Articles: March 2003 Archives

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George Thorogood & the Destroyers return Tuesday (March 25th) with a new album called Ride 'Til I Die. The title comes from a John Lee Hooker song that Thorogood covers on the album, with him on acoustic guitar, backed by drummer Jeff Simon and guitarist Jim Suhler.

Ride 'Til I Die is the first new set of material from the band since 1999's Half A Boy, Half A Man. Thorogood says that if it wasn't for the first song on the album, "Greedy Man," the set wouldn't have been made: "'Greedy Man' is the reason that CD sits in front of you. I heard it four years ago, and I had no record deal at the time when I heard it--and I did not wish to have a record deal at the time. I said, 'I think we have enough songs now where we can just play live and not have to worry about it.' And then I found that song, and I said, 'This song is so great, it's perfect for us, but now I gotta find 12 other ones, and then we gotta get a record deal, and they're gonna want more than one record,' and all the stuff that goes with it."

Thorogood kicks off an extensive North American tour on April 8th in Bakersfield, California.

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Staff Reporter

Ron Smith is not the average WVUD deejay.

Although he works for the university station, he wasn't always the one spinning the records - he was once making them.

Smith, a former member of George Thorogood and The Destroyers, now hosts a blues show on the university radio station.

He is one of three members to start the Wilmington-based band in 1973, which would become famous for songs such as "Bad to the Bone."

Smith says a shared love for blues and rock 'n' roll inspired The Destroyers to start up.

He was involved with The Destroyers as a rhythm guitarist for the first three years. He says its earlier songs were covers of classic blues and rock 'n' roll songs such as Jimmy Reed's "Big Boss Man" and Chuck Berry's "No Particular Place To Go."

The band played in Philadelphia, Boston, New York City and bars such as Romelle's and the Big Boar Inn in Delaware.

"It was a great adventure," Smith says. "Every performance was like a little victory. It was us against the world."

Although most people may not recognize the band by its name, many people are familiar with its tunes.

"We had fans," Smith says. "It was nothing like what you see on MTV, but people wanted to hang out with us."

Smith wasn't a part of the Destoyers when its hit song "Bad to the Bone" was released in 1977, but he says the lyrics and melody were derived from a Bo Diddley song.

Roundhouse Records signed the Destroyers in 1976 - the year Smith left the band.

"Paths were diverging and I couldn't see myself going down that path," he says.

Smith says he wanted to explore other job opportunities.

The band always possessed great potential, but he says it became apparent he wouldn't be able to support himself with this lifestyle.

Smith acknowledges that in the early days there were ups and downs. He says the band was living out of a white Chevy high cube van resembling a bread truck, and most of its money was going toward getting the next gig.

The other members were not elated with his decision, but they did not resent it, he says.

The three original members - Smith, Thorogood and Jeff Simon - have remained friends since Smith's departure.

Smith says The Destroyers are still around and Thorogood and Simon remain involved with the band. This past summer the group performed in Wilmington at the Big Kahuna.

He says he sees the other guys every once in a while but concedes that he misses playing with The Destroyers as well as the camaraderie between the members.

The year following his exit, Smith began working at WVUD after his roommate offered him the job as an on-air personality.

At age 47, Smith has been spinning blues records for a quarter of a century.

The affection he harbors for the blues keeps him nestled at WVUD, where he desires to give this genre more commercial exposure.

"If you want to hear music that was inspiration for The Destroyers, listen to WVUD on Fridays," Smith says. "Blues music is timeless and speaks through the ages."

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