Book Review: Billy F. Gibbons – Rock + Roll Gearhead

There are a selection of rock stars who’re additionally critical automotive guys. Customs appear to guide the cost with a lot of them. Assume Jeff Beck, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, Metallica’s James Hetfield, simply to call just a few. Then there’s Brit band Catherine Wheel’s Rob Dickinson (cousin of the Iron Maiden entrance man and British Airways pilot, Bruce Dickinson) who went from singer songwriter to beginning Singer Automobile Design that fantastically modifies Porsche 911s into wonderful supercars.

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Then there’s Billy Gibbons. The ZZ High guitarist and entrance man has a mode all his personal. He launched all the MTV era to sizzling rods because the ’33 coupe, Eliminator, turned virtually as well-known because the band themselves.

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BFG polishes up his T-Chicken, “Mexican Blackbird,” named for the Fandango! track.

However Billy’s roots run method deeper. As ZZ High celebrates 50 years “with the identical three guys enjoying the identical three chords,” Gibbons has up to date and re-released Rock + Roll Gearhead, a guide about his life, his wonderful assortment of guitars and the numerous customized vehicles and sizzling rods he has amassed over time.

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Flathead from a sizzling rod coupe

The unique guide was printed in 2005, and if you happen to missed it, you could have been given one other likelihood to expertise it. Fantastically offered in hardback and protecting sleeve, this artfully illustrated espresso desk guide tells the tales of the vehicles, guitars and profession of the multi-platinum-selling musician. There are solely three chapters, however splendidly expanded on every topic, there doesn’t should be any extra.

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A 1935 Nationwide Resonator, full with patina.

Gibbons’ profession, starting in Houston storage bands to the primary regional business band success, The Transferring Sidewalks, to the formation of the enduring energy trio that turned a family title. All through, you’ll be able to hear BFG inform the tales in real Texas swagger, because the textual content is written like he speaks. It’s Texas guitar-slingin’ and rip-roaring vehicles which can be gritty and polished on the identical time, identical to ZZ High’s music.

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A 1961 Cadillac Customized

The guitars vary from authentic to extremely personalized. Some within the assortment are so method on the market that I actually surprise if they’re playable. His predominant axe, an authentic, unmolested 1959 LesPaul Commonplace Sunburst known as “Pearly Gates,” which he acquired simply as ZZ High shaped, is his go-to. BFG says, “’Til today, I’ve but to seek out an instrument to equal its uncooked energy.” That’s an sincere assertion as the person has a complete lot of guitars, 60 of that are included within the guide.

Many from the MTV Era will keep in mind the fuzzy Gibson Explorer

They embrace Social gathering Peelers John Bolin Customs, a Neiman Marcus BFG SG, a Nacho Telecaster, a 1929 Nationwide Resonator, a 1929 Dixie Ukulele and a 1939 Rickenbacker Frying Pan. The perfect half, simply because the vehicles are pushed, these devices are performed.

“Pearly Gates” a 1959 Gibson LesPaul Commonplace, is Gibbons’ favourite

Then there are the 15 vehicles photographed for the guide. Amongst the perfect identified are Eliminator, CadZZilla, and Kopperhed, which all appeared in music movies within the day. However the 12 others are equally spectacular. These embrace The “Mexican Blackbird” a 1958 Thunderbird; the “Quintana” ’50 Ford customized; the El Camino “Grocery-Getter” customized; the “Whiskey Runner” ’34 Ford Coupe; and a ’51 Willys Wagon.

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The truck mattress of the El Camino “Grocery Getter”

As I tore into this guide and devoured its textual content and photographs, I listened to pre-1976 ZZ High together with “Fandango!” (my private favourite), “ZZ High’s First Album,” “Rio Grande Mud” and “Tres Hombres.” Truthfully, I personally most well-liked the Texas boogie-woogie and deep bluesy riffs impressed by Willie Dixon, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker and Bo Didley versus the MTV-era pop. However at all times respect the band as they by no means really let go of their roots.

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The guide is implausible. Billy Gibbons is a automotive man I want to know.

5 Stars

Billy F. Gibbons: Rock + Roll Gearhead

Creator(s): Billy F. Gibbons with Tom Vickers and David Perry
Hardcover: 224 pages; Illustrated
Writer: Motorbooks/Quarto; Reprint version (June 2, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0760367973
ISBN-13: 978-0760367971
Dimensions: 10.1 x 1.1 x 11.6 inches

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