ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons continues his solo career that began only in 2015. He released his third studio album in June 2021 “Hardware” brings the best of contemporary blues rock. The album is made with short and direct songs, with efficient riffs, the torn voice and the blues solos of Gibbons.
Billy Gibbons had started playing guitar at the age of thirteen in a Houston band called the Saints. His style was influenced by blues records played at night on a Mexican radio station called ‘X’. This fact was recalled years later by ZZ Top in the song ‘Heard it on the X’.
At the age of 16, the young Billy commanded a band of ten members called Billy G and Blue Flames, which was immediately reduced to a quartet and took the name of Moving Sidewalks. After a local hit, ’99th floor’, the Moving Sidewalks were called to New York to open for Jimi Hendrix on his 1968 American tour. Gibbons struck up a friendship with the star and went on to play live with Jimi Hendrix, who, during his television appearance on the ‘Johnny Carson Show’, proclaimed Billy Gibbons to be one of America’s most promising guitarists.
Hendrix presented Gibbons with a pink Fender Stratocaster guitar, which naturally is one of the most prized pieces in the Texan guitarist’s vast collection of guitars. Moving Sidewalks disbanded in 1969 and Billy Gibbons wisely went into collaboration with manager/producer Bill Ham and decided to form a new band. He immediately recruited drummer Frank Beard and then Dusty Hill.
But one of Gibbons biggest influences was Led Zeppelin, “Jimmy Page is one of the greatest. I would invite all of you readers to go check out the nightclub scene from the 1966 movie Blowup, where The Yardbirds are playing. They had Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page at the same time! Listening to the band doing ‘Train Kept A-Rollin’… it’s just ferocious. Both of those guys had tone for days.”