Bo Diddley remembers opening for the Clash: ‘That was ridiculous’

In 2002, Bo Diddley was interviewed at the Rock Nightclub in Maplewood, Minnesota. And when asked about opening for the Clash in 1979, Diddley appears to remember it like it was yesterday. “That was ridiculous,” he blurts out.  

Related: International Clash Day

He’s talking not about the band members, or their songs, but the amplifiers that loomed behind the band at every show. “You don’t need 12 amplifiers stacked up against the wall for a bass fiddle, or 15 amplifiers for a guitar. My ears are hurting still.”  

Instead, Diddley says, “All you need is one amp, your axe, and you.” 

But, he admits, “every generation’s got its own little bag of tricks.” 

The Clash’s Joe Strummer had nothing but admiration for Diddley, one of his musical heroes. 

“I can’t look at him without my mouth falling open,” he told the press. “In the flesh, he was more awe-inspiring than we could possibly imagine. He dressed like he was ready to fight. He always had his huge sheriff’s hat on and a giant belt buckle, and you were unmistakably in the presence of someone who gave no quarter.” 


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