billygibbons.com
Guitar World: ZZ Top Legend Billy F Gibbons Breaks Down New Solo Album, ‘The Big Bad Blues’
Even+at+68%2C+Billy+Gibbons+is+still+moving+fast.+Here%2C+the+ZZ+Top+legend+discusses+how+he+returned+to+his+roots+for+his+terrific+%3Ca+href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fshop.billygibbons.com%22%3Enew+solo+album%3C%2Fa%3E.%0D%0A%0D%0ANever+let+it+be+said+that+Billy+Gibbons+isn%E2%80%99t+honest.+When+Guitar+World+calls+the+legendary+ZZ+Top+guitarist+on+his+cell+phone+and+asks+him+where+he+is%2C+Gibbons%2C+who+is+out+on+tour+with+the+Little+Ol%E2%80%99+Band+from+Texas%2C+readily+admits+he+has+no+idea.+%E2%80%9CWe+were+in+Cheyenne%2C+Wyoming%2C+and+we+were+pulling+up+stakes+last+night+but+I+forgot+to+ask+where+we+were+going%2C%E2%80%9D+he+admits.+%E2%80%9CSo+it%E2%80%99s+a+bit+of+a+mystery+on+my+end%21%E2%80%9D%0D%0A%0D%0AThere+is+at+least+one+thing+he%E2%80%99s+sure+of%2C+however%3A+%E2%80%9CI+don%E2%80%99t+hear+the+buzz+of+any+slot+machines%2C+so+I+know+we%E2%80%99re+not+in+Vegas.%E2%80%9D%0D%0A%0D%0AOf+course%2C+anyone+who%E2%80%99s+been+gigging+for+half+a+century+is+allowed+a+locational+lapse+here+and+there.+What%E2%80%99s+more%2C+Gibbons%2C+now+68%2C+is+still+moving+incredibly+fast.+Even+as+he%E2%80%99s+out+on+the+road+with+ZZ+Top%2C+he%E2%80%99s+gearing+up+for+the+release+of+a+new+solo+album%2C+The+Big+Bad+Blues.+The+follow-up+to+his+2015+effort%2C+the+Cuban-flavored+%3Ca+href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Famzn.to%2F2QkPm5T%22+rel%3D%22noopener%22+target%3D%22_blank%22%3EPerfectamundo%3C%2Fa%3E%2C+the+new+album%2C+true+to+its+title%2C+finds+Gibbons+returning+to+the+sound+that+has+always+been+at+the+core+of+his+playing%2C+singing+and+writing.+%E2%80%9CIt%E2%80%99s+a+rekindling+of+our+attention+on+an+area+from+which+we+came%2C%E2%80%9D+he+says.+%E2%80%9CAnd+also+where+we+still+live.%E2%80%9D%0D%0A%0D%0ATo+that+end%2C+The+Big+Bad+Blues%2C+in+addition+to+a+handful+of+distortion-drenched+deep-in-the-pocket+Gibbons+originals%2C+finds+the+guitarist+tackling+some+of+his+favorite+blues+tunes+from+the+past%2C+including+Muddy+Waters%E2%80%99+%E2%80%9CRollin%E2%80%99+and+Tumblin%E2%80%99+%E2%80%9D+and+two+Bo+Diddley+songs%2C+%E2%80%9CCrackin%E2%80%99+Up%E2%80%9D+and+%E2%80%9CBring+It+to+Jerome.%E2%80%9D+%E2%80%9CWe+were+just+having+a+bit+of+fun%2C%E2%80%9D+he+acknowledges.++%0D%0A%0D%0Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FMkY2eNB6PQQ%0D%0A%0D%0AIn+the+following+interview%2C+the+always-engaging+Gibbons+talks+to+GW+about+the+new+album%2C+his+gear%2C+his+favorite+current+blues+player+and%2C+curiously%2C+the+reason+he+chooses+to+sleep+on+the+floor.+In+a+word%3F+%E2%80%9CSolidity.