George ThorogoodWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
George Thorogood is full of good lines. “Rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t sleep, it just passes out,” he bellowed before saying “¡Adios!” after an interview July 23.
You won’t get a line of bull while talking with the blues-rock guitarist. Just like his music, Thorogood is straightforward, hard-hitting and sometimes sarcastic. In other words, the singer-songwriter who struck gold with The Destroyers with “Bad to the Bone,” “Move It On Over,” “I Drink Alone” and “Who Do You Love?” was entertaining.
TFP: How do you pick songs to cover?
Thorogood: I listen to a song and I go, “This song is for us.” It’s the same way when we write stuff.
I don’t write music that’s not suited for the artist. There are very few people like Ray Charles who can do anything; Elvis Presley can do anything … Most people have a certain lick that they’re very good at and that’s what I go for, that groove. Let’s face it, “Get a Haircut” would have been a dopey song if we didn’t do it; it’s a dopey song anyway, but. “If You Don’t Start Drinkin’ (I’m Gonna Leave)” is not a song for Barbra Streisand, is it? “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is not for The Destroyers. I just try to stay within my limitations … Clint Eastwood was made to be in a saddle, wasn’t he?
TFP: What is it about your sound that makes it classic?
Thorogood: If you had to eat toast and coffee every day for breakfast for the rest of your life and a couple hardboiled eggs, would that bother you? No, every store has Budweiser in it, doesn’t it? Every other block has a Chevy dealership. You know that’s what I thought about when I started to begin with: I’m not going to make headlines, I know that, but on the other hand, I’m never going to go out of business. That was the plan from day one; I sold the best burgers in town.
TFP: Willing to share a story behind a track from your 2006 disc, “The Hard Stuff?” How about “Any Town USA?”
Thorogood: I had that in mind a long time ago because I figured it was a song that was meant for our band. You’re not going to see The Rolling Stones in “Any Town USA.” You’re not going to see Bruce Springsteen or Madonna in any town; you’re going to see them in New York or LA or Chicago. But The Destroyers could be playing anywhere at any given time.
TFP: And “Bad to the Bone?”
Thorogood: I was on this tour with The J. Geils Band and The Stones, and every time you heard the opening lick of “Love Stinks,” the crowd would go bananas … And every time they heard the opening chord to “Start Me Up” or “Honky Tonk Woman,” the fans would just go bananas because there’d be a gap between it, you know what I’m saying, like a break; you’d just hear the opening lick and it’d stop.