Thorogood introductions started early in life

The Mankato Free Press
By Robb Murray

Don’t you just love a fresh start?

I do. Which is why I’m happy to be coming to you from a different section of the paper this week.

If you hate my columns, please take this opportunity to make a mental note — heck, even write it down somewhere if that’ll help — that I’ve switched up beats a little bit.

Tanner Kent, our former Currents and Mankato Magazine editor who did an absolutely fabulous job on the beat and will be sorely missed, has moved on. I have taken his place. After nearly 20 years covering news — cops and courts, higher education, health care and nonprofits — I’ve decided to accept a new challenge. So to avoid my column about whatever cute thing my kids said yesterday, please note that it’ll be in this section most Thursdays. Bottom of the page.

My first day on this new venture was Monday, which is the same day one of the best emails I’ve ever gotten landed in my inbox. It asked a simple question: “Would you be interested in interviewing George?”

Who is George, you ask?

I’ll get to that in a minute.

First, some background ...

When I was a kid, my parents had a little cabin in the woods in northern Wisconsin. My childhood summer weekends were spent there, Lake DesMoines, a short hike from the “bustling” downtown of Webb Lake.


My friends and I would ride all-terrain vehicles, swim in the lake, pick wild blueberries, explore the wilderness, tell ghost stories. But the memories that mean the most to me are of sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows and — kids, cover your ears — taking my first sips of California Coolers and Schmidt Beer.

Because I’ve always loved music, everything we did have a soundtrack. My black boombox with the detachable speakers, dual tape decks and graphic equalizer got a workout. Propped on the railing of the deck, everything from Waylon Jennings to Grandmaster Flash and Furious Five echoed from that thing. And, of course, there was George. From “I Drink Alone” and “Gear Jammer” to “Bad To the Bone” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” few artists provided the audio backdrop to my summer memories the way George did.

So who is George? George Thorogood, of course.

Say what you want about his apparent glorification of drinking — I’d probably agree with you on some of it — but there’s a reason he’s the godfather of good time songs.

His music strikes a chord with whatever it is inside of us that understands the basic human need to rock on, to simply cut loose and have fun. That bluesy guitar and gravelly voice was like a secret room we got to peek into for a few minutes. I feel like the songs wouldn’t have the same oomph if they were about, say, one green tea, one coffee, one ice water.

All in all, not a bad way to start the new beat. I accepted, of course, and will be speaking with George soon, hopefully.

I’m pretty sure most days on this beat won’t begin with an offer to interview a guitar god, but it was a pretty nice way to start.

I wonder if he’d sign my boombox ...



Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” few artists provided the audio backdrop to my summer memories the way George did.

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