%E2%80%9D%0D%0A%0D%0A%3Cstrong%3EWhat+led+you+to+do+a+straightforward+blues+album%3F%3C%2Fstrong%3E%0D%0A%0D%0AWell%2C+as+you+may+recall%2C+we+had+an+interesting+success+with+the+Cuban-inspired+project+called+Perfectamundo.+And+that+moved+the+Concord+Records+president%2C+Mr.+John+Burk%2C+to+step+forward+and+extend+the+invitation.+He+said%2C+%E2%80%9CI%E2%80%99d+like+to+pick+up+the+option+to+do+another+record.+How+would+you+feel+about+doing+something+blues-related%3F%E2%80%9D+And+I+said%2C+%E2%80%9CWell%2C+that%E2%80%99s+where+we+came+from.+Let%E2%80%99s+give+it+a+shot.%E2%80%9D%0D%0A%0D%0A%3Cstrong%3EHow+did+you+pick+the+material%3F%3C%2Fstrong%3E%0D%0A%0D%0ACoincidentally%2C+when+Burk+was+reaching+out+to+us+I+had+returned+to+our+studio+down+in+Texas+and+I+ran+into+a+couple+musician+pals%2C+namely+Greg+Morrow%2C+the+great+drummer+from+Memphis.+And+subsequent+to+that+I+ran+into+Matt+Sorum%2C+another+great+drummer.+And+we+started+up+a+jam+session%2C+attempting+to+tackle+our+favorite+blues+numbers.+And+the+good+news+was%2C+Mr.+Joe+Hardy%2C+the+engineer+extraordinaire%2C+had+the+tape+machines+rolling+the+whole+time.+And+I+guess+it+was+the+second+or+third+day+where+he+said%2C+%E2%80%9CHey%2C+why+don%E2%80%99t+you+guys+take+a+listen+to+some+of+this+stuff+you%E2%80%99ve+been+laying+down%3F%E2%80%9D+And+so+we+listened+and+I+said%2C+%E2%80%9CWow%2C+the+sound+is+not+too+far+from+where+we+were+aiming+to+go+anyway.%E2%80%9D+And+we+had+a+couple+Muddy+Waters+tunes%2C+some+Bo+Diddley+stuff%2C+there+were+even+some+Jimmy+Reed+numbers.+That+got+us+started+in+what+we+thought+was+the+right+direction.+And+from+there+I+started+composing+some+original+material+that+was+also+aimed+at+that+bluesy+side+of+things.+%0D%0A%0D%0A%3Cstrong%3EWhat+led+you+to+cover+the+Bo+Diddley+song+%E2%80%9CCrackin%E2%80%99+Up%E2%80%9D%3F%3C%2Fstrong%3E%0D%0A%0D%0AThat%E2%80%99s+one+of+those+songs+that%E2%80%99s+been+covered+many+times+by+a+number+of+qualified+groups.+It+unfolded+later+on+in+the+game+because+it+took+the+longest+time+to+learn+how+to+play+Bo+Diddley%E2%80%99s+guitar+intro.+%5Blaughs%5D%0D%0A%0D%0AThe+intro+on+the+original+recording+is+one+of+those+inside-out%2C+upside-down+kind+of+insane+compositions.+But+we+were+determined+to+crack+the+code.+So+it+was+an+interesting+excursion+into+the+unknown.%0D%0A%0D%0AThe+Rolling+Stones+do+a+great+version+of+%E2%80%9CCrackin%E2%80%99+Up%E2%80%9D+on+their+Love+You+Live+album.+They+give+it+an+almost+reggae-like+feel.%0D%0A%0D%0AYeah%21+That+stands+out.+That%E2%80%99s+one+of+my+favorite+Stones+tracks.+They+did+a+bang-up+job+with+it.%0D%0A%0D%0A%3Cstrong%3EYou+also+do+%E2%80%9CRollin%E2%80%99+and+Tumblin%E2%80%99+%E2%80%9D+on+the+new+album.+Of+all+the+Muddy+Waters+songs+to+choose+from%2C+why+that+one%3F%3C%2Fstrong%3E%0D%0A%0D%0AI+think+we+were+having+a+bit+of+fun.+We+were+kind+of+%E2%80%9Cmetalizing%E2%80%9D+blues+standards+and+that+one%2C+the+tempo+is+insanely+fast.