ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons We're joined by the always sharply-dressed Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top! He's been the lead guitarist and singer of the band for over fifty years with classic songs like "La Grange," "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs." While the band's current tour dates have been postponed due to current events, their documentary ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band from Texas, is available to stream online. The Texas native and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer joins Bullseye to talk about the group's legacy, their blues and psychedelic roots and his keen sense of style. Plus, he'll tell us how a BBQ joint became responsible for that legendary ZZ Top sound.
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ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons

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ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons

ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons

ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/836429412/836534444" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images

Rock legend Billy Gibbons on his career, his style and more

Billy Gibbons is a man who needs little introduction.

He's the lead singer and primary guitarist for the legendary rock band ZZ Top. With the dark shades, highly-curated accessories and signature long beard that would put Samson to shame, he has a rock-god persona that most can easily identify.

Texas born and raised, the artist who sometimes goes by the name "The Reverend," comes from a long line of entertainers. He was born the son of a concert pianist. In fact, several members of his extended family worked in show business before he received his first taste of glitz and glamour at the early age of five years old! It was that year that his mother took him and his sister to see Elvis Presley perform. At only seven, his father took him to see blues artist BB King. The music bug took hold early and its roots grew deep.

He formed his first major band after attending art school—The Moving Sidewalks. They had their first hit with their single "99th Floor" which led to the band opening for The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Before ZZ Top, Billy Gibbons (second from right) was in the more psychedelic Moving Sidewalks. Rancho Deluxe Productions hide caption

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Rancho Deluxe Productions

Before ZZ Top, Billy Gibbons (second from right) was in the more psychedelic Moving Sidewalks.

Rancho Deluxe Productions

In 1969, he formed the band ZZ Top alongside longtime friends Dusty Hill and drummer Frank "Rube" Beard. The band released several classic albums over the decades including 1973's Tres Hombres and 1983's wildly popular Eliminator.

The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 in part due to their signature guitar churning sounds, suggestive lyrics and highly stylized music videos.

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But behind the ~idea~ of ZZ Top is something a lot more interesting: the ~band~ ZZ Top. A psych-influence blues rock band that is still cutting great stuff to this day. The band has a fascinating story, too, one that's covered brilliantly in the recent documentary ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band from Texas.

Billy joins Bullseye in our last pre-quarantine IRL interview to talk about the group's legacy, their blues and psychedelic roots and his keen sense of style. Plus, he'll tell us how a BBQ joint became responsible for that legendary ZZ Top sound. All that and more on the next Bullseye!

Tour dates for the band are currently postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but look out for them in 2021.

In the meantime, stream ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band from Texas today.