George Thorogood & the Destroyers - Ridin' Hard While Rockin' Da Blues
"In the early days, we went out and played every gig like it was our last. For all we knew, it was. Then one day, radio started playing our music. Everything changed."
George Thorogood and The Destroyers (www.georgethorogood.com) have been pumping out blues-rock since the '70s. With a tried and tested formula that has never failed and which lead to a fantastically successful career, George and his loyal crackerjack band have had a worldwide following for what seems forever now. We had the opportunity to ask George some questions and I am sure that reading this feature will give you more evidence of his wherewithal and powerful presence in music. There is a new album out, and if ya didn't know this by now, shame on your blues-rock lovin' soul. George and the boys are still chuggin' right along with the red-hot "Ride 'Til I Die."
RealAudio: You Don't Love Me (You Don't Care)
There is one thing you can always count on with George Thorogood; his music is not going to change, but a few different twist and turns on "Ride 'Til I Die" will continue to please the loyal listener and awaken some new ones. One thing is for certain, his firm grasp of blues-rock is undeniable. Making music now in his fourth decade, there seems to be no stopping him. He can still sing and grind away with his one and only gruff voice and his guitar slung low on hips with the energy and verve of performers half his age.
You had better believe that who is telling the story makes all the difference on "Ride 'Til I Die," and of course, the music provides the navigation. Thorogood makes it all new even though you have heard the stories told a thousand times before. He has the gift of gab and its set to some of the most rousing music you ever hear.
Not only is George a great musician and all around entertainer, he has a great sense of humor. You have to respect the man for his humble and grateful attitude towards life and his fans. It is no wonder he has been so successful since he first walked into the studio to record an album. I think listeners can appreciate the spirit in which he continues to make his music. I think they broke the mold when they made this guy. I am sure he will ride 'til he dies or die tryin'... with a smile.
"One thing that hasn't changed is my insistence to keep this whole rock and roll thing fun."
RealAudio: American Made
I asked George if it actually felt like it was that long ago since when he started, and what it was like then and what it is like now. I also asked how he felt about the music business and how things have changed. George commented with his natural straightforward aplomb.
"It depends what day you are asking. I still recall some of the early days like it were yesterday. Others seem like a million years ago. It all depends on which time you're referring to. In the early days, we went out and played every gig like it was our last. For all we knew, it was. Then one day, radio started playing our music. Everything changed. Now we tour because we have thousands of devoted fans around the U.S. and the world that want to see and hear us. We must have done something right all these years to still be in demand. I think the fact that we never got caught up in the hype has helped. Our music has stayed true to our basic values. I don't concern myself with what's going on in the music industry as a whole. It is hard enough to stay focused on doing the best we can do."
One question I always ask an artist is whom their influences were in life and music, because it is so fascinating to hear how they will reply. George cites Lee Marvin, Martin Luther King, Barry Goldwater, John Steinbeck and James Coburn in life; further there is, John Hammond, BB King, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones. Then he added, "How much more do you want?" I guess that sure is enough George, and some mighty fine people and artists I might add!
Another aspect of a long ongoing music career is the life on the road and how hard it is waking up in a different hotel room every night, at least that is what many entertainers have complained about. George has a very respectful and humble outlook on what he has received.
"I laugh when I run into fellow rockers who moan about 'having' to tour or that their record sales aren't what they'd like. Come on, wake up and smell the coffee! We love to tour. We will not let it get old. We stay on the road for four or five weeks at a time, then take a break. That way we don't burn out. We've learned from experience. Anyone who says they've got it rough having to tour should take a long hard look in the mirror and then thank their lucky stars that people still want them."
The caliber of musicians he has worked with over the years has always been the highest. Jeff Simon and Bill Blough have been with George for almost 30 years.
"They don't make 'em better than those guys." He also added, "We have had Jim Suhler on guitar for the past few years and just added Arno Hecht on sax and they bring so much to our sound it is hard to imagine what it was like before we hooked up with them. Our sound has been consistent over the years, but we have always added new wrinkles, different kinds of songs, special guests here and there. For the new record, 'Ride 'Til I Die', we had the pleasure of working with Jim Gaines, who is truly a legend. He brought out our best, from the material to our performances. We also had the pleasure of having our dear friend, Elvin Bishop, record his song 'Don't Let The Boss Man Get You Down' with us for this record. If you look in the dictionary for the word 'fun', you will see Elvin's picture."
If you love da blues and like it rockin', George Thorogood and The Destroyers is just the band to fill your order.