ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons remembered Allman Brothers Band legend Gregg Allman and his “sonic legacy” following Allman’s death Saturday at the age of 69.
“The sudden passing of Gregg Allman leaves us at a loss yet, at the same time, we stand alongside the millions thankful that Gregg was in our lives,” Gibbons wrote in a statement. “Gregg was, of course, a brilliant and intuitive player with a depth of soul reflected in his works in a truly moving manner.”
Early in ZZ Top’s career, the Texas rockers opened for the Allman Brothers Band, with Gibbons seeing firsthand the “unique brand of rock & roll” that came from “the first great jam band,” as Gibbons wrote in his Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists tribute to the Allman Brothers.
At Allman’s final performance – an October 29th, 2016 show at the Laid Back Festival in Atlanta – Gibbons joined him onstage for “One Way Out,” the last song Allman would ever perform live.
“Brother Gregg was generous with his talent, his spirit and, of course, his great voice,” Gibbons continued in his statement Saturday. “We were fortunate enough to have been touched by him and those moments remain treasured encounters. Some truly positive, uplifting experiences. Gregg will be remembered as someone who made a big difference in the lives of many and whose sonic legacy continues that memorable course.”
In that 100 Greatest Artists feature, Gibbons added of Allman, “His singing and keyboard playing had a dark richness, a soulfulness that added one more color to the Allmans’ rainbow. The Allman Brothers had respect for the roots of this music. They learned from the blues, and they continued to interpret the form in their own manner. They took something old and made something new.”
Gibbons frequently jammed onstage with the Allman Brothers Band, including a 2009 gig that marked their 40th anniversary at New York’s Beacon Theatre.