George Thorogood At 17th Annual Telluride Blues & Brews Fest

[click “Play” to hear Susan’s conversation with George Thorogood]

3520 Steve Gumble’s 17th annual Telluride Blues & Brews Festival takes place September 17 – September 19 on the Main Stage in Town Park.

So what do you picture when you hear the word “blues?”

Do you imagine a slump-shouldered vagabond scuffling down a dusty Delta road? Or perhaps someone up there on stage with his band in a smokey Chicago club shouting over the noise of the crowd until the crowd stops making noise and listens? Do you imagine the hard-rocking sound, Chicago-style blues sound of George Thorogood and the Destroyers?

Steve Gumble booked George & Co. to close Friday night with a signature blues-rock set. The Destroyers are touring behind their 2009 release The Dirty Dozen, six newly recorded studio tracks and six crowd-leasing oldies but goodies dating back to the 1980s.

Some folks think Thorogood is a genius. Except Thorogood. He famously describes himself as merely “clever.”

“OK, I’m a genius at being very clever,’’ he once said.

Clever enough to have become a chestnut in the roots game: Thorogood and the Destroyers have been at it for more than 30 years and counting. His 1982 hit, “Bad to the Bone,” remains his anthem and a staple on classic rock radio.

“You’ve got two guys in the ring. One guy who’s the contender and wants to get the title and you’ve got the guy who’s got the title and it took him 15 years to get the title and he’s held onto it for five years. Who’s going to be the tougher opponent? It’s going to be the guy with the title who worked hard to get it. You’re going to have to kill him to get it away from him. And that’s all that I’m doing up there. I’m trying to hold my gig. I just want to make sure that at the end of the night the promoter comes up and says, ‘I want to hire you again.’”  

The Destroyers fought their way to the top – or “crawled its way to the middle,” another Thorogood quip. They came out of Delaware in the early 1970s as a jarringly high-energy bunch (also featuring drummer Jeff Simon and bassist Billy Blough) whose raucous, slide guitar-stoked, blues-rock takes on tunes by Chuck Berry, Elmore James, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and others helped land them a contract with Cambridge’s Rounder Records. Before forming his band,Thorogood was playing minor-league baseball. Guess the guy is still hitting home runs.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to Thorogood’s interview.

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