If you don’t know who the guy in the picture below is, you have got some serious blues homework to do. That is Billy fricking Gibbons! Ok, the f stands for Frederick, but still, this guy is a really important figure in music, especially blues.
Billy Gibbons is of course known as one of the founding members, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter of the quintessential Texas blues-rock trio ZZ Top. Gibbons was always drawn to music since his father was a conductor and concert pianist. Starting off on percussion in school, Gibbons really flourished when he received his first guitar for his thirteenth birthday. By the time he was 18, he was already in a touring band alongside Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators; the project was called the Moving Sidewalks and was a psychedelic rock band who would go on to perform opening concerts for Jimi Hendrix, which helped Gibbons form a brief friendship with the legendary guitarist.
By 1969, Gibbons was 20 and was looking for a new adventure to sink his teeth into. He found his future bandmates who recently disbanded from a local Texas rock band called American Blues. Bassist Dusty Hilly and drummer Frank Beard were the perfect fit for Gibbons’ vision and they have all been playing together ever since. That is almost 50 years of recording and performing with the same people! That doesn’t happen very often any more.
Besides continuing to tour with the Texas blues outfit, Billy Gibbons lends his talents to other projects including random collaborations with all sorts of musicians and he also maintains a successful solo career with which he released two studio albums.
His most recent released, The Big Bad Blues was released on September 21, 2018 and demonstrates why even at almost 70 years old, Billy Gibbons is at the top of his craft.