George Thorogood & The Destroyers
Of all the common denominators shared by great rock and roll bands down through the ages, the one most esteemed by musicians themselves, though least appreciated by their fans, is the rhythm section.
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Bill Blough and Jeff Simon, bassist and drummer for George Thorogood & The Destroyers respectively, have been a formidable unit for nearly thirty years and, while earning high peer praise from such rock icons as The Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers, Little Feat and Steve Miller (to name but a few), they also share the distinction of being singled out by music fans around the world for their inestimable contribution to the band's signature sound. In fact, it's impossible to imagine "Bad To The Bone," "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," "Who Do You Love," "Get A Haircut," or "I Drink Alone" without their stalwart presence.
Not only do dozens of letters in praise of this duo pour in to Destroyer headquarters on a regular basis, but the authors of these missives and their counterparts around the country (and the globe) regularly show up at the band's legendary live shows to express their admiration and appreciation.
Back in the days when American Bandstand was television's most popular teen program, the phrase "I like the rhythm, I like the beat" articulated what most music fans felt but couldn't really put their finger on. Rock music has always been as much about the rhythm and the beat as it has been about the lyrics or personae of the various superstars that have populated its history since Elvis Presley triggered the revolution with his first hits for Sun Records. Bill Blough and Jeff Simon both recall that the early Destroyer shows were part music, part revival-hall adventure. "I grew up listening to rock'n'roll," remembers Blough. "It was a constant in my life. When I started playing bass, I recognized its power and its interdependence with the drums. It wasn't until I started playing with Jeff that I realized the potential power of the two instruments together."
If the equipment seemed primitive in those formative years, Blough and Simon made the most of it. "My focus playing drums," recalls Simon, "was to move the song along without smothering it. It didn't take very long to recognize how much impact I could have when I started feeding off the bass line. No matter how sophisticated the music or the equipment, there will always be a primal power that a good rhythm section knows how to deliver night after night."
Blough's and Simon's appreciation both for the talents they possess individually as well as their common bonds are echoed in the observations by those with whom they've shared concert billing as well as by those journalists fortunate enough to have covered the Destroyer live shows. A sampling of those observations: "Blough and Simon form as tight a rhythm section as any to grace a rock stage in these parts in years" (Chicago Sun Times).
"No-holds-barred, the dynamic duo of Billy Blough (on bass) and Jeff Simon (on drums) leave no room for the faint of heart" (Newark Star Ledger).
"Thorogood's blustery good time rock is admirably carried on the wings of rock's most dependable rhythm section, Simon and Blough" (Atlanta Constitution Journal).
"One of the lasting images of this year's extravaganza has to be Simon, Blough and Thorogood urging the overflow crowd of 40,000 to join them in celebrating rock's communal tribal spirit" (Milwaukee Sentinel Journal).
And so it goes. If rock and roll begins and ends with the beat, then Destroyer fans around the world can rest assured that the rock tradition is in good hands as long as Bill Blough and Jeff Simon have something to say about it. As George himself is proud to say, "How sweet it is!"
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