Rock, Ribs, Ridges bigger, better
By: Robert Price
When blues-rock legend George Thorogood, best known for his song "Bad to the Bone," learned that the Rock, Ribs and Ridges Festival co-features barbecued ribs with the music, he coined a new motto for the event -- "Good to the Bone."
And if the recipe of ribs and southern rock for the first four festivals was good to the bone, the milestone fifth annual Rock, Ribs and Ridges Festival might be described as boneless, because of a new, larger venue and perhaps wider musical appeal.
Start with Thorogood, who, with his band the Destroyers, is celebrating his 40th anniversary in music. Thorogood will headline on the concert stage, along with Grand Funk Railroad, for the two-day event June 28 and 29.
Add the new venue -- the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta -- and world-class ribbers and craft beer brewers, and you have the makings for the best fest yet. The first four fests were held at Hidden Valley on the side of a mountain -- hence, the Ridges in Rock, Ribs and Ridges -- but that Vernon ski resort went out of business last fall.
"The fairgrounds is a huge recognition and branding factor," said Executive Producer Howard Freeman, of Promo 1 in Fairfield. "It became a no-brainer. It gives us room to grow."
But Freeman and his sponsors were already considering a move, even before the unfortunate circumstances at Hidden Valley left their event homeless.
"Frankly, last year we had Charlie Daniels, and we had such a demand that we ran out of parking. We kind of outgrew the venue," Freeman said.
Thorogood happy to play all the big hits Thursday at House of Blues
George Thorogood isn’t one to wax nostalgic about his 40 years in rock.
“Every night I walk on stage — that’s the moment,” says Thorogood, who appears with his band The Destroyers at the House of Blues in Atlantic City 8 p.m. Thursday, June 19. “I just don’t take it any farther than that. That’s all you got right at the time. I don’t have yesterday. I don’t know what tomorrow is going to be. This is the biggest thrill of my life — here and now — as a musician, anyway.”
For the Wilmington, Del., native, the last four decades have taken him on a ride he never imagined.
Thorogood, whose guitar style was heavily influenced by early blues and rock greats such as Elmore James and Chuck Berry, didn’t necessarily envision becoming a household name when he launched his career at the height of the soft rock era of the mid-’70s.
“Nobody thought rock was going to last that long,” Thorogood recalls. “There was no MTV, no classic rock radio, no satellite radio. We didn’t realize the industry was going to boom the way it did, that it would have the impact that it did on the world. When I picked up an electric guitar, soft rock was in — James Taylor, Cat Stevens, John Denver and things like that. Aerosmith and ZZ Top and Springsteen hadn’t happened yet. I figured I’d get a blues band together.”
Thorogood found commercial success with his booming cover of Hank Williams’ “Move It On Over,” the title track of his second album, and has stuck by his guitar-driven, blues-rock credo through more than a dozen subsequent albums.
The current band — Jeff Simon on drums, Bill Blough on bass, Jim Suhler on rhythm guitar and Buddy Leach on saxophone — is touring behind last year’s “Icon” (Universal Music), a greatest hits collection featuring a new version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Do The Do,” and the live DVD “Live At Montreux” (Eagle Rock Entertainment).
Blues-Rock Bad Boy --- How George Thorogood and the Destroyers Spent 40 Years Being Awesome
During a 40-year career fronting a band called the Destroyers and writing some monster-sounding blues-rock songs, George Thorogood’s music has gained a large and loyal following around the world. Eight of his 16 studio albums have either gone gold or platinum, and he’s sold more than 15 million recordings. His biggest single, “Bad To the Bone,” is one of the most iconic songs and packs one of the most familiar riffs from the early 1980s. The song still gets plenty of airplay, is heard regularly at sporting events, has been used in commercials and has popped up in movie and TV shows.
So it’s probably just as well that songs Thorogood originally wrote with other artists in mind never got made, for one reason or another. “Bad to the Bone” is a perfect example: Thorogood initially thought blues legend Muddy Waters would be perfect for the song. But the tune never got past Waters’ front line of defense. In fact, Thorogood said, the bluesman’s manager was almost offended. “They said it’s a real sacrilege that an up-and-coming white blues musician would write a song for one of the all-time great blues masters,” Thorogood recalled with a sardonic laugh during a recent phone call. “And I said that’s silly, a great song is a great song. If Elvis Presley had been alive, I’d have given it to him.”
It wasn’t that Thorogood wanted to give away songs because he lacked confidence in the sound he and the Destroyers were producing. When they were just getting known, they were good enough to appear as the music stars on Saturday Night Live. And, in 1981, they parlayed what was supposed to be a one-night one-off into a full-blown tour opening for the Rolling Stones. So they weren’t exactly chopped liver; it’s just that Thorogood heard other voices in his head singing lead vocals on his original music.
For instance, Thorogood wrote “I Really Like Girls” with the band Stray Cats in mind. “I Drink Alone” should have been a George Jones song. And “Born To Be Bad,” he said, was written thinking Steppenwolf would be the perfect group, because Thorogood liked lead singer John Kay’s voice.
George Thorogood still bad to the bone 40 years later
Courtesy - Saratogian.com
By: Don Wilcock
George Thorogood never thought he’d still be singing “Bad to The Bone” 32 years after he first recorded it and 41 years after he sat slack-jawed watching Blues Hall of Fame band leader Eddie Shaw squire a dying blues legend Howlin’ Wolf to clubs around the country.
About halfway through a grueling 40th-anniversary tour, boogey boy Thorogood brings his Delaware Destroyers band to Empire State Plaza at 5 p.m. Wednesday for a free performance that promises to force younger hard rock bands to “Move It On Over” so he can get Capitaland “Reelin’ and Rockin’.”
Ten years ago, Thorogood told me he couldn’t wait to become a senior citizen so he could engage in behavior that would allow him to get away with shenanigans that would get a younger million-selling rock star busted. Now, at 64, he finds that being an AARP card-carrier doesn’t have the advertised advantages, at least for rock and rollers.
“They keep raising the bar all the time. Nobody gets old anymore, thanks to Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler, who are a little older than me,” he said. “They keep playing, out there rockin’, and everybody turns around and says, ‘Hey, man! Let’s rock.’ I say, ‘What are you trying to do to us?’”