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Billy Gibbons: “BB King strummed my guitar, looked at me rather quizzically and said, ‘Why you working so hard?’”
%5Bcaption+id%3D%22attachment_9019%22+align%3D%22aligncenter%22+width%3D%22940%22%5D%3Ca+href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fwww.musicradar.com%2Fnews%2Fbilly-gibbons-bb-king-strummed-my-guitar-looked-at-me-rather-quizzically-and-said-why-you-working-so-hard%22+rel%3D%22noopener%22+target%3D%22_blank%22%3E%3Cimg+src%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fbillygibbons.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2019%2F02%2Fphototint-microphone-940x528.jpg%22+alt%3D%22%22+width%3D%22940%22+height%3D%22528%22+class%3D%22size-large+wp-image-9019%22+%2F%3E%3C%2Fa%3E+%28Image%3A+%C2%A9+Will+Carter%29%3Cbr+%2F%3E%5B%2Fcaption%5D%0D%0A%0D%0A%0D%0A%3CH3%3EThe+Texan+guitar+great+talks+BB%2C+Bo+and+his+Big+Bad+Blues+record%3C%2FH3%3E%0D%0A%0D%0ABy+Ed+Mitchell%0D%0A%0D%0AFollowing+the+rhythmic+experimentation+of+2015%E2%80%99s+Perfectamundo%2C+the+Reverend+Willy+G+has+gone+back+to+basics+with+an+11-track+time+machine+that+recalls+the+glory+of+70s+%E2%80%99Top.+Here%2C+the+man+behind+Pearly+Gates+talks+influences%2C+gear+and+recalls+that+time+BB+King+told+him+to+change+his+strings%E2%80%A6%0D%0A%0D%0ATexas+is+where+the+blues+always+finds+salvation+in+times+of+trouble.+The+Lone+Star+State+was+the+birthplace+of+T-Bone+Walker%2C+the+first+blues+superstar.+He+showed+kids+like+BB+King+that+Delta+blues+was+dead.+The+future+was+a+killer+suit%2C+a+big-ass+grin+and+an+electric+guitar.%0D%0A%0D%0AThen+there+was+Johnny+Winter%2C+the+man+who+would+inspire+a+floundering+Muddy+Waters+to+bounce+back+after+the+hippy+BS+of+Electric+Mud.+Lest+we+forget%2C+it+was+Texas+that+also+gave+us+Stevie+Ray+Vaughan.+The+greatest+Stratocaster+salesman+this+side+of+Jimi+Hendrix+kept+the+blues+in+business+in+a+decade+that+harboured+the+twin+evils+of+synth+pop+and+hair+metal.%0D%0A%0D%0AAnd+it+was+guitarist+Billy+F+Gibbons%2C+bassist+Dusty+Hill+and+drummer+Frank+Beard+of+ZZ+Top+who+helped+put+blues+back+on+jukeboxes+in+the+early+1970s.+Featured+on+the+band%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%9973+album%2C+Tres+Hombres%2C+La+Grange+doesn%E2%80%99t+come+over+like+a+bunch+of+white+kids+messing+around.%0D%0A%0D%0AThis+is+the+song+you+can+expect+to+hear+as+the+patrons+of+some+backwoods+biker+bar+beat+you+senseless+for+winking+at+one+of+their+%E2%80%98old+ladies%E2%80%99.+La+Grange+sounds+black.+The+tough+John+Lee+Hooker+references+-+the+Boogie+Chillen+rhythm+and+Billy+G%E2%80%99s+gruff+%E2%80%9Ca-how-how-how-how%E2%80%9D+chant+-+make+it+sound+like+the+real+deal.%0D%0A%0D%0AThat+John+Lee-inspired+authenticity+is+all+over+Missin%E2%80%99+Yo%E2%80%99+Kissin%E2%80%99+the+opening+track+of+Billy+F+Gibbons+And+The+BFG%E2%80%99s+new+record%2C+%3Ca+href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fshop.billygibbons.com%22+rel%3D%22noopener%22+target%3D%22_blank%22%3EThe+Big+Bad+Blues%3C%2Fa%3E.