When Guitar Aficionado went looking for an icon to shed some light on the ins and out of fashion and how to develop a personal style, ZZ Top frontman and guitarist Billy Gibbons was their first and last stop.
“There are a few dos and don’t that work for us,” said Gibbons. “Numero uno is learn to play what you want to hear, and learn to wear what you don’t mind seeing in the mirror. Grab some groovy threads and crank up the tunes.”
In the Fall 2010 issue, the Reverend also reveals how his band discovered some of their memorable looks, and what he looks for when he’s in the market for a new guitar.
The spread also includes a sidebar about his Gretsch Billy-Bo prototype guitar, which Gretsch shipped to the magazine for the photo shoot.
Gibbons explains the creation of the signature model as follows:
“ZZ Top had been together for about a year when we were hired to play a 30-minute opening set and then remain on the deck for Bo Diddley,” recalled Gibbons. “We had a great time. Bo was playing the rectangular Twang Machine, but he also had an unusually shaped Gretsch, made for him in 1959, called the Jupiter Thunderbird. I tried it during the tour and liked it. When the tour was over, Bo said, ‘Take it home with you. I’ve got three more.'”
The guitar remained in storage until 1996 when ZZ Top was recording Rhythmeen. The engineers were looking for a new sound for the last few solos so Gibbons dug out the Jupiter.
“It sounded so good that we used it on the rest of the album and on tour,” Gibbons said.