George Thorogood./Photo courtesy of Rounder Records
The fourth time’s the charm for one of Delaware’s favorite sons, George Thorogood.
Alongside his longtime band the Destroyers, Thorogood’s oh-so-appropriately named Good to Be Bad: 45 Years of Rock Tour hits Wilmington for a sold-out show at The Grand Opera House (a.k.a. The Grand) Oct. 1.
The historic venue has been quite good to Thorogood in recent years, as the Wilmington born-and-bred rocker sold out his three previous performances there in 2009, 2011, and 2015.
In an exclusive interview with Delaware Today, Thorogood—best known for perennial hits like “Bad to the Bone,” “I Drink Alone,” and “Move It on Over”—reveals that he considers The Grand to be one of the best venues he’s ever played in.
“If I had to list one of the top three sounding rooms I’ve ever worked in, in the world, that’s one of them,” Thorogood confirms. “In fact, it might be the best-sounding room I’ve ever played in. It’s pretty close—and I play a lot of them.”
Thorogood, who attended Brandywine High School from 1964-68 and is a former resident of Newark, naturally gravitated towards playing guitar as a kid. “I had a Harmony, like every other kid in America,” he admits. “I knew the guitar was going to catch an audience’s ear more than my voice would.”
These days, Thorogood proudly sports his own signature-model Epiphone guitar.
Thorogood recalls that he and the Delaware Destroyers (as they were then known) played their first show together at the Rathskellar at the University of Delaware in 1973—mainly thanks to a push from drummer Jeff Simon, a friend from his high school days. “I remember it vividly,” he reports. “Basically, we were just toying with the idea of starting a band, but when we played that night, we saw the reaction we got.”
After the gig was over, Thorogood and Simon knew they had tapped into something special. “There was this big party going on, and everybody was having a good time,” the guitarist/vocalist recalls. “Jeff was sitting across the room from me. He was very quiet, and I was very serious. I looked at him and said, ‘Listen, what are you doing tomorrow?’ And he said, ‘Nothing.’ I said, ‘We should talk.’ I knew that, dare I say it, something that good was going to last.”
He was right. Thorogood and Simon continue to play together to this day, along with Destroyers bassist Bill Blough, guitarist Jim Suhler and saxophonist Buddy Leach.
When asked if he thinks The Grand should be renamed after him, Thorogood was quick to exclaim, “No, don’t do that! It took them a long time to get back into business, so don’t blow it! Just ‘The Grand’ sounds great—kinda like The Grand Canyon!”
George Thorogood and The Destroyers
Good to Be Bad: 45 Years of Rock Tour
Oct. 1, 8:00 p.m at The Grand Opera House
818 N. Market St., Wilmington