July 1998 Archives
George Thorogood is living his teenage dream--building a bridge from blues to rock with his ES-125 and a growl. Traveling from his Delaware working-class neighborhood to living on the streets of San Francisco in search of John Lee Hooker, Thorogood has been banging out blues-rock for more than twenty years. "You name me one person born after 1945 who doesn't dream for one day being a rock'n'roll star with a guitar in their hand," Thorogood said in a recent interview in Blues Revue.
Thorogood and the Destroyers will perform at the Gibson Guitar Festival-Newport Saturday, July 25.
Along that road, Thorogood and his band, the Delaware Destroyers have introduced his peers and a new generation of rockers to the songs blues greats Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Hooker, and even Hank Willims Sr. His 1978 recordings of Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" and Williams'' "Move It On Over" earned him gold records. His 1982 release of the anthem "Bad To the Bone" topped the charts nationwide and fueled an ongoing resurgence of contemporary blues-rock.
Thorogood exclusively plays old Gibson ES-125 guitars. "It's the single cutaway with double P-90 pickups," he said. He uses three ES-125's on stage--two set up for slide work and one for fingered chords and lead. Like one of his heroes, Muddy Waters, THorogood uses a copper slide cut out of plumbing stock. "I saw Muddy do it and that was it," he said. His strings are heavy, .12 to .56. And like another of his heroes, he uses plastic picks on his thumb, index, and middle finger. "I mostly only use the thumb and first finger, but maybe someday I'll use al 10 fingers like Mississippi John Hurt."
How many does he own? "Not enough," he deadpans.