by Sal Serio
Just when it seemed like the year was wrapped up as far as major interviews were concerned, the opportunity came about for Maximum Ink writer Sal Serio to conduct some Q&A with none other than music legend and Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Billy Gibbons, obviously of ZZ Top fame. Billy and his current touring band The BFGs play the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee on Saturday, January 30.
MAXIMUM INK: A Slim Harpo song starts off your new solo CD ‘Perfectamundo’. To you, what is the geographical difference in blues music? Texas blues as compared to Chicago, Kansas City, Mississippi, or wherever. Which came first in your musical vocabulary: blues or rock ‘n roll?
BILLY GIBBONS: [My] first real exposure to live blues was a man from Mississippi, who was based in Memphis at the time, who was recording in Houston, but whose most celebrated album was ‘Live At The Regal’, which was recorded in Chicago! It was B.B. King, of course, and I got to see him record in my home town thanks to some strings pulled by my Dad, when I was about 7 or 8. I guess I’m saying that blues has no boundaries and is all interconnected. There wouldn’t have been a Chicago scene if blues cats hadn’t come up from Mississippi. Texas cats tended to gravitate to Kansas City, but there was lots of cross pollination. Slim Harpo, by the way, was from Louisiana, so you could very well say “all and none of the above.” A few years before that encounter with B.B. King I got to see Elvis perform, and, as the song goes, “baby, that is rock ’n’ roll.”