Dunno if you count him as a "blues guitar hero", but I met Bo Diddley once. It turned out to be one of the greatest performances I've ever seen, although I'm probably the only person who saw it who thinks so.
It was at a 40th anniversary party in Aspen for some rich guy who booked out a fancy hotel and three bands- Bo Diddley, the Spinners, and a regional function band who also did a set as Bo's backing band. At noon, they brought in a lunch buffet for the crew and we sat down to eat. Before long Bo walked in, alone, wearing the hat and carrying a square guitar case. He looked around, and said "I'm playing here tonight, mind if I grab a sandwich?" I told him there was a green room down the hall for the bands that had better food, but he shook his head and said "naw, I don't want that bull***t, I'd rather just eat with y'all if that's OK".
So, I had lunch with Bo Diddley. We just kind of made small talk, but he said "man, I hate these corporate gigs. But the money's too good to pass up, you know?" I said, "why do you think I'm here?" and he laughed. Later at soundcheck, he tried to get the pickup band to learn some new songs he'd written. He even provided lead sheets, but they were NOT into it. I worked with this band about a dozen times, and they always sucked. They were very polished and professional though, so they got a lot of high dollar function band work. Finally Bo just gave up. At showtime, Bo tried his level best to put over some kind of spirited performance for the monied elite of Aspen, none of whom gave a single crap about him or his music. The pickup band just kind of thudded along unenthusiastically behind him.
Then, it happened. Bo broke a string. No big deal, it happens. But Bo didn't turn down his amp. Even though the FOH guy took him out of the mix, Bo managed to blast that beautiful ballroom with the sounds of a man repeatedly throwing his guitar in and out of tune- it soon became obvious he was doing it on purpose. The pickup band shot each other nervous glances like "WTF is he doing?" Finally, guitar still out of tune, Bo approached the mic. He began wailing on the guitar like a madman and screaming. Not vocalizing, screaming. Like a banshee. Sonic Youth would have been impressed with the noise spewing from Bo's amp. It was madness. It instantly threw the room into chaos. People ran for the doors, others clapped their hands over their ears and glared at the stage. They were finally paying attention to him, all right.
The pickup band looked terrified like deer in headlights, until the drummer kicked into the Bo Diddley beat. The band then fell behind Bo, trying to make order from the chaos, which just made it crazier. It was beautiful. It was the most rock 'n' roll thing I have ever seen. Bo grabbed the mic stand and started playing wild, out of tune slide with it. At this point, the room was empty except for the band and crew. As a finale, Bo leaned his guitar on the rented JC120, raked his hand across the knobs to crank them all wide open, and walked away. It wailed for a good minute before the pickup band guitarist gingerly switched off the amp. The silence afterwards was deafening.
I saw him arguing with the meeting planner in the corner of the room, until she grudgingly handed him a check. Bo grabbed his stuff, and in seconds had disappeared out the side door into the night. The other guys in the crew snickered about it later, but I knew we'd seen a performance for the ages.
That’s cool. I was in the security line behind Bob Weir. He had a carry on guitar with him and they sent him to secondary screening. I was really tempted to take a photo which I would label “shakedown street”, since they looked to be shaking him down pretty well, but I didn’t want to be “that guy” and instead wanted to give him a little privacy. Later I found him in the AMEX lounge and did that “hey man, I’m a big fan” thing and everyone around him who heard that pulled out their phones and scrambled to try and figure out who he was so I guess I failed at giving him his privacy.I ran into Jerry Garcia once.... literally. I was walking out of the studio and he was walking in.... both carrying guitars, lookin down, lost in thought and bonk... bumped heads. a bit of small talk and on our ways (1970)
I sat in on a jam with about 10 guitar players taking turns with the remnants of Jerry Hahn Brotherhood. Carlos Santana and Neil Schon played.... Neil was like 16 and really looked like a kid, the were recording Abraxis at the time (1970), they both had LPs and Princeton amps that had been hot rodded... rumored to be the beginnings of Mesa Boogie amps
Elvin Bishop made jambiya over at my house once. a guy from my old band was part of Elvin's tour band & when they came through we connected. I have pictures of him on one of my motorcycles.
actually.... there are several more but it was mostly just being in the same room & little to no interaction
I met Tom Scholz and he was not pleasant. I’ve heard he’s a lot nicer so maybe I caught him on a bad day.