Archive for Billy Gibbons

70 Years Out: Jimi Hendrix

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , on November 27, 2012 by 30daysout

Jimi Hendrix would have been 70 years old today.

A few weeks ago, during his concert in Houston Paul McCartney paid tribute to his friend Jimi Hendrix. At the end of “Let Me Roll It,” McCartney’s churning rocker, he appended some surprising lead guitar work in the form of “Foxey Lady.”

How awesome is a musician who has earned a tribute even from a Beatle? When Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood toured together, the finale of their show was a fiery guitar duel on Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons regularly rips into “Hey Joe,” in the style of his mentor.

Hendrix was, as you can see, a musician’s musician. He was only in the spotlight for a short time – he gained international fame in 1967 at the Monterey Pop Festival and died in 1970 – but the recordings he made have influenced thousands of other guitar players and songwriters.

Had he lived, it’s inconceivable what Hendrix would be like today. It’s also hard to fathom what rock music would be like today as well, because wherever Hendrix went, music followed.

Jimi Hendrix would have been 70 years old today. Happy birthday, Jimi!

YouTube: “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”

YouTube: Jimi Hendrix interviewed in England just seven days before his death in September 1970.

Jimi Hendrix official web site

Live: ZZ Top/Lynyrd Skynyrd, Austin

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2011 by 30daysout

Dusty Hill, left, Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons tearin' it up in Austin. (Photo by Jave Del Rosario)

There was all kinds of stuff goin’ on this weekend in Austin – the amazing Texas Book Festival, the always-popular Austin Film Fest, the Austin Record Convention and the nicer-if-it’s-a-nice day Gypsy Festival showcasing the city’s food trailers. So what was our big event of the weekend? The so-called “First Annual La Grange Fest,” featuring ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Austin has a semi-new outdoor venue called the Backyard – kind of new, because they closed the old one and rebuilt a new one in a different location in the hills west of the city. It holds about 7,500 people and although I don’t think they had that kind of attendance Saturday night it sure seemed that way.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's (from left) Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlocke, Peter Keys (on piano) and Gary Rossington.

Nobody really followed a theme for the “First Annual La Grange Fest,” but former Slipknot and Stone Sour lead singer Corey Taylor, who opened the whole shebang, seemed to set a good tone with his acoustic covers including the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers” and Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky.” He even turned the Ramones’ “Outsiders” into a rousing country-rock anthem.

I wasn’t too impressed with Jamey Johnson, who is a more conventional country singer with an “outlaw” attitude. He has some nice tunes which he wraps with a gorgeous George Jones-style baritone, but his material tended to be a little slow and plodding for my tastes.

When he yielded the stage the sun was goin’ down, and out came the Confederate flags for Lynyrd Skynyrd. Sporting only one original member (guitarist Gary Rossington) Skynyrd didn’t disappoint. Lead singer Johnny Van Zant pandered to the crowd with his big rebel and U.S. flags and constant points up to the sky (acknowledgement of the “man up there.” Who? Ronnie? Who knows?).

A patron of the arts performs his interpretive dance to Skynyrd.

The Skynyrd encore began with Van Zant asking the crowd, “As my older brother Ronnie would say, ‘What song is it you want to hear?’ ” and the crowd responded with … yes, “Free Bird.”  But during the long guitar duel between Rossington, Rickey Medlocke and Houston’s own Mark “Sparky” Matejka, a disco ball dropped down from the stage rafters and sprayed everyone with tiny little shards of light. Is that some kind of comment? Dunno.

ZZ Top hit the stage with thunder and flash, with “Got Me Under Pressure” and “Waitin’ On The Bus.” Gibbons donned a “blues hat” over his African cap and snarled through “Cheap Sunglasses” and “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” before performing a rousing “Hey Joe,” as a tribute to his old mentor Jimi Hendrix. Then, of course, the show wound down with the MTV hits “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Legs” and “Sharp Dressed Man.” The only thing left for the Top was to come out for the encore and romp through an extended “La Grange” (the only reference to the festival theme) and “Tush.”

The ZZ Top set was broadcast live on Sirius XM Outlaw Country, the first time in the band’s 40 years that they have participated in a real-time live radio broadcast. It may have been a good idea to listen on the radio – while this place the Backyard is an OK venue, the parking lot is a nightmare. We hung in a traffic jam for more than an hour and as a result it was a long 20-mile drive back to Austin. Everything else was all right at the Backyard, but that traffic issue was a cluster f**k.

Thanks to Jave Del Rosario for helping us out with some cool photos! The best ones here are his!

Billy Gibbons with ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard.

Guess whose setlist.

Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's disco ball during the guitar onslaught of "Free Bird."

Forgot your camera? Any old iPad will work.

Hill and Gibbons.

Yep, again.

Frank Beard, one of the best rock drummers around.

Hey, that's movie director Robert Rodriguez in the background!

The Backyard is a cozy little place with mesquite trees and a big Texas sky.

Man, this is just wrong.

One more. Thanks Jave!

