George Thorogood Says He Does ‘Obscure Material,’ Not Cover Songs

George Thorogood would make a bold proclamation halfway by way of our job interview: “I am the Indiana Jones of rock ‘n’ roll.”

He qualifies it additional, which includes, “I’m the rock ‘n’ roll archaeologist. I’m digging up these archives that nobody even is aware they exist.” In his eyes, “There’s a variance.” Though other individuals merely do address songs in Thorogood’s viewpoint, he and his longtime band, the Destroyers, have a distinctive aim. From their earliest days, they wished to place their possess stamp and identification on the music they have been recording.

The outcome is a occupation spanning additional than 50 a lot of years, driven by Thorogood’s variations of music like “Go It on About,” “One particular Bourbon, 1 Scotch, A person Beer,” “Who Do You Appreciate” and his person compositions. Thorogood has written a lot of his person stuff, commencing with his signature hit “Bad to the Bone.”

He’ll have his catalog on effectively recognized show when he hits the road this summer season with John Fogerty. “We have got new thoughts coming every single day, Thorogood quips. “All of my ideas that are new, I stole from Willie Nelson.”

Thorogood discussed Nelson and loads additional with Greatest Typical Rock Nights host Matt Wardlaw.

What is 1 of your good Willie Nelson stories?
We were performing the Bob Dylan 30th anniversary tribute, which I got invited to. I shared a dressing area with Johnny Funds, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. I could not believe it. I couldn’t think my title was on the factor. G.E. Smith brought me in and said, “Here’s your dressing area.” I claimed, “Willie Nelson, Johnny Money, Kris Kristofferson? Which is who I’m heading to be in the exact room with?” He seemed at me and he smiled and he winked and stated, “The outlaws.” So for the duration of that time, when you’re in the place with individuals a few folks, if you talk to Johnny Dollars and June Carter Dollars, you’re gonna get it in stereo. Kris is a pretty typical dude. Willie’s complete discussion is “hello,” “good afternoon” and “goodnight.” He’s not a snob, he just doesn’t discuss! He’s just not a verbal person like Johnny Cash is.

I had this guitar that I had all of my heroes — folks I usually worked with in some way or fashion — indicator the guitar. I brought it to get Johnny to signal it. Now, Willie Nelson happened to be in the place. Yrs right before that, I shot a online video with Hank Williams Jr. identified as “All My Rowdy Mates are Coming Over Tonight.” Hank invited all of these large stars — Cheech & Chong, Waylon Jennings, Dickey Betts — and he introduced in Willie Nelson. We all shared the identical trailer. So I went up to Willie in New York and I gave him a pen and reported, “I want you to sign my guitar.” He stood there for a second, like, not acquiring all set to indication it. I stated, “Don’t you keep in mind me?” He claimed, “Should I?” He knew who I was, which is not what I indicate. I mentioned, “Well, yrs back we did a movie and I shared a trailer with you. It was Dickey Betts, you and Waylon Jennings. We had been in it off and on for two hours. You were ideal in there.” He claimed, “Well, why didn’t you talk to me?” My remedy was, “A rookie isn’t supposed to talk!” You know what he stated?

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Read Far more: When Bob Dylan Joined the Massive ’30th Anniversary Concert Celebration’

What did he say?
He mentioned, “You’re correct, give me the pen. I’ll signal your guitar.” You see, mainly because I experienced finished the proper factor. These are not lightweight folks. These are the heaviest cats in the globe. I was the rookie and rookies don’t communicate! That’s it. Time period. Now, keeping Thorogood shut up, that is a wonder! [Laughs]

How did you put together for that Bob Dylan tribute?
You have bought to realize some thing. People have mentioned, “When you listened to about it, when you bought there, had been you well prepared?” I mentioned, “Motherfucker, I have been preparing for this due to the fact I was 15! Since I initial heard “Like a Rolling Stone.” Are you out of your head? Of class I well prepared!” [Laughs]

