Blues Blast Magazine Interview

photo © 2018 Arnie Goodman

“Coming up in Houston presented a grand exposure to some of the greats — B.B. King, Bobby Bland, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Jimmy Reed,” says guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Billy F Gibbons of ZZ Top. “When you hear those guys, you know they were advanced, almost other worldly.”

ZZ Top is the only blues-fan-endorsed multi-million-selling band to retain its original members for 50 years. They tour major arenas almost constantly, and Billy F Gibbons also records and tours as a solo act. His recently released second solo album The Big Bad Blues contains covers songs by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Bo Diddley, whom he freely calls a genius.

….“Let’s take Bo Diddley’s “Crackin’ Up” included on The Big Bad Blues album,” he says. “That upside-down and backwards guitar intro seems simple — until attempting to reproduce it… and then it becomes an analytical challenge to delve into what Bo might have had in mind. Delivering that figure was the definitive science experiment.

“Bo didn’t leave a how-to manual. I’m guessing it came quite naturally to him as you would expect of a genius. Same goes for Lightin’ Hopkins. He wasn’t specifically playing predictable scales which, in a way, tells you that he invented something solely original. He (and Bo) were free from the constraints of any accepted norm, yet everything they did was accepted! They invented what they did out of thin air. That’s a reflection that they reserved an open mind and a vivid imagination. There’s not necessarily any particular “right way”… Sometimes a so-called “wrong way” is so, so right.”…

…“Having seen the great B.B. King in an early recording session down in Houston when I was probably 7 or 8 years old was a genuine point of no return. I knew right then that was where I was going and that moment stayed on. I caught up with B. B. years later to embrace a sentiment he shared with the simple outlook of, ‘Play what you want to hear.’ …

read the entire article here: http://www.bluesblastmagazine.com/issue-13-10-march-7-2019/

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9 Comments

  • T. J. Pitts
    March 9, 2019 at 11:59 am  - Reply

    BFG, interesting article. I’ve been listening to your pickin for a long time. Love your chops and especially your tone. Thank you much.

    • diAnA arMstRoNg
      March 10, 2019 at 10:52 am  - Reply

      Thank for this article I have been following zztop for many years, and I totally agree with bb kings comment “play what you want to hear”. I love love love to hear Rõçk~ñ~Rõłł ~ all day every day❣️

  • michael j kelly
    March 10, 2019 at 9:14 am  - Reply

    Billy….long time fan from Maine…come back up here!…How’s the cadzilla running ?

  • Michael
    March 10, 2019 at 9:29 am  - Reply

    Hey Billy!
    Love ZZ TOP forever!
    Such an exciting sound!
    All the best from Mick in London.

  • danny
    March 10, 2019 at 12:03 pm  - Reply

    WOW! That little ole band from Texas…my favorite from way back when has to be Tres Hombres…only thing in my high school days in Amarillo that made any sense to me! Rock on brother Billy!!!

  • Michael
    March 10, 2019 at 1:57 pm  - Reply

    Reverend BFG,
    Not only do you play what you want to hear, but y’all play what I/we want to hear! That to me is your true success. Keep on being the best guitarist ever!

  • Sam from St.Louis
    March 10, 2019 at 5:47 pm  - Reply

    Reverend B.F.G
    I’m 69 years old ,and being a teenager in the 60s,l seen all the legendary bands,but Z.Z Top has always been my favorite band . you come up with some of the most killer tones on the guitar. Every album you make, I can’t wait to see what you come up with next. I been playing guitar for 50 years now and still can’t figure out how you do it .thank you for your music I never get tired of it !!! Your playing is just genius

  • Steve
    March 12, 2019 at 10:19 pm  - Reply

    Quotes I remember of yours…”play your favorite songs” “crank it up to patent pending” ïf you can play one song real good play it on a street corner “.

  • Ken, Spain.
    March 13, 2019 at 1:20 am  - Reply

    First of all. Congratulations on reaching 50 Years in the the Music Business. I have loved your music since I first heard Tres Hombres. Seen the little ol’ band from Texas a few times. Top music, Top band. Best wishes.

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