+The+follow-up+to+2015%E2%80%99s+Perfectamundo%2C+the+new+record+replaces+its+predecessor%E2%80%99s+Afro-Cuban+and+hip-hop+rhythms+with+good+old-fashioned+Texas+blues.+This+is+the+record+you+wanted+Billy+Gibbons+to+make.+Missin%E2%80%99+Yo%E2%80%99+Kissin%E2%80%99+has+a+groove+like+a+runaway+train.+Much+to+Billy%E2%80%99s+surprise%2C+the+song%E2%80%99s+lyrics+were+scribbled+down+in+the+studio+by+his+wife%2C+Gilligan+Stillwater.+Two+of+the+tracks+-+Standing+Around+Crying+and+the+epic+Rollin%E2%80%99+And+Tumblin%E2%80%99+-+are+culled+from+Muddy+Waters%E2%80%99+back+catalogue%2C+and+there%E2%80%99s+also+a+pair+of+Bo+Diddley+tunes+to+be+found+on+the+tracklist%2C+too.+More+on+those+shortly%E2%80%A6+%0D%0A%0D%0AThe+remainder%2C+including+the+heavy+boogie+of+Let+The+Left+Hand+Know+and+the+self-explanatory+Mo%E2%80%99+Slower+Blues+are+Billy+Gibbons+originals.+The+Big+Bad+Blues+has+not+one+iota+of+the+slickness+of+ZZ+Top%E2%80%99s+megasaurus+records+such+as+1983%E2%80%99s+Eliminator+or+85%E2%80%99s+Afterburner.+No%2C+the+good+Reverend+has+dug+deep+into+the+Texas+mud+here%2C+just+like+he+did+back+in+the+70s.+As+you%E2%80%99d+expect%2C+then%2C+it+sounds+live+and+features+some+truly+filthy+guitar+tones.%0D%0A%0D%0A%5Bcaption+id%3D%22attachment_9020%22+align%3D%22aligncenter%22+width%3D%22940%22%5D%3Cimg+src%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fbillygibbons.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2019%2F02%2FSkHTd7qQqpfHP2S8vNcqp-940x528.jpg%22+alt%3D%22%22+width%3D%22940%22+height%3D%22528%22+class%3D%22size-large+wp-image-9020%22+%2F%3E+%28Image%3A+%C2%A9+Andrew+Stuart%29%3Cbr+%2F%3E%5B%2Fcaption%5D%0D%0A%0D%0A%0D%0AThe+blues+is+in+Billy+G%E2%80%99s+blood.+In+fact%2C+it+runs+through+the+whole+ZZ+Top+organization.+Looking+back+to+the+70s%2C+it+seems+obvious+that+the+%E2%80%99Top+helped+keep+the+blues%E2%80%99+heart+beating+when+the+music+was+fighting+to+stay+alive%E2%80%A6%0D%0A%0D%0A%E2%80%9CWe+never+had+anything+but+admiration+for+the+blues+giants%2C%E2%80%9D+says+Billy+G.+%E2%80%9CDusty%2C+Frank+and+I%2C+we+shared+so+much+of+the+same+influences%2C+but+we+never+said+that+we%E2%80%99re+going+to+rescue+the+blues.+We+didn%E2%80%99t+do+that.%E2%80%9D%0D%0A%0D%0AWhile+Gibbons+became+acutely+aware+of+rock%E2%80%99s+shift+from+psychedelia+to+a+heavier+blues+form+in+the+late+60s%2C+his+love+affair+with+the+music+developed+many+years+earlier%2C+as+he+explains.%0D%0A%0D%0AWhen+I+was+five+years+old%2C+my+mom+took+myself+and+my+little+sister+out+to+see+Elvis+Presley+live.+I+said%2C+%E2%80%98Man%2C+that%E2%80%99s+what+I+wanna+do%21%E2%80%99%0D%0A%0D%0A%E2%80%9CWell%2C+growing+up%2C+we+had+a+house+keeper+who+listened+to+blues+radio+all+day+and+all+night.+It+didn%E2%80%99t+seem+to+be+anything+out+of+the+ordinary.+It+was+always+around+-+at+least+around+the+house.+Then+when+I+was+five+years+old%2C+my+mom+took+myself+and+my+little+sister+out+to+see+Elvis+Presley+live.