.

``We did it with a Bo Diddley beat, which at the time was very avant garde for a white band to be playing Bo Diddley's stuff,'' said Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts. ``It was a very popular rhythm for us in clubs.''

Guitar Sound

The distorted tremolo sound Diddley achieved on his guitar, which was souped up with electronic gadgets, expanded the instrument's range and influenced a generation of musicians such as Jeff Beck of the Yardbirds -- which made Diddley's ``I'm a Man'' one of its show-stoppers -- Keith Richards of the Stones, Jimi Hendrix and a legion of 1960s fuzz-tone garage rockers.

Diddley's ego was legendary. Who else but Bo Diddley would name his first recording after himself? His boasting and sexual bravado on songs like ``I'm a Man'' presaged American rap music by decades. Diddley, who spent years complaining that he had been overlooked by the public and the media, remained bitter about all the attention given to Elvis Presley.

``Elvis was not the first,'' Diddley told Neil Strauss of Rolling Stone magazine in 2005. ``I was the first son-of-a-gun out there. Me and Chuck Berry. And I'm very sick of the lie. You know, we're over that black-and-white crap, and that was all the reason Elvis got the appreciation that he did. I'm the dude that he copied, and I'm not even mentioned.''

Born in Mississippi

The man who would become Bo Diddley was born Ellas Otha Bates on Dec. 30, 1928, in McComb, Mississippi. His mother, who was about 15, asked her first cousin, Gussie McDaniel, to raise the child. Diddley never knew his father.

After Gussie McDaniel moved her family to Chicago during the Great Depression in 1935, she changed the child's last name to Bates McDaniel. Ellas McDaniel attended public school, where he learned how to box. At one point, he dreamed of becoming a prizefighter.

Like B.B. King and other great blues and rhythm-and-blues artists, Diddley's first exposure to music came from church, in this case the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago's South Side. He learned to play the violin and the trombone. At age 12, Diddley took up the guitar after hearing John Lee Hooker's 1949 rhythm-and-blues hit, ``Boogie Chillen.''

``Diddley claimed that playing the violin influenced his muted-string, choke-neck style of rhythm -- an early forerunner of funk that can be heard on songs like `Pretty Thing,''' the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame says in its official Bo Diddley biography.

Origin of Name

Diddley formed a band called the Hipsters, which played on street corners before landing a regular spot at a South Side juke joint called the 708 Club. He electrified his guitar using old radio parts and other gadgets, which created the famous vibrating tone. He gave bandmate Jerome Green maracas that he jerry-built from the floating rubber balls found inside toilets, and black- eyed peas. Diddley's thick black glasses completed the look.

The derivation of his stage name is the subject of debate. Some say it came from his days as a boxer; others say it's based on the one-string folk instrument called the diddley bow. Chess Records found that another Bo Diddley had been performing in Chicago in 1935. There are about a dozen versions of the story.

``I would love to know where the sucker came from,'' Diddley said in a 1995 interview, when asked about the name.

First Release

In 1955, Diddley signed with Checkers, a subsidiary of Chess, the label that featured Berry.

``Bo Diddley and I were signed to Chess records at the same time,'' Berry said today in a statement. ``He was a great artist and will be missed.''

Diddley's debut single was the two-sided ``Bo Diddley'' backed with ``I'm a Man.'' The A side featured the nursery school rhyme-like verse ``Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley, have you heard?'' while the B side had Diddley boasting ``All you pretty women, stand in line, I can make love to you baby, in an hour's time.''

The beat used on the A side, now known as the Bo Diddley beat, has been traced to West African drumming, the rhumba, the novelty rhythm ``shave and haircut -- two bits'' and a 1950s body-slapping street craze among black teenagers called the hambone.

The record, which topped the R&B charts for two weeks, is cited as one of the cornerstones of rock music and one of the most influential two-sided singles ever. A string of groundbreaking songs that combined rhythm-and-blues and rock 'n' roll followed, including ``Road Runner;'' ``Pretty Thing;'' ``Mona,'' also covered by the Stones; ``Who Do You Love?'' and ``You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover.''

TV Appearance

His appearance on the Ed Sullivan's ``Toast of the Town'' on CBS in 1955 is now regarded as one of the first rock 'n' roll performances on television.

