Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Alamy)

Music

Billy Gibbons remembers first meeting The Rolling Stones

Billy Gibbons is arguably one of the most iconic rock heroes ever to grace the stage. His outlandish clothing, chest-length ginger beard, distinctive gravelly baritone voice and bluesy guitar style make Gibbons a truly heroic star.

Gibbons was destined to enter the realm of music, seeing as his father was an orchestra conductor and concert pianist who worked for Samuel Goldwyn at MGM Studios. When Gibbons was seven years old, his father took him to a B.B. King recording session, which inspired a young Gibbons to pick up a guitar for the first time.

As a young adult, Gibbons formed a psychedelic rock band in Texas called the Moving Sidewalks, in which he opened a few shows for his friend Jimi Hendrix. Later, in 1969, Gibbons founded the band he would become most well known for, ZZ Top, and they became pioneers of the blues-rock movement sweeping America.

Gibbons once revealed he ‘rock gods’ and gave the title to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. He said, “Both Mick and Keith, two peas in a pod. They still remain robust and stalwart in the eyes of ZZ Top. Two characters in their own right. But I think it’s a comfortable way to give them a proper pairing.”

Gibbons added, “Meeting the Stones for the first time goes back to 1972; the Stones had booked three appearances in Hawaii. They had a Friday night show, a Saturday afternoon matinee and a Saturday night show. How [did] ZZ Top get picked to be part of that triumvirate? Three excursions into Rock and Roll land were delightful. We spent less time working up music and rehearsing the show than we did hanging out at the Waikiki Beach at the Rainbow bar. Need I say more?”

Those nights in Hawaii were probably some of the most raucous that the 1970s ever saw, what with Gibbons, Richards and Jagger all going at it, getting through a generous amount of booze and, most likely, some other nefarious substances.

Gibbons also named Keith Richards as his favourite ever guitarist. He said, “Keith Richards. It’s incredible to think that the Stones, Keith, these guys were sort of heroes of mine when I was starting out, and they’re now friends. They rescued US blues music with their work, bringing the music back home to the USA and giving the original US bluesmen a career and recognition. [Keith] is a dear friend, and he is the character; he is the barbaric pirate”.

Check out a video of Richards inducting Gibbons and ZZ Top into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame below.