Ask George Thorogood how he’s doing, the rocker answers, “Bad.”
It’s an answer you might expect from the man made famous by hits like “Bad to the Bone,” “I Drink Alone,” and covers of “House Rent Boogie/One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” “Move It On Over,” “Who Do You Love,” all of which he will likely play this weekend when Thorogood and the Destroyers, along with Los Lonely Boys, take the stage at Wild Adventures. Yet, the bluntness of his answer, the fact “Bad” serves as his hello, the way he belches it out prompts the next question — one that had been considered as an unlikely joke, or possibly the very last question of this phone interview.
Instead, this is what spills out as question No. 2: So, George, a couple buddies want to know, are you still bad to the bone?
Boom. We’re off to the races. A strange 15-minute rant-and-rave riff from a rock & roll bluesman on the
verge of turning 60.
“Who wants to know that!? A couple of buddies!? What!? What kind of question is that!?”
From this point, throughout the interview, George Thorogood calls me “Gossett.”
How often are you on the road these days?
“What!? You think I live out of the back seat of a car with a suitcase!? You think the band and I live together, and we all sleep in the same bed like the Three Stooges!? This is what you think!? We have no personal lives. That we’re just on the road constantly, working and playing!? I’m asking, is this really what you think!? No, tell me, tell me. Is that what you think, man?”
I can’t answer because I can’t stop laughing.
He talks about the band. The Delaware Destroyers. Thorogood’s played with this band since the 1970s.
“We can stand each other about 30 days at a time. That’s it. We have families. We have hobbies. We don’t all live in the same house, Gossett.”
Asked what his next project is, he says he plans to play the brother of Steve Buscemi’s Donny from the movie “The Big Lebowski.”
“I could be Danny, and we’ll call it ‘The Bigger Lebowski.’ But I can’t get Jeff Bridges or the Coen brothers to return my calls! That’s what I’m working on. ‘The Bigger Lebowski.’ I like to bowl, man. Other than that, I keep waiting for (Bob) Dylan to call.”
Thorogood mentions “The Bigger Lebowski” idea several times throughout the interview.
For a brief period, Thorogood riffs on coming to Georgia. He commandeers the questions with a monosyllabic spelling bee.
“How do you say, f-l-o-o-r?” Thorogood asks.
I answer floor so it rhymes with chore.
“No, you’re in Georgia. In Georgia, you say ‘flo.’” His pronunciation rhymes with dough.
“How do you say, s-h-o-r-e?”
I say, “Beach.”
“No, Gossett, in Georgia, you say ‘sho.’”
He enters a riff that sounds like his cover of John Lee Hooker’s “House Rent Boogie” opening of “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.”
“In Georgia, you walk across the flo. You open the do. To go to the sho.”
He gets a little serious, though no less crotchety, discussing how the critics hate him. How his music has never been taken seriously, but that’s all right by him. He’s not taking it seriously either.
In an ironic twist, the most serious Thorogood gets is when he talks about not being serious.
“You know, I could be like Kris Kristofferson and write a song about every time I got divorced,” he says. “But I don’t do that. I don’t write about my dad dying. I don’t want to share the pain. I want to share the pleasure. There’s enough angst in the world. Enough suffering. ... Who wants to tap that $85 a ticket and leave feeling worse than when you came in the door? I don’t.”
With George Thorogood and the Destroyers, he says, fans can forget all of the bad stuff for 90 minutes and have fun.
“Do you think there will ever come a time we don’t have comedies?” he asks.
“I hope not.”
“What do you mean!? You hope not!? Man, Gossett, don’t you have an opinion on this!? Will there be comedies in the future!? At the movies!? On TV!?”
“I hope so.”
Thorogood sighs. Or is it a growl?
“I don’t think fun or funny will ever go out of style,” Thorogood says. “You can be funny or sexy. I’ve got one covered. Only Dean Martin and Suzanne Pleshette could be funny and sexy. I’ve got funny and that’s it.”
Tell him you appreciate the interview, and he’s off again.
“You appreciate it!? Appreciate it!? What we’re all appreciated now!? George Thorogood and the Appreciators!? Is that how we should start billing ourselves!?”
Maybe. I don’t know. It’s time for Gossett to get off the phone.
George Thorogood & the Destroyers with Los Lonely Boys.
When: Saturday evening, with Los Lonely Boys scheduled for 6:30 p.m.; Thorogood, 8 p.m.
Where: Wild Adventures, Old Clyattville Road.
Admission: Show is included in the park’s regular admission price. Reserved seats available for an additional cost.
More information: Call (229) 219-7114; or visit www.wildadventures.net