A novelty song, ``Say Man,'' which featured verbal sparring between Diddley and Green, became a crossover hit in 1959.

In 1963, he toured the U.K., playing with the Stones, Little Richard and the Everly Brothers. A teenage Robert Plant, who would become the singer and co-songwriter for Led Zeppelin, attended one of the shows.

``Although the Stones were great, they were really crap compared with Diddley,'' Plant said in a 1990 interview with Q magazine. ``All his rhythms were so sexual, just oozing, even in a 20-minute spot.''

British Invasion

After the Beatles led the British invasion, Diddley's popularity waned, though he continued to tour relentlessly for the next four decades. In 1966, he released ``The Originator,'' an album where he staked his claim as one of rock 'n' roll's founding fathers. In 1967, after moving to California, Diddley made his debut at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, bringing his electrifying sound to the Summer of Love crowd.

Even though rock music changed, Diddley's influence never subsided. The Clash, the seminal British punk band, asked Diddley to open for the group on its first major U.S. tour in 1979. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Joe Strummer called Diddley his hero.

In 1982, Diddley was introduced to the MTV generation through the video of ``Bad to the Bone'' by George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Thorogood and Diddley play a game of pool while billiards legend Willie Mosconi looks on. In the end, Thorogood wins when he flicks his cigar ash, making the eight ball fall into the pocket. Three years later, the two artists appeared together at the Live Aid benefit concert in Philadelphia.

In 1987, Diddley was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame at the Cleveland museum's second annual ceremony. The members of ZZ Top were his presenters. Two years later he appeared in a Nike commercial, telling baseball and football star Bo Jackson, ``Bo, You Don't Know Diddley.''

Speaking Out

Diddley continued to speak out against what he called the exploitation of early rock 'n' rollers, including himself, by record companies, promoters and music publishers.

He was married four times, most recently in 1992 to Sylvia Paiz, according to the Internet Movie Database Web site. Three prior marriages ended in divorce. He also had four children.

He received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Awards in Los Angeles in 1996. The same year he released ``A Man Amongst Men,'' his first on a major label in years. It featured Richards and Ron Wood of the Stones. He also was honored with a lifetime Grammy Award.

``Age ain't nothing but a number,'' Diddley told the Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 2006, when he was 77. He said that disc pain in back had forced him to play while seated. The stage strutting and karate kicks were no more. ``But, he said, ``I'm just as dangerous sitting down.''

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Schoifet in New York at mschoifet@bloomberg.net.

Thorogood has earned respect

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Erin Harde , Special to The Leader-Post
Published: Thursday, May 22, 2008

It may surprise George Thorogood fans that the b-b-b-b-bad to the bone singer does not, in fact, appreciate or condone audience members getting completely loaded at his shows.

The self-described "boogie blues master" who, with his band The Destroyers, released such hits as "I Drink Alone" and the perennial barroom favourite "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" says his catalogue has a lot more to offer than just the alcohol-infused radio favourites.

"I don't want to play for a bunch of drunks," says Thorogood.

"It's like writing a book and someone puking during the third chapter and passing out before the book is halfway done. You work for the live stage act and put songs together and want people to see the show."

Over the years, his audiences have become more respectful, particularly the younger generation.

"Every year, it gets more enjoyable because I get older, the band gets better, a lot of people in the audience get younger and look at me different," he says. "It's not just a bunch of roaring drunks just cutting loose and using me as an excuse to get drunk."

Thorogood audiences today are more diverse than 20 years ago. Young people show up with their parents and sometimes grandparents.

"I prefer people under 20 and people over 60 because once they get older, they think 'this could be it -- I'm gonna have a good time tonight.' People under 20 have yet to form an opinion about anything. It's us people in between who are (expletives)," he laughs.

Now 58, Thorogood rightly deserves a little respect. With dozens of albums to his credit, hit songs like "Gear Jammer," "Get A Haircut," "Move It On Over," and "Bad To The Bone" and former tour mates that range from the Rolling Stones to Howlin' Wolf, Thorogood has become a blues rock legend in his own right, though it's just now that Thorogood says The Destroyers are hitting their stride.

