Blues-rock veteran George Thorogood celebrates his 40th year in music in 2014 with an “Icon” hits collection, live DVD and tour that brings him and longtime band The Destroyers to The Fillmore Tuesday. We spoke to the band leader and guitarist recently about the anniversary.
Q. With this anniversary, have you found yourself reflecting on your career?
A. No. We would have been out here playing anyway. It’s flattering for people to call it a career. Meryl Streep has a career. We have a job. Our craft is being nightclub entertainers. We never thought of it in those terms. It’s something they drummed up, but on the other hand, next year will be 41 years. It’s like a birthday. Blow out the candles.
Q. You once said that when you started out, you didn’t think rock ’n’ roll would stick around.
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A. Nobody knows that. Technology has changed the world. They came up with CDs. They started to re-release everything on CD. Everybody had a second wind if nothing else but (for fans) to replace their albums. They didn’t have record players. Then there’s a whole bunch of other stuff that was created – MTV, classic rock radio and the House of Blues chain and rock bands playing in the Native American casinos. We’ve been fortunate.
Q. How have you managed to keep the band together all these years? No drama?
A. It’s based on finance. I pay good.
Q. What drew you to blues?
A. I heard Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin and said, “Forget it. I’ll never be able to do what they do.” I heard “Let It Be” and “Imagine” and the Rolling Stones were putting out “Beggar’s Banquet.” I said, “Latch on to something you know how to do.” There’s only one Bob Dylan, you know.
Q. What would you have done if you hadn’t gone into music?
A. I don’t really know. I’m still waiting for Scorsese to call. I’m waiting for (sportscaster) Vin Scully to retire with the Dodgers.
Q. At 64, do you do anything to stay healthy on the road?
A. I generally prefer minding my own business and getting as much sleep as possible. Get as much rest as you can. Take a nap when you can.
Q. You’ve been ignored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame so far. Does it bug you?
A. Bob Dylan came to see me play once. Mick Jagger came to see me play. Jeff Beck. ... I walk on that stage every night and hear the audience and I hit that first chord – that’s my hall of fame.