playing the blues
George Worthmore, co-owner of the Blues room, Sandton’s vibey adult nightclub- restaurant, left a comfortable life in New York City and a successful career as a musician to immigrate to South Africa. "If I had known about Telkom, I might not have come," quips Worthmore. Why, one might ask, would someone comfortably established in a city that many here would love to live and work in, move to a place from which many are fleeing. george worthmore
"I think your live should be an adventure, and if it isn't one, make it one," he explains. George's life before moving to Johannesburg seems anything but unadventurous. He has a degree in theatre from Adelphi University, where he also played three years of 'varsity lacrosse. The son of a garbageman and an opera singer ("This explains a lot about why I am the way I am," he says), Worthmore spent two years on a motorcycle touring Europe after 'varsity. On returning to the States, a long fall while working as a lineman on a high-tension wires landed him in bed for a while. During his recuperation, George practiced the guitar and formed his own band. Over the next 25 years, he went from jobs in local pubs to playing with the famous and near famous in the major nightclubs of New York City. His credits include Bo Diddley, Benny King, the Platters and Kinky Friedman, to name just a few. George has toured Europe and the United States, and has shared the stage with Stevie Ray Vaughn, Billy Idol and members of the Almann Brothers Band, The Rolling Stones and the Stray Cats. In addition, George studied karate with Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura at the World Seido Karate Organization in New York City for 12 years, earning a second degree black belt. He also boxed as a hobby in various gyms around Manhattan and Brooklyn.

In 1995, he was seen playing at New York City's premiere Blue's venue, Manny's Car Wash, by a South African who opened up the first Blues Room in Illovo. He brought George and his band out to South Africa to play. When The Blues Room relocated to Sandton, there was an opportunity to buy in, and in March 1997 George become co-owner with partner Dunbar Crewe-Brown. "It didn't really hit me right away, you know, the enormous change of direction my life had taken. I was too busy trying to help run The Blues Room and get my life here in order. It's just recently that I thought, wow, I live in Africa and own a nightclub."

George's latest CD, eponymously entitled George Worthmore and the Divebombers, is available in South Africa and is distributed by Gallo. Although he still plays at The Blues Room occasionally, he tries not to book himself there too frequently. "I miss playing, but it's more of a special occasion when I do play now, and I really appreciate it a lot more," he says.

The Blues Room is located in the Village Walk, corner of Rivonia Road and Maude Street, Sandton. It is open Tuesday through Saturday, has live music every night, two dance floors and a great sound system. It offers a fully international a la carte menu. For reservations or to find out when and where George will be performing, call (011) 784-5527.

Taken from The Resturant News,
April 1998