Thorogood continues rocking to his own beat
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10:00 PM PDT on Thursday, July 31, 2008
By VANESSA FRANKO
Throughout his career, blues rock guitarist George Thorogood has shared the stage with the likes of the J. Geils Band, ZZ Top, Steve Miller and even Coachella Valley Resident Eric Burdon.
"I only work with the best -- why else do it?" Thorogood said in a recent telephone interview.
His latest tour is no different, as Thorogood stops at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles tonight and at Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella on Saturday with none other than Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Buddy Guy.
"Buddy Guy is the greatest," Thorogood said. "That guy, he's got both worlds covered. He could open for the Rolling Stones or to 100,000 people or pack the House of Blues for the rest of his life because not only does he play blues, but he's a vibrant entertainer."
Thorogood is a veteran in the live front as well, playing the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana in February.
But Thorogood is selective about touring and only does about 80 shows per year.
"Other bands do 300 dates a year -- that would kill me. I couldn't make it to 90 or 100, I'd be dead," he said.
Thorogood, originally from Delaware, gained popular acclaim with his band the Destroyers in 1978, when his raucous, bluesy cover of Hank Williams' "Move It On Over" became a radio hit, shortly followed by Thorogood's version of Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?" and his biggest hit, 1982's "Bad to the Bone."
"We play better than we ever did," Thorogood said. "You do something for 30 years and eventually you're gonna get good at it. The venues keep improving and improving all the time so that keeps us very upbeat with what we do."
Thorogood is happy playing the hits for his fans.
"Nobody ever gets tired of having their work appreciated," he said.
He's got ballads, rockers, heartache songs and a fraction of drinking songs in his catalog. And the ones about suds and the hard stuff are some of his best-known work, such as "I Drink Alone" and "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer."
But don't expect any more liquor-themed songs from what Thorogood himself describes as, the "world's greatest bar band."
"I'm not going to write or record any more. We have enough. There's enough drinking songs in the world, I think," he said, breaking out into a laugh.
Despite touring and working with some of the greats, Thorogood still seems floored when his idols and heroes want to meet and talk with him.
A few years ago, he was performing at the Love Ride, where Peter Fonda was hosting and when he came off stage, Fonda introduced him to Steve Miller.
"I'm standing here with Captain America and Stevie 'Guitar' Miller. I'm going out of my mind," Thorogood said, recounting how one summer he played Steve Miller's album every day and hitchhiked into town to see Fonda in "Easy Rider" twice every day and hitchhiked back out of town, listening to Miller.
"And here I am, standing here and Steve's going 'Why don't we do a tour together?' and Peter Fonda's going 'Yeah, that's great. Can I go?' " as Thorogood stood there incredulous. "Are you kidding me?"
With his hits and working with some of the greatest musicians and guitarists of all time, Thorogood is just happy to be in the game.
"I'm just proud to be part of it in some small way. If I was on a baseball team I'd say, 'Just get me a uniform. I don't care where I play, where I bat in the lineup, just get me a on a team,' " he said.