Billy Gibbons

04/06/2016

1. Besides ZZ Top, who are some of your favorite musicians to play with?

Well, now…where to start…!?!?!  The list is a long one, yet, there’s no question, our fearless fiend and fanatical man with the backbeat plan. Mr. Matt Sorum, heads up a keen and mean outfit known as the “Kings of Chaos” who I’ve enjoyed hitting the stage with which is satisfaction guaranteed. Josh Homme with his gang, “Queens Of The Stoneage” are fierce.  Jeff Beck…The Stones…  I mean the list goes on and on.  Just recently, I took off to Mexico with Matt and Co. to enjoy an evening of thrashing in Cabo San Lucas. Dave Grohl made the scene as did Sammy Hagar.  Gilby Clarke and Stevie Stevens were rippin’ it up on their electric six-string things.  One of the more unusual gatherings was a solo project, “Billy Gibbons and The BFG’s” which landed us in Havana, Cuba of all places! Mike Flanigin from Austin on Hammond B3 paired with GG Martine on honkytonk piano, two gorgeous gals on twin drum kits, Sozo D and Melanie DeLorenzo were positioned with a DJ station between ’em.  Twuz’ the proverbial rockin’ good time.

 

2. Do you have a favorite guitar to play for tone and / or feel?

The obvious choice, known to many by now is of course, Pearly Gates, the infamous ’59 Les Paul Sunburst. Tone for days.  John Bolin of Bolin Guitars continues to churn out some rabid sticks to strum as well.  Bolin’s got the production line thing down solid.

 

3. What’s the song that, even after all these years, you still get fired up to play?

La Grange and Tush are sure-fire winners within the ZZ outfit.  We’ve enjoyed hittin’ ’em since their release way, way back and they’re still the total groove to get behind and let ’em rip.

 

4. Where do you get your drive and motivation to keep it fresh and real?

I believe it’s something of a mind-reading thing going on as ZZ continues to forge ahead with new things while keeping one foot in the blues.  We know where to go and where it’ll take us.  That’s the key, especially when we get to keep doing what we get to keep doing.

 

5. How do you envision the future? The future of popular music, blues & guitar driven music, and the cultural effect of music?

It’s no secret that everyone enjoys escaping through favorite forms of entertainment.  The landscape may appear differently from time to time yet the motivation and draw remains the same.  And again, that well known backbone of the blues can’t be beat being the art form that it is.

 

6. Which one of your cars is your favorite?

The notorious “Eliminator Coupe, the red chopped and dropped ’33 Ford still stands strong.  We recently included one of the latest to enter the scene, a hardcore ’50 machine making a first appearance in the video clip with “The BFG’s” doing “Treat Her Right”.  That’s now become a real driver’s dream.  Even made it on stage with “The BFG’s” appearance on the recent Conan O’Brian show.

billy-gibbons-car

 

7  How cool was it to tour with Jeff Beck? What interesting things did you find out / learn from each other?

Jeff Beck is a true master.  Cool stylings and a technique that defies description.  Jeff’s delivery is seemingly effortless and the complexity of his sound is mesmerizing.  I’ve enjoyed a friendship with Jeff for four decades! And, I still am learning listening to that unmistakable smash-‘n-bash way that only Jeff Beck can deal.

 

8. What were your top 3 musical influences prior to your first record deal

Our continual inspiration still comes from the late, great bluesman, Jimmy Reed.  There’s not a day that goes by where Jimmy Reed ain’t heard.  I’d have to say that the elegance and simple sophistication of Jimmy Reed’s style is solid.  Then, of course, the list of influential blues players goes on for days.

 

9. Is it true that you bought Leadbelly’s house and used the wood to have guitars built?

Actually, it was Muddy Water’s childhood house in Mississippi where he grew up and where we were presented with a large timbered roof beam which had been taken down by a high gust of wind.  The head man at The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale took us out for a visit and before departing, the plank was loaded up which we took back to Memphis where it was transformed into a solid body electric.  The “Muddywood” guitar as it’s now known, remains on display in the museum.  Super fine.

 

10. Do you still have the Stratocaster Hendrix gave you?

Oh, yes.  The pink one.  Structurally sound and really a cool player.  Got that crisp high end which Hendrix made so famous.

 

11. Is there something in your long and famous career that you still wish you could do that haven’t done yet? If so, what would it be?

That’s one that’s often asked and we, as the band, ZZ Top, all agree, it’s what we get to do that we still enjoy doing most.  Keith Richard said it quite elegantly, “I’m happy to follow in the footsteps of Muddy Waters just to get down and play.”

 

12. Just how may guitars and cars do you own?

One’s too many and a hundred ain’t enough!

 

13. Have you ever thought of writing a South Texas cookbook? What is your favorite meal?

Oh, yeah!  Gettin’ righteous in the kitchen is a regular ritual.  Tex-Mex cuisine is always a winner.  The BFG “Renegade Guacamole hits it every time.  So fine!

 

14. What your favorite way to relax?

Catching a few zzz’s onboard the coach does it for me.  The sound of the engine while making the rounds is mysteriously mesmerizing. Let that road take you where you wanna go.

 

15. When did you first realize music was your destiny?

Seeing Elvis when I was five.  Man, that did it. Once I heard the sound of the electric guitar, I was in it for sure.

 

16. Is it true you use to / still use Mexican peso to get your distinct sound?

Yes, there’s one always in hand as well as a special plectrum that Jimmy Dunlop created to replicate the heaviness of the Mexican peso.  The serrated edge gets nice and scratchy. Time to rock on!

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