Melvins' 'Record-Breaking' Tour May Not Be, After All

George Thorogood's reps say his 1981 trip - 51 states in 50 days - came first

Buzz Osborne of the Melvins
Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns via Getty Images
Buzz Osborne of the Melvins
By |

In 1981, one of rock's hardest-touring acts, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, set a record by playing 51 shows in 50 days (and in the process, playing a show in each state). Recently, another group of perennial road dogs, the Melvins, have set out to break Thorogood's record, by launching what is being billed as "50 States + D.C. in 51 Days Record Breaker Fall U.S. Tour."

However, it appears Melvins growler/guitarist Buzz Osborne may have been fed some false information, as he has been quoted in the Anchorage Daily News as saying, "When I was a fan of George Thorogood in 1980 when he tried to do it, I remember him specifically not doing it."

Now the longtime manager for George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Mike Donahue, is offering to set the record straight. "There are a multitude of promoters and press people who can verify they did complete the tour [in 1981], and, in fact, took one day off, then went on tour with the Rolling Stones for five days. In fact, the band completed 10 days with the Rolling Stones less than a week before kicking off their 50/50 tour."

The Melvins (who are touring in support of their 18th studio album, Freak Puke), launched their tour on September 5 th in Anchorage, Alaska, and will wrap it up on October 25th in Honolulu.

When Thorogood and company set the original record in 1981, they did so by traveling to shows in a Checker Taxi. It was a year before the band released what would become their best-known tune (and an early MTV favorite), "Bad to the Bone."

Thorogood has supposedly wished the Melvins luck towards their modern-day road marathon, but Donahue offers a parting pointer: "They’ll have to do it in 50 days, not 51, just to tie the record set by George Thorogood and the Destroyers in 1981."