How did it truly feel?
It felt like you had been celebrating your birthday, Christmas Working day and the very first working day you get out of university for summertime family vacation. Bob Dylan wanted me to occur there. Are you out of your mind? [Laughs] I only experienced to change my underwear two or three periods all night. I’ll give you a true humorous story. I went up and did “Wanted Person,” which Bob Dylan wrote for Johnny Hard cash. I experienced to go on immediately after Stevie Wonder, who did “Blowin in the Wind.” I held heading on and on about how thrilled I was to be element of it, and Tom Petty, George Harrison, he’s one of the Beatles and so on. I’m likely nuts. Lastly, Kris Kristofferson, he’s a terrific guy, he’s acquired that terrific voice. He brought me down to Earth. He goes, “George, seem, I know you’re excited about this. But don’t go through much too substantially into it. You went on following Stevie Wonder. Which we claimed, ‘Thorogood’s the only just one dumb enough to go on just after Stevie Speculate!’” I loaded that hole that nobody else preferred to do. So I reported, “It’s much better to be in the king’s presence and have people toss you scraps than currently being in the gutter and have any individual toss you champagne.”

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Enjoy George Thorogood Perform ‘Wanted Man’

You performed “Wished Male” at the Dylan tribute. I believe which is what individuals have always appreciated about you. You go for the deeper cuts.
You know, when I began, Matt, the properly of heading for obscure content by our idols, such as Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry, the nicely was almost dry. The Rolling Stones depleted that. So did the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and J. Geils Band and John Hammond. There were extremely few points … I claimed, “I have to get a music by Chuck Berry that no one is familiar with, or a single by Bo Diddley.” I really had to do some investigate, simply because there weren’t far too numerous still left. “It Wasn’t Me” was 1 of them. Chuck Berry did not even recall recording it.

I consider, but I’m not fairly guaranteed, but I think the band backing him up when he did it was the Butterfield Blues Band or associates of that group. So I chosen that on objective. I wanted our band to have our have id with the substance that we selected. You see, I really don’t do handles. What I do is obscure product. There is a big difference. Joe Cocker does handles. Linda Ronstadt does addresses. George Thorogood does obscure substance.

Go through Additional: George Thorogood Releases the Occupation-Defining ‘Bad to the Bone’

You are hitting the street with John Fogerty this summer season. What do you remember about identifying John’s new music back again in the day?
I very first heard Creedence Clearwater Revival on the radio. On that similar working day was the very first night time that I was launched to Led Zeppelin. I heard those two bands in just 48 hours. I could not choose which a single was better than the other. That’s how great Creedence was. Of class, Led Zeppelin adjusted the world. But I heard them both of those at the same time. It’s like you’re possessing Miss The us and you have Jane Fonda and Jessica Lange both competing. What do you say? You’re trapped!

You can find footage of you and Fogerty at a baseball game alongside one another in the ’80s. When did you both equally kind that bond?
Nicely, it was by coincidence. He was quite reclusive at the time. No a single understood wherever he was or what he was carrying out. Any person bought a mobile phone quantity for his office. But it was not John’s selection. It was his brother Bob’s quantity. I named without realizing that. Of all matters, John just occurred to be walking as a result of the workplace at that moment. He picked up the phone and I said, “Hi, my identify is George Thorogood. I’d like to converse to John Fogerty.” This quite significant voice claimed, “This is John.” So I went, “Well, I’m George Thorogood.” He goes, “Hey, I know all about you. You are the best bluesman in the environment. You’re the white blues male, you’re the Jackie Robinson of blues. You broke the colour line.”

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That was the 1st point he mentioned to me. So then we struck up a mutual detail about audio. At that time, both of those of us were being excessive baseball freaks and we designed that link. Now, that was just a bonus to it all. He took me to a ballgame and we went to a pair of game titles. We acquired to know every other. Things went very well. We have labored with each other just before in various approaches. He asked for us on the up coming leg of his tour. He was a little bit puzzled as significantly as why above the several years, I didn’t keep on the romance. Very well, John commenced his lifestyle all above all over again. He remarried and experienced a boy or girl and relocated exactly where he lived. I didn’t want to bother him, Matt. As well as, it’s John Fogerty! It’s not just anyone. So I would not say we drifted apart. We were nevertheless, the two of us, in every other’s hearts and every single other’s minds. I was just offering him some area. If I decide up the cellular phone with John Fogerty, I’m not heading to hang it up!

Strange Info About Rock’s Most Well-known Album Covers

Early on, LPs usually highlighted essential portraiture of the artists. Then issues received bizarre.

Gallery Credit rating: Nick DeRiso

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