Dec. 7—ALBANY — There's a simple reason George Thorogood is still playing, 45 years into his career, the music that brought him his share of rock and roll fame.
"What else am I going to do?" the guitarist/vocalist said as he prepared to head South to the Albany Municipal Auditorium for his show Sunday evening. "There was little chance that I was going to do anything else. Even my parents encouraged me to play music ... with two pretty much juvenile delinquent brothers, they could at least keep up with where I was.
"Besides, some people were born to make music. Can you imagine Keith Richards as an actor? Tom Petty working on a telephone pole? The fact is, I just wasn't very good at working. It was music for me all the way."
Thorogood and his touring band, who are in the midst of their "Good to Be Bad" tour, will bring their bag of blues-based rock and roll classics — "Move It on Over," "One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer," "Who Do You Love?," "I Drink Alone" and, of course, "Bad to the Bone," to name a few — to the Albany venue Sunday evening at 7 p.m.
Touring behind the music that he and his band, the Delaware Destroyers, have been playing now for decades also is not a stretch for Thorogood.
"I don't think that playing a 45th anniversary tour is that big a deal for me because it's what I've been doing since I started," he said. "I've pretty much been on the road since I got into this business. I believe in doing the work.
"People talk about The Beatles and their success, but they were one of those 'overnight successes 10 years in the making.' I'd hear some musicians complain, 'Man, it took three months for us to get a record deal.' Yeah, I'm really going to cry for you. We had the fans at our shows, but we couldn't get the attention of record companies. I had to keep working to refrain from violence, because I reached the point where I was going to throw someone (in the music industry) off a building or I was going to jump myself."
Indeed, Thorogood is known as much for his road work as he is the songs that "Classic Rock Radio" discovered in the '90s, elevating him to superstar status. He and his band have played more than 8,000 shows (and counting), and they were lauded for their "50 Dates/50 States" tour.
"It wasn't until the Classic Rock format hit radio big in the '90s that people started discovering us," Thorogood said. "All of a sudden, DJs were playing our songs alongside Led Zeppelin, the Who, the Steve Miller Band, folks like that. All these songs that had fallen on deaf ears for so long were finally being exposed.
"It renewed our faith in these songs we'd been playing over and over and over on the road."
Now fans are hungry to hear classics like "Bad to the Bone," which may have been played in more movies, sporting events and TV projects than any other song.
"Obviously, it feels great to get a positive reaction from audiences when we play these songs," Thorogood said. "For the most part, we've been encouraged by the reaction from audiences on this tour. I don't think about a lot of things once we get on the stage other than pleasing the audience. They're the ones who have supported us all these years, and they're the ones we focus on."
As for his first show in Albany, Thorogood said he's ready to connect with southwest Georgia music fans.
"I'll bring my guitar, a bass player, a drummer ... and we'll see where that takes us," he said. "It's what we do every time we get on a stage. We keep in mind: Rock and roll never sleeps; it just carries on."