Thorogood has earned respect

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Erin Harde , Special to The Leader-Post
Published: Thursday, May 22, 2008

It may surprise George Thorogood fans that the b-b-b-b-bad to the bone singer does not, in fact, appreciate or condone audience members getting completely loaded at his shows.

The self-described "boogie blues master" who, with his band The Destroyers, released such hits as "I Drink Alone" and the perennial barroom favourite "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" says his catalogue has a lot more to offer than just the alcohol-infused radio favourites.

"I don't want to play for a bunch of drunks," says Thorogood.

"It's like writing a book and someone puking during the third chapter and passing out before the book is halfway done. You work for the live stage act and put songs together and want people to see the show."

Over the years, his audiences have become more respectful, particularly the younger generation.

"Every year, it gets more enjoyable because I get older, the band gets better, a lot of people in the audience get younger and look at me different," he says. "It's not just a bunch of roaring drunks just cutting loose and using me as an excuse to get drunk."

Thorogood audiences today are more diverse than 20 years ago. Young people show up with their parents and sometimes grandparents.

"I prefer people under 20 and people over 60 because once they get older, they think 'this could be it -- I'm gonna have a good time tonight.' People under 20 have yet to form an opinion about anything. It's us people in between who are (expletives)," he laughs.

Now 58, Thorogood rightly deserves a little respect. With dozens of albums to his credit, hit songs like "Gear Jammer," "Get A Haircut," "Move It On Over," and "Bad To The Bone" and former tour mates that range from the Rolling Stones to Howlin' Wolf, Thorogood has become a blues rock legend in his own right, though it's just now that Thorogood says The Destroyers are hitting their stride.

"There's much more satisfaction in it. When you're building the house, when you're almost completed, you enjoy putting the final touches on it as opposed to when you get started," he says. "Building any kind of business or any kind of career is painstaking. It has been for me. Things didn't just explode for me like an Elvis Presley. It's been an ongoing process. Some people call it a labour of love, I just call it a labour."

The work has paid off for Thorogood as he continues to see fans fighting for tickets -- the Casino Regina show sold out in less than an hour. Thorogood coyly avoids naming any tunes from the set list.

"I met Joe DiMaggio and he told me one thing. He said 'George, you only owe your fans one thing,' and I said, 'What's that?' and he said, 'Your best.' "

The best of which album or era, Thorogood won't say, but he promises not to disappoint.

"I'm a boogie blues master with a lot of energy who, with all due respect to Dennis Leary, is probably the most obnoxious man in show business, in which I have that field completely to my own," says Thorogood. "I will not disappoint in that fashion. Ever."

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This page contains a single entry by fountainhead published on June 5, 2008 9:35 PM.

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