YouTube: “Hey Joe” by ZZ Top

YouTube: “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

YouTube: Corey Taylor

30 Days Out (From Christmas): Heavy Holidays

Posted in 30 Days Out (From Christmas) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2008 by 30daysout


Day 13 – No Christmas is complete without some tunes from our heavy metal brethren.  They always put a pretty amusing spin on the holidays, and they’re much closer to Rock and Roll than the likes of Brenda Lee and Bing Crosby.  Our Ronnie James Dio, Lemmy Kilmister and two other selections today are taken from the new We Wish You A Metal Christmas and a Headbanging New Year.  The version of “Silent Night” here with Chuck Billy (Testament) and Scott Ian (Anthrax) is definitely the true spirit of Christmas.  “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” is from Savatage, which later morphed into the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Check out our exclusive holiday interview with TSO singer Tommy Farese here.

MP3: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi & others

MP3: “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” by Savatage

MP3: “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” by Twisted Sister with Lita Ford

MP3: “Merry Xmas Everybody” by Slade

MP3: “Mistress For Christmas” by AC/DC

MP3: “Silent Night” by Chuck Billy, Scott Ian & others

MP3: “White Christmas” by Zakk Wylde

MP3: “Yellin’ At The Xmas Tree” by Billy Idol

MP3: “Run Rudolph Run” by Lemmy Kilmister, Billy Gibbons & Dave

MP3: “Deck The Halls” by Ted Nugent

MP3: “Heavy Metal Christmas (12 Days Of Christmas)” by Twisted Sister

MP3: “We Wish You A Merry (Metal) Xmas” by Jeff Scott Soto, Bruce Kulik & others

YouTube: Ozzy Osbourne and Jessica Simpson, “Winter Wonderland”

Review: “Live From Texas,” ZZ Top

Posted in Review with tags , , , on December 6, 2008 by 30daysout


Earlier this summer the venerable trio from Texas released a Live From Texas DVD, finally here is the CD companion to that video.  The boys run through 18 songs recorded live at a date in Dallas (2007) and this is an excellent companion for a road trip.   Billy Gibbons’ singing sounds more like that of an aged bluesman, and the rhythm from bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard are tight as ever.  Hardly anyone can quibble with this set list, and the classics “La Grange” and “Tush” get extended workouts, the latter with Hill on lead vocals.  The bonus track is a fine version of Hendrix’s “Foxey Lady.”  This booger rocks!  Of course it would be a fine gift for your rock fan this Christmas.

MP3: “Gimme All Your Lovin’ ” (live)

MP3: “Heard It On The X” (live)

ZZ Top official website

Rock Moment: Roky’s Return

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , on June 3, 2008 by 30daysout


Roky Erickson is one of the true pioneers of American music.  As lead singer and songwriter for the Texas-based 13th Floor Elevators, Roky helped create psychedelic rock way back in 1966 with “You’re Gonna Miss Me.”   

Along the way, Erickson’s use of drugs caught up with him two years later when he started behaving erratically.  He did a stint in the Austin State Hospital then was confined in the Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane until 1972.  When he was released, Erickson was a fried human being who was convinced that he was born on another planet. 

He had an erratic, on-and-off recording career over the ensuing years and in 2001 Roky’s younger brother Sumner was granted legal custody of his older brother and his business affairs.  That began a late renaissance for this rock master – he formed a new band, The Explosives, and began playing regular gigs. 

Roky Erickson is now a familiar presence in the Austin area.  He has played multiple shows at the past few South by Southwest music conferences and was the subject of a classic “Austin City Limits” episode in 2007 where he performed with admirer Billy Gibbons.

If you’re in Austin and you’re lucky, you might see Roky Erickson at the ice cream shop behind Waterloo Records.  If you’re really lucky you can catch him in concert. 

MP3: “Red Temple Prayer (Two-Headed Dog)”

MP3: “Starry Eyes”

MP3: “You’re Gonna Miss Me” (live)

Video: “You’re Gonna Miss Me” w/Billy Gibbons from “Austin City Limits” (scroll down)

Roky Erickson official website

Backyard Fireball: It’s BBQ Time!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 24, 2008 by 30daysout

The weather’s getting warmer and it’s about time to fire up the grill.  Soon you’ll be getting that whiff of charcoal (and charcoal lighter), and your stomach will say, “Ribs, sausage, brisket, chicken, please!” 

Ah, barbecue.  Barbecue is more than just tossing some wieners on a fire.  It’s smoking a succulent side of beef, making sure those pork ribs are just right, and poking a fork in a chicken thigh to make sure the juices run clear.  It’s real cookin’!

It’s also potato salad, watermelon, beans in barbecue sauce, potato chips, Big Red soft drinks and lots of cold, cold beer. And some great music on the patio: here’s a little starter sample.

MP3: Peace, Love And BBQ by Marcia Ball

MP3: Queen Bee BBQ ad No. 1 by Billy Gibbons

MP3: Hot Dog (Watch Me Eat) by the Detroit Cobras

MP3: Barbecue And Drink A Few by Travis Matte and the Zydeco Kingpins

MP3: Queen Bee BBQ ad No. 2

MP3: Hot Barbecue by Brother Jack McDuff

MP3: Rib Tips by Andre Williams

MP3: Queen Bee BBQ ad No. 3

MP3: Bar-B-Q by ZZ Top