+But+it+has+an+appeal+behind+it.+We+were+taken+with+the+way+it+turned+out.+We+said%2C+%E2%80%9CGee+whiz%2C+let%E2%80%99s+keep+it.%E2%80%9D+So+in+addition+to+all+of+these+original+compositions+we+felt+some+legitimizing+factor+was+behind+including+what+we+thought+were+some+of+the+favorites+of+those+early+jam+sessions.+%0D%0A%0D%0Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DrqkXNBvVIhg%0D%0A%0D%0A%3Cstrong%3EIt%E2%80%99s+interesting+to+hear+you+use+the+word+%E2%80%9Cmetalizing.%E2%80%9D+One+of+the+things+I%E2%80%99ve+always+noticed+about+how+you+approach+the+blues+is+that+you%E2%80%99re+not+a+traditionalist.+Whereas+there+are+some+players+that+try+to+stick+as+close+to+the+sound+and+guitar+tones+of+the+originals%2C+you%E2%80%99re+not+so+precious+with+the+material.+You+do+your+own+thing.%3C%2Fstrong%3E%0D%0A%0D%0AWell%2C+that%E2%80%99s+a+compliment+that+I%E2%80%99ll+take%21+We%E2%80%99ve+always+announced+that+the+closest+we+can+get+to+the+blues+is+being+interpreters.+Particularly+now%2C+with+so+many+of+the+originators+long+gone.+So+it+becomes+a+challenge+of+interpretation.+But+I+think+another+word+that+has+to+surround+these+interpretations+is+that+of+%E2%80%9Cfeeling.%E2%80%9D+If+it+feels+right%2C+then+you%E2%80%99re+on+the+right+track.+And+as+you+point+out%2C+we%E2%80%99re+certainly+not+strict+traditionalists.+It%E2%80%99s+more+an+interpretative+stab+at+the+art+form.%0D%0A%0D%0A%0D%0A%3Cstrong%3EDo+you+recall+the+first+blues+song+that+really+got+you%3F%3C%2Fstrong%3E%0D%0A%0D%0AYes.+I+was+about+12+years+old%2C+and+I+had+a+close+friend+we+called+Waltaire.+Waltaire+Baldwin.%0D%0A%0D%0A%3Cstrong%3EWaltaire%3F%3C%2Fstrong%3E%0D%0A%0D%0AHis+given+name+was+Walter%2C+but+we+thought+that+was+too+plain.+Because+even+at+12+years+old+the+guy+spoke+like+a+poet.+So+he+was+not+Voltaire%2C+he+was+Waltaire.+%5Blaughs%5D%0D%0A%0D%0AAnyway%2C+he+had+stumbled+into+the+blues+quite+early+on.+In+fact%2C+he+picked+up+the+harmonica+and+had+learned+the+technique+of+playing+in+the+cross+harp+position.+He+was+onto+it+way%2C+way+early.+And+I+remember+he+found+a+John+Lee+Hooker+release+on+Vee-Jay.+Of+course%2C+it+was+the+classic+%E2%80%9CBoogie+Chillen%E2%80%99.%E2%80%9D+And+that+led+to%E2%80%A6+well%2C+if+we+had+two+days+we+could+extend+the+list+of+blues+giants+that+have+impacted+me+since+day+one.+%0D%0A%0D%0Acontinue+reading%3A+%3Ca+href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fwww.guitarworld.com%2Fartists%2Fzz-top-legend-billy-gibbons-breaks-down-new-solo-album-the-big-bad-blues%22+rel%3D%22noopener%22+target%3D%22_blank%22%3Ehttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.guitarworld.com%2Fartists%2Fzz-top-legend-billy-gibbons-breaks-down-new-solo-album-the-big-bad-blues%3C%2Fa%3E