ZZ Top's Billy F Gibbons Holds Q&A and Signing at HMV Oxford Street
This week, on the evening of September 25th, at HMV in Oxford Street, rock fans, spectators and passer-by were treated to the memorable sight of Central London being brought to a halt by the arrival of Texan rock and blues icon Billy F Gibbons.
The legendary ZZ Top singer and guitarist was in town to promote his recently released solo album, 'The Big Bad Blues', out now on Snakefarm Records; he made his way through the packed Oxford Street traffic in a shimmering white 1968 Cadillac Deville, before pulling up alongside a double-decker red bus, exiting the vehicle, and striding into the store, acknowledging the queues of fans and admirers.
Once inside, the packed room of Gibbons' disciples was treated to a Q&A hosted by DJ and podcaster supreme Matt Stocks, where Billy discussed the inspiration and motives behind 'The Big Bad Blues', with its mix of original compositions and classic blues covers, the 50th anniversary of ZZ Top next year, and the time when he travelled to their Wembley Arena gig by tube!
"The record company had hired limos to get us to the venue, but I knew that going through the London traffic would take too long," remembered Billy. "So, we went to the tube station and it's closed! Then, we took a bus to the next tube stop, we got on and I quickly noticed this guy opposite just staring me down and making me feel uncomfortable. He also kept looking at a piece of paper he was holding... and it's a ticket for the ZZ Top show!"
"Halloween is my night, though" he concluded. "Because I can go out and people just say, 'dude, you look just like that ZZ Top guy!'"
Following the Q&A, fans were able to have their recently purchased 'Big Bad Blues' albums signed and photos taken with Billy who, looking resplendent in his suit, shades, African headgear and signature beard, happily adorned fans' records and memorabilia with his autograph.
Co-produced by Gibbons and Joe Hardy, 'The Big Bad Blues' - as the title suggests - represents a return to Billy's blues roots, featuring BFG-ified renditions of songs associated with some of his heroes: 'Standing Around Crying' and 'Rollin' & Tumblin' by Muddy Waters and 'Crackin' Up' and 'Bring It To Jerome' from the Bo Diddley canon. These are joined by a selection of originals recorded at Foam Box Recordings, Houston, Billy's original hometown.
The album features Hardy on bass, drums by Guns N' Roses/Velvet Revolver/The Cult veteran Matt Sorum, as well as Nashville great Greg Morrow, plus Austin stalwart Mike 'The Drifter' Flanigin on keyboards. Blues harp (harmonica) duties are handled by James Harmon as well as Billy who, of course, is the album's vocalist and guitar slinger nonpareil.
- Missin' Yo' Kissin'
- My Baby She Rocks
- Second Line
- Standing Around Crying
- Let The Left Hand Know...
- Bring It To Jerome
- That's What She Said
- Mo' Slower Blues
- Hollywood 151
- Rollin' and Tumblin'
- Crackin' Up
Billy F Gibbons: Guitar, Harp & Vox
James Harman: Additional Harmonica
Joe Hardy: Fender Bass Guitar
Greg Morrow & Matt Sorum: Drums
Mike Flanigin: Keyboards
Photo Credit: Tom Russell