By: Ray Hidalgo
Billy Gibbons’ epic beard may well be a testament to the decades of dedication he has put into shaking the foundations of rock as the founding member of the legendary ZZ Top.
Vintage Guitar magazine’s contributors and readers seem to agree as they have inducted Gibbons into the publication’s 2012 Hall of Fame along with late jazz guitarist Charlie Christian, Electro-Harmonix founder Mike Matthews, and the iconic Gibson Les Paul Jr. guitar.
“Whether laying rock’s most-famous licks on a Strat or his legendary Les Paul Standard, Pearly Gates, or any number of tracks and guitars in the more than 40 years that is ZZ Top history, Billy Gibbons has been a guitarist who purveys utmost style,” said Vintage Guitar editor Ward Meeker.
Due in no small part to Gibbons, the Texas-native trio were celebrated in May 1991 and May 1997 for “ZZ Top Day” statewide, officially recognized as heroes to their home state by its House of Representatives (next to Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie), given stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Gibbons is also in the middle of organizing the return of his first band, Moving Sidewalks, to the stage for a one-time show on March 30 at B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill in Manhattan.
Regarding the events leading up to the reunion, he told The New York Times, “(the other members of Moving Sidewalks and I) kept in touch, we kept up the correspondence, and it was quite a robust exchange. And remarkably, although I’d gone to a different planet and the other three had their day gigs, they were all weekend warriors, playing in bands here and there. So by a stroke of good fortune, when the opportunity came along, they had the interest, and had kept up their chops.”
Moving Sidewalks has historically played a wide variety of music ranging from B.B. King covers to R&B, so the final set list is up in the air. Whether the band will kick out some ZZ Top is also a point of interest.
“I think they’re restricting us to a 75-minute performance,” Gibbons told The New York Times of the concert. “We’ll try to persuade them to go longer, because there’s such a wealth of material.”
Given that Gibbons’ influence on the industry is as deep as his rock repertoire, the newly-minted Vintage Guitar Hall of Famer might just be able to sneak in a few more songs.