ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons Plans To Play Until He Dies

Keavin Wiggins | 07-31-2023

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ZZ Top News Album art July 31, 2023
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ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons says in a new interview that he never plans to retire from music and also spoke about taking part in the tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd legend Gary Rossington at the CMT Awards earlier this year.

Gibbons told here of the tribute, "I was wrapping up a recording session in Nashville. As I was leaving the studio, I heard somebody call my name. It turned out to be a gentleman sitting in an SUV that was parked adjacent to the doorway of the studio. I recognized that it was a guy I had met on a number of occasions. He's the promoter of that awards presentation, and he summoned me over to the window. He said, 'Hey, I'm glad I saw you. I need your advice.' I said, 'What might that be?' He said, 'What would you think about putting together a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute, with this being so close after the passing of [Rossington], the last surviving member.'

"I said, 'Gee, that would be quite fitting to become part of that.' He said, 'OK, you're it.' [Laughs] There was just a short fuse to organize what turned out to be a stunning lineup for the presentation of two Lynyrd Skynyrd favorites, 'Simple Man' and 'Sweet Home Alabama.'

"With the stellar positioning of those that participated, we felt like it was the right way to bring a nice focus and a bit of attention to a group that has lasted longer than most. It's funny because I got into the elevator after the rehearsal to go into the dressing room. I felt somebody tapping me on the shoulder. It was Johnny Van Zant and Rickey Medlocke. They said, 'Isn't it interesting we've both enjoyed being in bands that have managed to draw crowds all over the planet.'

I said, 'Yeah, that's pretty cool. You know, I could be in Tucson, Arizona, playing a show, or I could be in Madrid, Spain. Inevitably, after about the second song, there's always a guy in the second row that leans up and screams at the top of his lungs, 'Play some Skynyrd!' Tonight, we get to do just that.'"

Later in the interview Gibbons was asked about the possibility of a farewell tour. He responded, "I borrow the conversation from an exchange I was able to enjoy with Keith Richards. He said, 'Man, if we're lucky enough to follow the words of Muddy Waters, he said, 'Do it until you die.'' Of course, Muddy Waters was lucky enough to do just that. He was playing right up until the end. So we should be fortunate, I guess."

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