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He’s still bad to the bone

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George Thorogood was the first concert I attended after moving to fabulous Las Vegas. Rather than going for ‘Lil John at a club or The Killers, I took it old school and it was worth it.

With iconic hits like “Bad to the Bone,” which I fell in love with all over again after hearing it during Lindsey Lohan’s poker scene in The Parent Trap, and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” Thorogood’s music speaks for itself. You might be surprised that the apparent badass takes care of his health and isn’t even a fan of scotch. This Saturday, he will be performing live in Primm at the Star of the Desert Arena alongside blues guitar prodigy Jonny Lang, for whom he has he utmost respect.

At the end of our interview, Thorogood quipped, “Most of what I told you was true.” Read on and decide for yourself.

Will you be selling your new album, The Dirty Dozen, at the Primm show, even though it’s scheduled for release on July 28th?

Oh you’re darn right I will.

Which previously out of print tracks did you include on The Dirty Dozen?

They come from albums that were out of print. I think one was “Maverick” and “Howlin’ for My Baby” came off of Haircut. And then “Hello Little Girl” and “Six Days in a Row” came off of Boogie People.

Will you also be releasing this album on vinyl as well?

Yeah, we’re releasing it on everything. Anything anybody wants! It’s just like making a movie. What do you want? DVD? AVB, BMW, MVP? We’re releasing it on anything they’ve got. Whatever they have today for getting the message out, we will take advantage of.

Do you have a favorite song to perform?

I like them all. Some of them I like, but they’re kind of hard to play. The two I like the best are the first one we play and the last one. [Laughs] The first one I play, I’m so excited, and the last one, I’m really happy because I’m done.

Does it ever get old playing your hits like “Bad to the Bone” at every show?

No, that’s why we created this stuff. It doesn’t get old. It never gets old shaking hands with an old friend, does it? You’re playing for a different audience each time, so to them, it’s not night after night. They may never see you again ever or they might not have seen you in 10 years, or they might not see you again for another 10 years. Then there are other people who have seen you 50 times, and if they’ve seen you that many times, then they don’t care.

Calendar

George Thorogood and The Destroyers with Jonny Lang
July 23-25
8 p.m., $43.95 - $65.95
Star of the Desert Arena, 386-7867
Beyond the Weekly
George Thorogood

What prompted your transition from semi-professional baseball to the music business back in the early ‘70s?

I couldn’t hit, run or throw. I took it as far as I was going to go and that was it so I said, “Well, I got as far as Jeff Simon’s backyard playing baseball and I got all the way to the Royal Albert Hall playing music.” There was never a doubt in my mind since I was 15 what I was going to do for a living.

Did you come from a musical family?

I have sisters who play piano very well. … But my parents weren’t musical. They came from a generation where they could barely afford shoes, let alone musical instruments. We had a record player. We didn’t have a TV until I was 10 or 11. Any extra money they got, they tried to get a musical instrument into the house. They didn’t want us to have to work at all. My dad used to say, “You know what a musician is? A bum with a job.” And I go, “That’s for me.” And he says, “That’s right. That’s for you!”

What prompted you to bring Jonny Lang on tour with you?

I’ve been wanting to bring Jonny on tour since the day I met him, and that was back in about ’92 when we did a benefit for EMI Capitol down in Newport Beach and he was just a kid, 14 or 15, just starting out. I said, “Man, this kid is great! Let’s get on the tour!” So, we’re finally getting around to that. He’s a good kid.

How do you keep up such a rigorous touring schedule?

Well, I get a lot of rest and I drink a lot of liquids and stay away from fried food.

So you’re Mr. Healthy now?

Well isn’t everybody, now? All I do is try. You get a lot more mileage out of the car when you take care of it.

Do people ever try to buy you one bourbon, one scotch and one beer after shows?

Yeah. I don’t take it. I don’t even like scotch. I can’t even stand the smell of it. That’s some horrible stuff. It’s just the name of a song. It’s just a song with a catchy title. I’m so tired at the end of a show; they can hardly pump water into me.

I’ve noticed a lot of pictures of you with the same white guitar. Is that your favorite guitar?

Well I’ve got another one now. I have a black one. I’ve got two. They’re both Gibsons. I’ve been playing the 125 since we put the band together in ’73, but I’ve had various ones over the years. That’s all I play – Gibson 125s. Please, tell your readers not to steal my guitars. They don’t make them anymore and I can’t get any. They stopped making them in 1970 and I’ve had people steal them. They can’t be replaced and they’re the only guitars I can play. Someday, somebody’s going to steal my guitar and that’s going to be the end of my career. … It’s like stealing a man’s horse. Hang that sucker; string him up!

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