NEPA Scene Staff

Rock legend George Thorogood takes Good to Be Bad Tour to Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Dec. 2

Rock legend George Thorogood takes Good to Be Bad Tour to Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Dec. 2
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From a press release:

It was announced today that legendary “Bad to the Bone” blues rock band George Thorogood and the Destroyers will return to Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Thursday, Dec. 2 as part of their Good to Be Bad Tour.

Since 1976, they’ve sold over 15 million albums, built a catalog of classic hits, and played more than 8,000 ferocious live shows, including many at Penn’s Peak (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe). They broke records with their 50 Dates/50 States Tour, delivered landmark performances at Live Aid and on “Saturday Night Live,” and became mainstays of radio, MTV, and stages worldwide for more than two generations. Through it all, they’ve remained one of the most consistent – and consistently passionate – progenitors of blues-based rock in pop culture history.

Doors for this show open at 7 p.m., and the music starts at 8 p.m.

Tickets, which are $45 for regular reserved seating and $52 for the pit (standing room only), go on sale next Thursday, Sept. 30 at 10 a.m. ​via Ticketmaster, the Penn’s Peak box office, and at Roadies Restaurant and Bar (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe). Box office and Roadies Restaurant ticket sales are walk-up only; no phone orders. $1 of every ticket sale will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

For the past 45 years, it’s been very good to be George Thorogood and the Destroyers. And in 2021, their Good to Be Bad Tour: 45 Years of Rock will prove why like never before.

“If you’re content, you may as well be dead,” Thorogood laughed with his familiar rasp. “I think everyone has thoughts about retiring, but the phone keeps ringing. ‘You want me and the Destroyers to come to your town, set up our gear, wear some cool threads, and play, ‘Who Do You Love?” End of conversation. Let’s rock!”

For Thorogood and his longtime band – Jeff Simon (drums, percussion), Bill Blough (bass guitar), Jim Suhler (rhythm guitar), and Buddy Leach (saxophone) – the power to rock audiences has been both battle cry and creed from the beginning.

“Since I was 17,” Thorogood said, “all I wanted to do was see how far I could go with my guitar, putting my own spin on music I loved.”

After a few hard years as a solo acoustic performer (a period he would revisit with his acclaimed 2017 album “Party of One”), he added a drummer and bass player to form the electric trio he called the Destroyers. Built around Thorogood’s fiery guitar skills, explosive performance style, and a blistering take on blues rarities, the band began to gain a devout following at college parties around their native Wilmington, Delaware. It was at one of their earliest shows that Thorogood had his live performance epiphany.

“It wasn’t about the amount of people we drew, but rather the impression we made,” he remembered. “I asked myself, ‘Are we reaching them? Do they want more?’ And from the very first set, we knew that we had something special.”

“George had that drive and charisma when we were 11 years old,” laughed childhood pal and 45-year Destroyer drummer Jeff Simon. “At first, we just enjoyed playing music. Then we had the thought of maybe making a living at it. We always believed that if we played great songs and stayed true to ourselves, people would keep coming back.”

The band soon became a sensation throughout the Delaware Valley and New England club circuit and, in 1976, signed with Cambridge-based label Rounder Records. Over the course of 16 studio albums – including two platinum and six gold discs on Rounder, EMI, and Capitol – they toured the globe, as Rolling Stone once raved, “playing rock and roll hot enough to melt the polar icecaps and flood the world’s major population centers.”

“We’re on a very short list of bands that are still having fun doing this,” Simon noted. “And we’re still looking over our shoulders thinking that somebody will catch us at it.”

Thorogood and the Destroyers indeed remain unstoppable. In the past few years alone, the band released a top-selling limited edition 7-inch single for Record Store Day and saw the reissues of their legendary “Bad to the Bone,” “Born to Be Bad,” and “Greatest Hits: 30 Years of Rock” albums on 180-gram colored vinyl. Thorogood himself received the 2018 B.B. King Award from the Montreal International Jazz Festival, and his solo debut “Party of One,” which critics called “brilliant” (Spin), “electrifying” (Guitar Player), and “chock full of classics” (Music Connection), became his fastest-selling disc in over 20 years. And in 2020, Epiphone created the George Thorogood “White Fang” ES-125TDC premier signature model guitar, while Craft Recordings released the band’s “Live in Boston 1982: The Complete Concert” that Classic Rock says “may well be one of the great live albums, entirely superb and a master class in live performance.”

It’s live on tour that Thorogood and the Destroyers continues to flip the switch nightly, delivering what the Toledo Blade calls “a gut-bustin’, guitar-wailin’, face-meltin’, fiery-tempoed, take-no-prisoners, good old-fashioned lunch-bucket rock and roll show” that includes their signature hits “Get a Haircut,” “I Drink Alone,” “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” “Move It on Over,” “Who Do You Love,” and the definitive badass anthem “Bad to The Bone,” along with several surprises.

“George has been honing the setlist since our bar band days,” explained 43-year Destroyer bassist Bill Blough. “It’s been a constant evolution to make it all killer, no filler. We hear our walk-on song, the lights go down, and something still inherently clicks the second we step on stage. We feel the audience’s energy and the show just explodes.”

And as in past years, a portion of proceeds from every date on the Good to Be Bad Tour will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“Now we’re talking about something that’s really important,” Thorogood said. “When I was a kid, I remember Robert F. Kennedy saying, ‘Some people see things as they are and ask why. I dream things that never were and ask why not?’ That still gives me the chills today. Don’t tell me to slow down or turn down, but if the Destroyers and I can help make a difference in any way, shape, or form, we’re there.”

But after 45 years of rock – and no signs of stopping – can Thorogood point to what continues to make it all matter?

“My highlight is every night when I walk on that stage and play our hits for those happy people,” he said. “At the end of the show, the audience is smiling, I don’t see any police, and everyone got their money’s worth.”

More importantly, is it still good to be bad? George Thorogood instantly flashed that huge grin. “You bet it is,” he left off. ”We’ll always be the baddest band in the land. Expect our best on this tour, because that’s what you’re gonna get.”