"There's much more satisfaction in it. When you're building the house, when you're almost completed, you enjoy putting the final touches on it as opposed to when you get started," he says. "Building any kind of business or any kind of career is painstaking. It has been for me. Things didn't just explode for me like an Elvis Presley. It's been an ongoing process. Some people call it a labour of love, I just call it a labour."

The work has paid off for Thorogood as he continues to see fans fighting for tickets -- the Casino Regina show sold out in less than an hour. Thorogood coyly avoids naming any tunes from the set list.

"I met Joe DiMaggio and he told me one thing. He said 'George, you only owe your fans one thing,' and I said, 'What's that?' and he said, 'Your best.' "

The best of which album or era, Thorogood won't say, but he promises not to disappoint.

"I'm a boogie blues master with a lot of energy who, with all due respect to Dennis Leary, is probably the most obnoxious man in show business, in which I have that field completely to my own," says Thorogood. "I will not disappoint in that fashion. Ever."

Thorogood raises the roof

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By: Rob Williams

Updated: May 24 at 12:32 AM CDT

George Thorogood's feel-good blues-rock has always been the perfect soundtrack to sitting outside and having a few cold ones.

So on one of the first beautiful Fridays of the season in Winnipeg there were moments during the lengthy three-act show at the MTS Centre it would have been nice if the roof would have retracted to let in some of that sunshine, making it an even better experience for the 4,100 fans who gave up their patio seats for a chance to hang out with the Delaware Destroyer, acoustic blues legend Taj Mahal and gospel stalwarts the Blind Boys of Alabama.

Thorogood was the headliner and took to the bare stage with his arms in the air, wearing a bandana and sunglasses, greeting the crowd with a yell of "How sweet it is!" before he and his long-serving band The Destroyers ripped into the boogie-shaker Rock Party, setting the tone for the night.

Three decades of hits and covers followed with the radio staple Who Do You Love second on the set list, which got the crowd on its feet, where many of them stayed for the remainder of the 100-minute set for favourites like Get a Haircut, Bad to the Bone, Move It On Over and You Talk Too Much.

"Welcome to the rock party ladies and gentlemen. We're going to do some dirty things tonight. We're going to do some nasty things and we're going to do some very bad things. I will do everything in my power to get arrested tonight. If somebody's going to go to jail tonight it may as well be me," he announced before the groove-heavy jam The Fixer.

At 58, the Delaware-born guitar slinger shows no signs of slowing down: he strutted around the stage like his mentor Chuck Berry, pulled off some synchronized moves with his long serving four-piece band and ripped off solos effortlessly.

With more than 30 years stage experience Thorogood knows how to please his beer-drinking party-ready fans, and even better, it's not just some phony crowd-pleasing shtick -- he is genuinely honest and passionate about the music he loves and is enthusiastic about sharing it with the masses.

The wonderfully scuzzy I Drink Alone led into the iconic One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer, a John Lee Hooker cover he has made his own, even adding a don't drink and drive message to the 10-minute version Friday.

Where Thorogood injects a good deal of rock 'n' roll into his blues stew, Taj Mahal showed off his more traditional side during a slow-rolling 50-minute set that drew on Delta, Chicago and country blues.

The setlist was an abbreviated version of his trio's show at the Burton Cummings Theatre in 2006 with Checkin' up on My Baby, Annie Mae, Fishing Blues and Queen Bee all making it back two years later.

He even told the same anecdotes and used the same lines, most notably his dedication of Blues with a Feelin' to "the ladies that have critical mass in the back."

The talented and good-natured 66-year-old was in fine shape as he switched off between electric and acoustic guitars with the occasional stint on the keyboard; he even managed to engage the crowd in some call and response for the Blues is All Right.

The Blind Boys of Alabama started the night with a collection of joyful spirituals that made believers of the crowd who showed up early.

Making their third appearance in the city since 2005, the seven member vocal ensemble, led by septuagenarian founding member Jimmy Carter, put on an uplifting show, mixing contemporary funky gospel numbers with reworked versions traditional songs like the rousing Free At Last, which moved Carter to get off the stage and wander onto the arena floor guided by his guitarist.

They even managed to find some common ground with the classic rock lovers in the room with their version of Amazing Grace done in the style of House of the Rising Son.

rob.williams@freepress.mb.ca