+I+said%2C+%E2%80%98Man%2C+that%E2%80%99s+what+I+wanna+do%21%E2%80%99%E2%80%9D%0D%0A%0D%0AThe+next+encounter+with+greatness+sealed+the+deal.+Billy+continues%3A+%E2%80%9CMy+dad+was+an+entertainer.+When+I+was+seven+years+old+he+said%2C+%E2%80%98Listen%2C+hop+in+the+car.+I+wanna+take+you+with+me.+I%E2%80%99ve+got+business+to+take+care+of+at+the+recording+studio.%E2%80%99+We+went+into+the+studio%2C+he+parked+me+in+a+chair+and+said%2C+%E2%80%98You%E2%80%99ll+probably+like+this%2C+they%E2%80%99re+recording+a+band.+I%E2%80%99ll+be+in+the+office+if+you+need+me%E2%80%A6%E2%80%99+It+turned+out+to+be+a+BB+King+recording+session.+So%2C+between+seeing+Elvis+Presley+and+BB+King+I+thought%2C+%E2%80%98Man%2C+this+is+it.+This+is+for+me%21%E2%80%99%E2%80%9D%0D%0A%0D%0ABB+King+and+Billy+G%E2%80%99s+paths+would+cross+countless+times+over+the+years.+It%E2%80%99s+a+testament+to+Gibbons%E2%80%99+skill+as+a+guitarist+that+he+was+so+respected+by+%E2%80%98The+King+Of+The+Blues%E2%80%99.+And+BB+would+often+give+his+younger+compadre+some+useful+words+of+advice+to+work+with.%0D%0A%0D%0A%E2%80%9CBB+King+left+me+with+probably+the+strongest+statements+you+could+ask+for%2C%E2%80%9D+Gibbons+recalls.+%E2%80%9CFirstly%2C+you+should+learn+to+play+what+you+want+to+hear.+Not+what+someone+is+trying+to+teach+you.+Follow+what%E2%80%99s+in+your+head.%E2%80%9D%0D%0A%0D%0AThe+second+piece+of+advice+was+lifechanging%2C+shattering+a+supposed+tonal+golden+rule%2C+an+assumption+most+of+us+make.+It+also+explains+why+Billy+likes+his+guitar+strings+on+the+slinky+side%E2%80%A6%0D%0A%0D%0A%E2%80%9CI+was+about+22+and+just+starting+out+with+ZZ+Top%2C%E2%80%9D+he+says.+%E2%80%9CI+was+in+the+dressing+room+and+BB+said+to+me%2C+%E2%80%98Can+I+play+your+guitar%3F%E2%80%99+I+said%2C+%E2%80%98Sure+man.%E2%80%99+He+strummed+it+a+few+times+and+handed+it+back+to+me.+He+looked+at+me+rather+quizzically+and+said%2C+%E2%80%98Why+you+working+so+hard%3F%E2%80%99+I+said%2C+%E2%80%98What+do+you+mean%3F%E2%80%99+He+said%2C+%E2%80%98Those+strings.+You+got+real+heavy%2C+heavy+strings.%E2%80%99+I+said%2C+%E2%80%98Well%2C+isn%E2%80%99t+that+how+to+get+the+heavy%2C+heavy+sound%3F%E2%80%99+He+said%2C+%E2%80%98No%21+Don%E2%80%99t+be+working+so+hard%21%E2%80%99%0D%0A%0D%0A%E2%80%9CThat+was+something+new%21+I+was+mistaken+in+thinking+he+was+using+these+extra-heavy+strings.+I+guess+he+was+right+there+at+the+beginning+when+super-light+strings+were+beginning+to+show+up.%E2%80%9D%0D%0A%0D%0A%3Cstrong%3ECONTINUE+READING+%3E%3E%3C%2Fstrong%3E+%3Ca+href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fwww.musicradar.com%2Fnews%2Fbilly-gibbons-bb-king-strummed-my-guitar-looked-at-me-rather-quizzically-and-said-why-you-working-so-hard%22+rel%3D%22noopener%22+target%3D%22_blank%22%3Ehttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.musicradar.com%2Fnews%2Fbilly-gibbons-bb-king-strummed-my-guitar-looked-at-me-rather-quizzically-and-said-why-you-working-so-hard%3C%2Fa%3E