"I made millions of dollars for record companies," laments rock and roll founding father Bo Diddley, "and I ain't got a dime." Diddley, who's 67 and lives in Gainesville, Fla., with wife Sylvia, says he is still bitter about years' worth of royalties he claims are owed to him. And while he admits that he's "not hungry," Diddley (born Ellas Bates in McComb, Miss.), still has to tour to earn his daily bread. Beginning late last year, however, he retreated to the studio to record A Man Amongst Men (Code Blue/Atlantic), a guitar-drenched effort with cameos by rock acolytes Keith Richards, Ron Wood and Richie Sambora. "I just hope the record sells," says Bo. "I want people to know that I'm still here, and I'm not finished by a long shot."
What surprises you most about how rock has evolved since you began?
That what they're doing today is not rock and roll. Call it any dang-gone thing you want, but it don't sound like Elvis, Chuck Berry, me, the Shirelles, Ray Charles, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis. It don't sound like none of them. Nowadays I'll be playing, and some kids in the audience will yell out, "Play some rock and roll!" Those kids are being misled by radio stations playing songs that sound like a leak-over from the Jimi Hendrix days. Heavy-metal guitars and booster pedals is not rock and roll.
Is Hootie & the Blowfish rock?
I like those guys but they're just not rock and roll.