The Hollywood Times: Billy F Gibbons – The Troubadour

Photographs and Story by Jimmy Steinfeldt
Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 11-19-2018

Billy Gibbons photographed by Jimmy Steinfeldt in 1982

I’ve photographed Billy F Gibbons for 36 years and he remains engaging, entertaining, humorous, and photogenic as ever.

Tonight he was touring in support of his new album The Big Bad Blues. His new band features Austin Hanks on guitar and Matt Sorum on drums. Sorum really shines behind the drum kit including a super solo on their rendition of Whole Lotta Love. I first worked with Sorum back in the 80’s when he was drumming with The Cult. We met up again in Paris in late 1989 and later I was honored to photograph the cover of his album Hollywood Zen. Elwood Francis, one of the world’s premiere guitar techs and long time associate of Gibbons’ sat in on some songs, as did blues great James Harman who performed harmonica duties.

During the show Billy said he knew James for 50 years. After the show I asked James how they met. “We were on our hands and knees digging through boxes of records and the record store owner said ‘oh did you two come together?’ We said no. ‘But you know each other right?’ We said no. That man introduced us and we’ve been best friends ever since.”

The concert was excellent with rousing renditions of songs old and new. From the new album: “Rollin’ And Tumblin’”, “Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’”, “Hollywood 151”, and “Bring It To Jerome”. Classic songs from the ZZ Top catalog included “Thank You”, “Jesus Just Left Chicago”, “Just Go Paid”, “Blue Jean Blues”, “Thunderbird”, and “Le Grange”. An evening highlight was when a fan in the front row handed Billy of copy of the vinyl LP Eliminator. Billy autographed it and then with great humor started to auction it off to the crowd. Of course he handed it back to the fan and then said “How about we play one of the songs off this album.”

The band broke into a great rendition of “Sharp Dressed Man”. They also played “Folsom Prison Blues” and Billy really enjoyed playing that signature guitar solo. I worked many times with Johnny Cash over the years and I’m sure he would have approved! Another special moment was when they played my all time favorite 1940’s tune “Route 66”. That song was written by Bobby Troup when he and his wife were traveling across the country on the historic highway. Some of the songs on the new album were written by the great bluesmen of the past, Muddy Waters, and Bo Diddley.

The Big Bad Blues album is a tribute to the blues and should be in every blues lover’s record collection.

To learn more about Billy Gibbons, his music, his tour dates and more go to

Don’t forget to check out Jimmy Steinfeldt’s collection of photos on his website:

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6 thoughts on “The Hollywood Times: Billy F Gibbons – The Troubadour”

  1. I Love you Billy! You have been one of my favorite guitar players since I was 13! I would sit in my room learning your songs on guitar from vinyl albums and cassettes ,and was blown away by your guitar playing and slide work! And I still am man! You Hendrix , Jerry Garcia, and Duane Allman have been my biggest influences. But you especially have influenced my playing I think the most. I hope to catch you guys if you get to Ohio man. I live in the Cincinnati area. Stay cool man!

  2. Thank you for getting me though military college and bringing relativity to the American Southwest, the Hispanic culture I was immersed in, great music and fun times to me and my classmates. Had it not been for you, ZZ Top’s music and the good times you and the band gave to us we would not have made it. Of course, my wife’s frustration with me trying to emulate you has been challenging, I hope God blesses you and your entire family this holiday season. BTW the Seymor Duncan Red Devils pickup are absolutely fantastastic on my ‘89 Strat Pluse. Take care and God bless you all….
    Captain Jack

  3. Loved the event in Mt. Pleasant, Mi. this summer. You all were sooooo thrillin’ .
    Nov. 1st I got whacked by a bread truck that totaled my pickup and hurt my passenger, wife and me pretty bad…but we’re still livin’ and lovin’ the fantastic ZZ Top. Glad to be here with you and the boys in the band.
    Gotcher album…but my stylus is ready to hit the trash can. Keep rockin’ bro.

  4. Hey, Billy.
    Sorry the Orlando crowd was so dead…how anyone can sit still or not stand or not wiggle around to your music is beyond me.
    This was the only concert I left mad….because I got to hear only 45 minutes of blues and rock. I guess your two hour Eliminator/Afterburner concert spoiled me.
    You caught me off guard when that blonde harpman came out and annihilated his guitar. Hope you keep him in the show.
    I’ll be waiting for you to come around again, and sure hope it will be a two hour show.
    PS. Hope you do an interview explaining as to how in the heck you came to do that Shatner Christmas video.

  5. ZZ Top was a major influence in my music career. Billy I covered many tunes you wrote, and copped many of your riffs. You are one the best Rock guitarist’s to ever jam on the planet. Thank you for your music, and I wish for you and your family Peace&Love…

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