By Carl Kurek
Here is a quick question: how many bands can stand the test of time? Answer: very, very few.
Many cannot even stay together after just one year of playing together, or are just “one hit wonders.” But one artist still going strong and celebrating 40 years in the music business is George Thorogood and the Destroyers. In those years, he has been busy putting out albums (26 so far), and of those, six have gone gold and two have gone platinum.
George and the band just played the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, Indiana on July 12th, 2014 for his current 40 YEARS STRONG tour. I was ready for a night of hearing those legendary hits, like “Who do You Love,” “I Drink Alone,” “Bad to the Bone,” “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” “Move It On Over,” and “Get A Haircut,” and I was not disappointed.
George comes out dressed in a black tee shirt and black jeans with his trademark Gibson ES-125 hollow-body guitar in hand. On stage with him is Jeff Simon on drums, Bill Blough on Bass, Jim Suhler on guitar and Buddy Leach on sax. Song after song, those legendary opening riffs bring the crowd to life, cheering and singing right along with George. At 64 years young, George still prowls the stage looking for a young lady to interact with and give her those patented Thorogood looks. He is not a big talker between songs, but he knows how to interject those little sexual innuendos that get a laugh out of the fans.
If you know George you know he gives praise to his roots every chance he gets. That means legends like John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, Elmore James, Howlin Wolf, and Albert Collins. In his younger days he could duck walk right along with Chuck Berry. When he comes back to the microphone and the other band members leave, you just know it’s time for “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”. The crowd jumps to their feet when they hear that Gibson thumping out the opening riff . When he sings “Now next Friday come I didn’t get the rent,” the fans answer back loud and clear, “AND OUT THE MOTHER HUMPIN DOOR I WENT!”
When I go see a band I want the feeling that they are enjoying playing for us and are having a good time, and that is exactly what you get from George. His songs are fun to listen to and you will even catch yourself singing along to them as you are driving down the road. I’m pretty sure that if you’re in a bar picking out some songs to play on the jukebox, it’s actually against the law NOT to play at least one George Thorogood song!
If you have the chance, do yourself a favor and go see the man that has rocked us for 40 years and hear all those great songs live. One thing is for sure… George Thorogood is definitely BAD TO THE BONE!