Articles: July 2003 Archives

From the Wichita Eagle

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posted on Fri, Jun. 27, 2003
Thoroughly George
Rock guitarist Thorogood takes pride in the versatility of his signature beat.
The Wichita Eagle

Bluesy rock guitarist George Thorogood subscribes to the theory uttered by Clint Eastwood in one of his movies: "A man has to know his limits." In Thorogood's case, his limits include the signature rock songs "Bad to the Bone," "I Drink Alone" and "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer."

While most rock guitarists would sacrifice their left amp for such limits, Thorogood says he was destined to be what some might call a one-chord wonder.

"As far back as 1968, this was the sound and style I went after," says Thorogood, who will perform with his band the Destroyers Tuesday night at the Cotillion. "I knew I would never sing like Robert Plant, I knew I would never write songs like Neil Young or Paul Simon.

"The guitar playing, I felt like I could get by."

Seventeen albums later and Thorogood is the same rough- hewn guitarist with the gritty vocals.

"I thought that the worst thing Clint Eastwoood ever did in his career was when he woke up one day and someone told him he was an actor," says the well-spoken, direct Thorogood. "He was so much more appealing before. It's like the day someone woke up Mick Jagger and told him he was a real singer, as opposed to being Mick Jagger. That was his appeal, that was his charm."

While Thorogood takes pride in his approach to his bluesy rock sound, he bristles at the notion that he's a one-chord wonder.

"People will say, 'Oh, Thorogood plays all the same songs with one chord,' but if you look at the whole 110 songs and listen to them individually and separate them, you'd say 'There's a lot more diversity here than we gave him credit for. And on top of it he didn't sway from his original beat.'

"Out of 110 songs we've recorded, ("Bad to the Bone") is only one. I also wrote a song called 'Woman With the Blues,' I do a song called 'What a Price,' I do a lot of tender ballads and I do some funny boogie songs."

The rocker also says the real Thorogood is much different from the image conveyed by the songs "I Drink Alone" and "One Bourbon."

"I drink a hard cup of tea. I pound the stuff," he says with mock seriousness.

"I think the reason you get that image is because they're our most popular songs. Like maybe 'The Roaring Twenties' is James Cagney's most popular movie but he did other things in his career. He did 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' and he did the Lon Chaney story 'A Man of a Thousand Faces.'

"Ted Nugent I am not. Ozzy Osbourne I never was."

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