For George Thorogood and his longtime band The Destroyers - Jeff Simon (drums, percussion), Bill Blough (bass guitar), Jim Suhler (rhythm guitar) and Buddy GT-Flame-Engine-Logo 1000-637x478Leach (saxophone) - their 40th anniversary is indestructible proof that staying true to yourself and the music can still mean something. And with a catalog of iconic hits that includes "Who Do You Love", "I Drink Alone", "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer", "Move It On Over", "Bad To The Bone" and more, being able to share it with audiences is what will always matter.

"When I first started messing around with this thing in the early '70s, none of us even knew if Rock & Roll itself was going to last," George says. "There were no music videos, no Classic Rock radio. Only acts like Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones were doing big arena shows. Casino gigs were for performers like Joey Bishop and Dean Martin. I thought to myself, 'I just want to put out a couple of records before the whole thing goes away.' Every performer of my generation - Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt - thought the same way. We didn't get into this because it felt like the thing of the future. I was afraid that Rock would be over, and I'd miss my chance to be a part of it."

MUS GeorgeThorogood2 2419
Courtesy by Steve Newton

When you interview rockers on the road you always try to find out where they’re located, so you can write “When so-and-so calls from wherever” and establish a setting for the conversation. But when I contact blues-rocker George Thorogood, he’s not ready to cough up the info.

“We swore under oath with the government not to reveal the whereabouts of our location,” jokes the 64-year-old boogieman, so we’ll never know whether he was in Tallahassee or Kalamazoo.

And when I casually ask how he’s doing, Thorogood evades that query as well, instead replying with the title of his best-known song: “Bad to the Bone”.

Considering Thorogood’s name is synonymous with “Bad to the Bone”, it comes as quite a surprise that—at first, anyway—he didn’t even want that song for himself.

“I thought it would be a great song for Muddy Waters,” he explains. “I tried to hustle that tune to Muddy Waters’s camp, with absolutely no success, and actually his people were very offended with me for bringing the song to him. They were like, ‘A white guy bringin’ a blues song? Hell no, that’s not gonna work.’ I thought, ‘That’s bullshit! If Eric Clapton or Keith Richards did that they’d do it in a minute.’

He's been on the road, and making albums for 40 years now, but George Thorogood is about to do something he's never done before: "I've never done an interview on an airplane, I feel like Howard Hughes or something." It's pretty hard to be involved in a first with the veteran blues favourite, but it's his busy schedule that's behind the rushed call. Thorogood's Alaskan Airlines plane was about to head for Prince George, B.C., where he's starting a very big, very long trek across the country, 20 dates from B.C. to Halifax, including Fredericton and Moncton shows.

With his plane about to take off, we had a rushed conversation about the ongoing 40 Years Strong tour. It's not just hitting the major markets, because Thorogood has proved time and again he has a loyal crew of fans that will fill all his shows, and he's willing to go where they are. "It's a big country," Thorogood says, obviously at home here. "I don't spend enough time in Canada. You know, ever since 1978 we've been coming here and getting the red carpet treatment. It took us a while to find the right venues, but since 2008 it's been solid with the venues, and Canada's pretty spread out. The reception and the salary is well worth it for me. And it's breathtakingly beautiful."



After 40 years on the road George Thorogood loves travelling
north of the border

Courtesy Ottawa Citizen By Peter Robb, Ottawa Citizen
Memories of Canada with George Thorogood

George Thorogood and the Destroyers are headed back to Ottawa this time to perform in Southam Hall in the National Arts Centre.

Photograph by: Handout photo , Universal Music Enterprises

After four decades on the road, George Thorogood has more than his fair share of memories at his calloused fingertips.

“I used to play Ottawa quite a bit. We played at a club called Barrymore’s, we couldn’t knock it down,” he said. “We gave it our best shot but Canadians are tough.”

Thorogood, who has achieved “legend” status along with his band The Destroyers, because of songs like Who Do You Love, first crossed into Canada in 1978.

George Thorogood in concert
Where: Southam Hall, National Arts Centre
When: May 16 at 8 p.m.
Tickets: Start at $67,