Thorogood's comic cred: Not only can he play a mean guitar, George is funny, too
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By Molly Gilmore | For The Olympian • Published July 24, 2008
Although he's known as a blues singer and guitarist, George Thorogood also is something of a comedian.
"I can't believe it's really me," said Thorogood, who will play Friday at Little Creek Casino near Shelton.
"Funny and sexy never go out of style," he said. "I got one of them covered. Only Suzanne Pleshette had both."
Now you're dating yourself.
"I would never ask myself out on a date," he riffed.
Ba dum bum!
Along with his musical success - his 2004 greatest-hits album was named Billboard's blues record of the year - Thorogood has comic credibility.
"I met Sinbad," he said. "Who knows more about funny than Sinbad? He told me I was funny and he was serious as a heart attack.
"I said, 'I meant for it to be funny. That's what I do,' the guitarist said. "How do you take 'Get a Haircut' seriously? 'I Drink Alone' - that is funny."
There is a certain association between Thorogood and songs about alcohol. But he said it's not deserved.
"How many songs do you think I've sung about drinking?" he asked. "Three. Only three and we've made 125 songs. That's less than 3 percent. Those are the ones America chose as their favorites. I've done love ballads, I've done songs about cars, I've done heartbreak songs. But they don't want to hear that; they want to hear 'One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer,' so I play them that.
"If John Wayne did Shakespeare, no one would come to the theater. They want to see him do Westerns," he said.
Thorogood's fans want more of the same as well. His biography quotes him as saying: "My biggest thrill is when somebody says to a friend, 'I've got George's new CD and it's just like the last one.' "
Critics seem to agree with that. "Thorogood's music was always loud, simple, and direct - his riffs and licks were taken straight out of '50s Chicago blues and rock and roll - but his formulaic approach helped him gain a rather large audience in the '80s, when his albums regularly went gold," Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote for All Music Guide.
Such statements don't bother Thorogood, who compares himself to a used-car dealer (and the likes of Bob Dylan to a Rolls Royce dealer).
"If I could play a little bit lousier, I'd have been the king of punk," he said. "They said, 'You play too good to be in a punk band.' I said, 'How about Led Zeppelin?' They said, 'You're not that good.' I was right in between."