Humble, not bad, to bone

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Thorogood puts career in perspective

By DAVE VEITCH -- Calgary Sun

In George Thorogood's world, people can be divided into those who love the Mets and those who love the Yankees.

Thorogood, the baseball-loving, blues-rock guitar slinger, belongs to the former camp.

"These Mets are like me," says Thorogood, who performs tonight at The Palace with his longtime backing band The Destroyers.

"First of all, nobody likes the Mets. Number 2: They're like these little pests that won't go away. They could win the World Series

10 years in a row and they would still be the underdog scum of the National League. They never do anything smoothly.

"Nothing in my life has come easy. I wasn't born good-looking. I wasn't good at sports. I was average at best."

Although the 46-year-old native of Wilmington, Del., likes to cast himself in the role of the underdog -- "I'm a Chevy Nova in a world of Rolls Royces," he says -- one shouldn't make the mistake of short-changing what he's accomplished during his 22-year recording career.

He has released 13 albums -- his 14th, Live In '99, comes out later this month -- which have sold more than 15 million copies. Not at all shabby, especially considering these records consist mainly of other writers' material and all offer just slight variations of the same raucous blues-rock style inspired by the likes of Elmore James and Chuck Berry.

It ain't fancy, but for a certain constituency that likes high-octane, blues-based party rock, Thorogood and the Destroyers have a reputation for delivering the goods every time.

"It's all that I can do," he says matter-of-factly. "Don't overrate me. I'm not that versatile."

One thing's for sure: He's not exactly prolific, especially considering he doesn't have to write a full album's worth of material before entering the studio.

"Albums are torture," Thorogood says.

"Especially the last two or three. It gets harder as time goes on.

"Everything's torture: Finding the material, being able to play it, being able to play it well, being able to record it, making sure it comes out good, making sure the record company understands your vision, having the radio stations play it.... It's a long, hard process.

"I wish they'd go back to a six-song format, or something like that. That would be a lot easier to do.

"First of all, how many times do you listen to a CD and listen to it all the way through? Then radio is going to play two songs at best. And then you're maybe going to be able to squeeze three of them in your live show. It's like the other songs are going to waste."

Thorogood says he gets pitched songs all the time, but admits "99 percent of the stuff I get is junk.... Every song I get, the lyrics usually go: 'I'm bad, I'm bad, I drink a lot, drive around in cars, (make love to) a lot of girls, I'm bad.' "

Gee, George, you never do songs like that.

"Yeah, right, exactly," he laughs.

While we're on the subject, how bad are you, really?

"Some songs are reality; others are fantasy," he says.

"Bad to the Bone? Fantasy. Born To Be Bad? Fantasy? Blue Highway? Reality. That's how I look at the songs. We all want to be James Bond. We all want to be Errol Flynn. But we're not. Nobody is, the least-wise me. I'm more like Beaver Cleaver."

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This page contains a single entry by fountainhead published on November 17, 1999 12:18 AM.

Still bad to the bone was the previous entry in this blog.

Blue to the Bone is the next entry in this blog.

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