Courtesy Goldmine Magazine
By Ray Chelstowski
This summer George Thorogood released his 16th studio album, “Party of One,” and his first back with Rounder Records. The album also establishes a first for “Lonesome George” in that it’s his first solo record without his legendary backing band, The Destroyers. Produced by longtime collaborator Jim Gaines, the record charts a historical walk through of the artists who have helped shape his career and whose music provides the underpinning to the cannon of one of rock’s most respected musicians.
Goldmine had the chance to speak with George about this record, the acts he admires most and his thoughts on rock ‘n’ roll’s historic past and uncertain future. With wit and an expansive understanding of rock’s rich history our conversation covered a good amount of ground and introduced us to his theories on everything from why we love electric guitar to something he calls “pulling off the trick.”
GOLDMINE: So I played a bunch of tracks from the new album for staffers in the office here and every one of us had the same impression almost immediately — we all said “it sure sounds like George is having a lot of fun.” What were you looking to accomplish with “Party Of One”? Was there any album that was the inspiration or sort of your guidepost for the record?
George Thorogood: When I started in the early ‘70s that was my “mo”… to do that first and then maybe later on move on to getting a rock band together like everybody else does — doing stuff on acoustic guitar, a solo album like Springsteen, and various others. But we kinda jump-started into the band thing and put the solo record on hold for a while. Rounder Records was very keen to do that, so was I. As you know we went our separate ways for a while and then when we got back together with them. We said, well, we think this is the time to do this. I also wanted to document the songs that I was doing at the time and include some that I had never recorded. And as we went along I said, let’s try to get one song at least from every artist that really meant something to me when I was just starting to learn the guitar, putting my solo act together — and lo and behold it kinda presented itself one song after another. We found a Johnny Cash song. We found a Hank Williams song. We even found a Dylan song. Those people as just as big an influence on me as say Robert Johnson, or John Lee Hooker, Hound Dog Taylor. So when we went in that direction that’s when it did become fun. Because I have been banging on Hooker, and Bo Didley, Chuck Berry and my own songs for so long that that’s where some of the fun came.