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George Thorogood will stick to the familiar at Northern Quest

George Thorogood will bring his revamped blues classics to Northern Quest on Sunday night.  (David Dobson)
George Thorogood will bring his revamped blues classics to Northern Quest on Sunday night. (David Dobson)
By Ed Condran For The Spokesman-Review

George Thorogood may or may not get elected to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame someday.

But that’s just fine with the blues-based rocker, who was inducted into the Mississippi Music Project Hall of Fame in 2020.

“I’m so honored to be in that hall of fame,” Thorogood said while calling from Los Angeles. “Their slogan is ‘Where the music came from,’ which fits. You go back to Robert Johnson there and just move on from there. (ZZ Top vocalist-guitarist) Billy Gibbons found the house Muddy Waters is from in Mississippi and made a guitar out of the wood from the house. I once had the pleasure of meeting Robert Plant and he told me the first thing he did when he came to America was go to Mississippi. I asked him where he went. He said he just went to Mississippi to just be there. I get it.”

Thorogood, 73, is an old-school musician who has seen it all going back to his club days during the ’70s.

“That’s where I learned my craft,” Thorogood said. “You have to put in your hours. Playing the guitar is not like playing sounds off of your computer. You have to work at it. I’ve played small venues and I played stadiums and many places in between.”

While opening for the Rolling Stones during the iconic band’s 1981 tour, Thorogood impressed fans in some of the largest venues in America.

What was even more impressive was Thorogood connecting with the Stones.

“They were very much into what I do,” Thorogood said.

That makes sense because like the Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Thorogood was schooled on blues legends such as Elmore James. Like much of the Stones’ finest early work, Thorogood is adept at delivering simple and direct rock ’n’ roll.

Thorogood’s calling card is reinventing blues classics. Thorogood’s versions of James’ “Madison Blues,” John Lee Hooker’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” and Bo Diddley’s “Ride on Josephine,” earned airplay on album oriented rock stations during the late ’70s and throughout the ’80s.

Thorogood crafted his share of hits, such as “Bad to the Bone” and “I Drink Alone,” but his revamped takes on buried blues tunes are his calling card. Thorogood, who will perform Sunday at Northern Quest Resort & Casino, still delivers the songs with laudable energy bouncing all over the stage.

“That’s what I grew up with,” Thorogood said. “When I saw my favorite bands, that’s often how they did their thing. I also have to shake my fanny because I have to do something up there. … I’m a shot and a beer kind of guy.”

There’s nothing wrong with that. Thorogood delivers meat and potatoes rock.

“I’m not doing anything differently than what Mick Jagger and Little Richard did,” Thorogood said. “What I do is fun. But for guys like me that have to perform, we grew up with a certain standard. I took notes and so did Bruce Springsteen. It’s good time rock and roll.”

Expect the familiar when Thorogood performs.

“Some people say, ‘George Thorogood plays the same set every night.’ ” he said. “Well, much of my set list is based on what the fans, who buy the tickets, want to hear. I recently played a show and told the audience that I wasn’t playing any new songs that night. I got a standing ovation. Give the people what they want.”

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