Thorogood simply bad to the bone

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By ANN MARIE McQUEEN - Sun Media

George Thorogood is thoroughly committed to being George Thorogood.

For example, when answering the simple question "How are you?" he has this response: "I'm bad."

I groan. But at the same time, what I really want to say is, "Bad to the Bone," Mr. Thorogood?"

I reckon he wouldn't mind. This is the sort of performer who perpetuates his reputation for a particular sort of mainstream mediocrity, the cleverly constructed kind. Who, when asked about his shrewd tendency to self-deprecation, says quickly, "Self-deprecation. Is that when you wet your pants?"

The 56-year-old Thorogood, who is set to play the Ottawa Bluesfest mainstage tonight, knows exactly what self-deprecating means.

A quote on his website bio sums it up: "My biggest thrill is when someone says I've got George's new CD and it sounds exactly like the last."

The blues-rock mainstay from Wilmington, Del., has clearly figured the game out to achieve a steady, reliable sort of success. Mostly that has happened by giving rock fans exactly what they want, something that was evident when he played the Bluesfest in 2004.

"The reason you guys bring me to Ottawa is 'cause you need a rock band," he said. "You need a rock band and we're one you can afford. You can't afford Tom Petty. You can't afford Bruce Springsteen."

Thorogood has ridden his waves of popularity out, first assembling his band The Destroyers, releasing his debut album in 1974 and peaking with hits and three gold records in the 1980s.

And unlike some of his peers, Thorogood isn't about to complain about the current paralytic state of the music industry.

"Things change all the time," he says. "You have to adapt to the changes that go on or you don't stay in the business."

One thing of the changes he's witnessed slowly, over a 30-year career, is the state of the crowds that come to see him.

"They're much more behaved now. The ticket prices change all that ... someone pays $2 to get in you're taking your chances. Somebody pays $50 to get in, they are going to be on their best behaviour."

Thorogood says not only are his original fans grandparents now, there are often kids in his crowd. That means these days, when it comes to being "bad," he has to have just the right balance.

"There are people who are nine, 10, 11 years old out there, and then there are grandparents out there," he said. "I have to keep my rough-and-rowdy image going, but at the same time, I can't be vulgar or anything and be crude.

"There's children here."

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This page contains a single entry by fountainhead published on July 13, 2007 12:03 AM.

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