Before launching the iconic Texas blues-rock trio ZZ Top, a young Billy Gibbons was hustling through the Lone Star State with a band named the Moving Sidewalks. The small-time band had the chance of a lifetime when they opened for legendary rock guitar maestro Jimi Hendrix, who took the teenage Gibbons and took him under his wing. Over 50 years later, Gibbons is one of the most recognizable rock musicians in American history. From ZZ Top’s early work in creating classic rock radio staples like “La Grange” and “Tush” in the 1970s to becoming a global phenomenon with innovative music videos in the early years of MTV, Gibbons has been the guiding hand behind ZZ Top’s evolution from the “Little Ol’ Band from Texas” to pop culture behemoth with the 1983 album Eliminator, which has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. As the guitarist and main singer of ZZ Top, Gibbons has led the band to popularity and has gained immense respect among other music luminaries with guest appearances and collaborations with legends like B.B. King, Les Paul, John Mayall, and Sammy Hagar before releasing two solo albums, Perfectamundo (2015) and The Big Bad Blues (2018), the latter being named Blues Rock Album of the Year by the Blues Music Awards. He has continued to lead ZZ Top in the aftermath of the death of longtime bandmate Dusty Hill in 2021 and shows no signs of slowing down from bringing his unique brand of Texas blues to the world.
Christopher McKittrick is the author of the books Can’t Give It Away on Seventh Avenue: The Rolling Stones and New York City (Post Hill Press, 2019), Somewhere You Feel Free: Tom Petty and Los Angeles (Post Hill Press, 2020), and Vera Miles: The Hitchcock Blonde Who Got Away (University Press of Kentucky, 2023). He has appeared on television on HLN’s How It Really Happened and Al Araby TV’s Hekayat Al Cinema, and on various radios shows and podcasts. He lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.