20th Annual Wetzel swap meet and party


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Thorogood, Nugent set to take the stage

Times Bulletin Editor


He is "bad to the bone" and the first to admit it. Confident, but far from conceited, George Thorogood has sustained himself in an industry that spits musicians out like bad apples.

Although his music is arguably not the most popular, it is immensely enjoyed by legions of fans around the globe.

This weekend, it will be enjoyed by thousands at the 20th Annual Wetzel swap meet and party. "You gotta have good tunes to begin with," Thorogood told the Times Bulletin during a recent interview. "If you have no tunes, then you have nothing. What if Joan Jett had never done the song, 'I Love Rock 'n Roll? Of course, there are different avenues of exposure and who knows where we'll be 10 years from now. They might be dropping cd's out of helicopters by then. I don't really know what the next phase will be."

But he does know where he's been. Thorogood was born Dec. 24, 1950 in Wilmington, Delaware. Ironically, he felt most at home with a baseball bat, and not a guitar, in his hands. He spent a short while playing in the minor leagues before a John Paul Hammond concert lured the musician to the world of rock and roll.

The rest, as they say, is musical history.The band's first release of demos in 1979, the "Better Than the Rest" project, quickly caught on and the group secured a contract with Rounder Records. After their debut in 1977, the group released "Move it on Over" in 1978, its success based partly on continuous FM airplay. In 1982, the group, now signed with EMI records, released "Bad to the Bone" which still remains a jukebox favorite today.

It was during the '80s when Thorogood and the Destroyers' popularity exploded. Some of that success, Thorogood said, came from simply being in the right place at the right time. "It's all about timing. Everything is about timing," he said. In 1982, a then-unknown phenomenon called MTV hit the airwaves, and Thorogood was more than happy to jump on board. "We got in on the ground floor with our 'Bad to the Bone' video," Thorogood said. After running his course with MTV, Thorogood received heavy airplay from classic rock radio, which helped to sustain the group over time.

"When MTV sold out to larger corporations, this new phenomenom called classic rock radio began, so we had a few songs get in on the infancy of that." Thorogood's wildly-popular "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" was a favorite on FM radio, and remains a fan favorite today, something that doesn't surprise Thorogood at all. "Between classic rock, MTV and FM radio, we just kept popping up and stayed in the public eye," Thorogood said. "But had those things not existed, I don't think I would be around right now. If you have a song or two that fits any of those formats, you can make a living. Add to that, the fact that I am the greatest, not to mention the most modest," Thorogood quipped.

His sense of humor helps him unwind during extensive tours across the globe. His current tour will take the rocker all around the world, and coincidentally, right here in our own backyard.

Among his stops is a performance at the 20th Annual Wetzelland party. He's looking forward to an outrageous show, he said.

"I am merely the waiter, and you all have the menu," he said. "I just come to the table and say this is what's on the menu, and you let me know what you want to hear. Fair enough?" he said. "You can expect classic George Thorogood and his legion of immortals to ride in and Ohio will never be the same. That's essentially why people hire us. It's really not too bad to get paid to have a good time. It's a good job to have."

Never out to prove anything to anyone, Thorogood said he was satisfied when he realized he could make a living in music. "I was just trying to get a job," he said. "I guess if I had to prove anything, it was that I could make a living doing this, and I can continue to do that. If I can sustain another five years, then I guess I did alright." As a matter of fact, Thorogood has done better than fine. With 19 albums under his belt and legions of die-hard fans, Thorogood is a true rock 'n roller, and has every intention of staying that way.

He's gearing up for a rockin' time at Wetzelland, and until then..."Wop Bop a loo Bop, keep it down and keep it cool people."

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This page contains a single entry by fountainhead published on August 1, 2006 12:58 AM.

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