Photo courtesy of Aaron Rapoport
By Jessica Weston
Courtesy - The Daily Independent
Ask George Thorogood about playing at the Kern County Fair in Bakersfield next month and the legendary performer is hardly at a loss for words.
In a phone interview recently, Thorogood praised the area as “the original area of the hardcore country music in our country, not Nashville.” Bakersfield is the place where travelers and migrants from Oklahoma settled, he said.
People from the larger area tend to be what he calls “boogie people,” he said. “Its a hard thing to explain, people who live for the rock thing. It validates their existence in a good way.”
And Thorogood ought to know. He has performed for a lot of audiences in his career since first stepping onstage on Dec. 1, 1973. Since then, George Thorogood and the Destroyers have achieved legendary status for their down-home, yet powerhouse rock tempered with country and blues. The group is known for hits such as “Bad To The Bone,” “I Drink Alone,” “Who Do You Love,” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.” They have put out 16 studio albums in all; they have two Platinum albums and six Gold albums.
Still, according to Thorogood, long-term success seemed anything but a certainty.
“I didn't know, its hard to predict something like that,” he said. “Because you don't don't know if the medium itself is going to last. Anything that has anything to do with entertainment is hard to predict.
“I was prepared for failure, not success.”
Despite any misgivings, however, Thorogood said his choice of career was almost a given. Everyone he knew expected him to pursue music. “I was that obvious,” he said with a laugh.
Thorogood has a lot of interesting memories from the 40 years. Some bittersweet, such as having acts he personally looked up to open for him. “It's kind of like asking your father to be your chauffeur,” he said.
Some historic. He spoke philosophically about the role of MTV in modern culture. “What MTV does for all artists is it establishes you as a rock artist, not a blues or jazz artist.”
And some a little surprising. Asked about unusual memories, Thorogood didn't have to think long.
“Bob Dylan's son, we did a show on rock festival,” he said. Consequently, “I not only opened for Bob Dylan, I went on after his son.
“I'm the only guy who went on after Dylan and before Dylan,” he said.
Thorogood said he has seen a lot of changes in rock. There is “much more diversity” since rock music started in the 1950s and 1960s, he said. “It's changed for everyone.”