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George Thorogood: It’s all about pleasing the fans

Musician George Thorogood (Kasra Ganjavi/WikiCommons)

For ’70s/’80s blues-rock artist George Thorogood, the path to stardom is one of constant dedication.

Thorogood, who plays at Tacoma’s Emerald Queen Casino on July 8, chatted with KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson about his four-decade career and his philosophy on a rock star’s work ethic.

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“I figured out a long time ago, Dori, that this is the business we chose, this is the business we’re in,” he said. “Like anything else, there are ups and downs to it, there are peaks and valleys, but it’s the greatest business you can possibly [be in].”

According to Thorogood, a rock musician should be grateful for every day in the business, and should put all of his or her energy toward making the fans happy.

“This is what you do, you might as well enjoy it, and put yourself in a thought process that enjoys it so no matter how rough it gets, you know what’s at the end — you’re gonna be onstage making people happy,” he said. “And if that’s not your motivation, then you should get out of the business.”

Thorogood remembers years ago meeting iconic baseball player Joe DiMaggio, who told him you only owe your fans one thing — your best.

“This thing isn’t about you,” Thorogood said. “It’s about the people who come to see you.”

Thorogood’s story  started out as a busker on the streets of San Francisco for a couple of months, playing Madison Blues and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.” People would come up to him and ask him why he wasn’t making records.

“I shouldn’t have been on the street like that, but it was the only way to make a living,” he said.

When Dori asked if he went into the music industry to try to meet women, Thoroghgood denied this with a loud laugh.

“That was the farthest thing from my mind when I was getting into it,” he said.

He joked that his family members and friends told him he had to get into the rock n’ roll business because he could never hold down a traditional job.

“They were right — I’m no good at it,” he laughed. “I tried — it was terrible. It was just not in me.”

When not onstage himself, Thorogood enjoys seeing other classic rock artists perform live. In the recent past, he has gone to Tom Jones, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, the Who, and Paul McCartney, whom he called “all really impressive.”

The reason that all of these singers are legends, Thorogood said, is because they share the desire that he earlier said is his own mantra — that of making the fans happy.

“The passion to please people is what it’s about,” he said.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers take the stage at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 8 at the Emerald Queen Casino, located at 2024 E. 29th St. in Tacoma.


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