WTF Podcast

Episode 506 - Billy Gibbons

ZZ Top founder Billy Gibbons details the journey of a band that has been together for nearly 45 years, with beards and without. Billy tells Marc what he learned opening for Jimi Hendrix, how he made a guitar out of Muddy Waters’s house, and what he thought of ZZ Top’s huge commecial success in the 1980s. This episode is sponsored by A&E NetworkJack White’s LazarettoStamps.com and LegalZoom

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  • 19 Comments


Frank June 16, 2014 at 4:33 am


Oh my god. I love the interview and I had chills listening to the song in the end. I would love to hear Billy do a whole album in that vein.

Mirco June 16, 2014 at 9:01 am


Great interview, but I doubt he met Rick Rubin as early as 1980.

Jason June 16, 2014 at 10:38 am


One of my favorite interviews so far! Nice job, Marc. I’ve had all of ZZ Top’s records for years, but this session gave me a whole new respect for Billy and ZZ Top.

Maria June 16, 2014 at 1:55 pm


So great it deserves at least 2 listens!!!!!!!

Chris June 16, 2014 at 3:55 pm


Is Gilbert (FB commenter) referring to Marc as the “unprofessional dirt bag”?  I’m guessing he’s not a regular listener.  And pretty judgmental; it’s a big leap to go from someone cursing to being a low life.  The name of the podcast also hints at the type of language you might expect.

cheap sunglasses June 16, 2014 at 4:07 pm


good trick for an original sound: cheap guitar + good pickups:

my Billy Gibbons-Seymour Duncans cost more than my used Jagmaster 15 years ago…. but it’s the best sounding guitar on that Fender DeVille tube amp.

Isaiah H June 16, 2014 at 6:27 pm


Thank you Marc! The Rev. is my hero!

Bear June 16, 2014 at 7:23 pm


I love the musician interviews the best because your passion and love of music always comes through along with your total nerd fandom.  And you know your musical shit, which always impresses me.  I remember you mentioned Artie Shaw to Mel Brookes and I was like holy fuck! Marc and I have a shared musical link.  And I LOVED how Mel was suprised and delighted that you knew it too.  I just get so excited to check out these records again and crank them up after one of these interviews!

I know you probably have a running list of people you want on your show and and people yon are trying to get on so for me to suggest people is probably pointless. But here I go anyway, I would love you have these folks down to the cat ranch.

Lily Tomlin
Willie Nelson
Brian Setzer
Carol Kaye
Ry Cooder
Wanda Jackson
Bootsy Collins
Laurie Anderson
Richard Thompson
Charlie Musselwhite
“The Hag” (Merle Haggard)
Emmylou Harris
Dave Morey (one my of heros)

Joe Tily June 17, 2014 at 4:38 am


Hey man, that was a great fucking interview, dude.

Darren June 17, 2014 at 4:44 am


What a blast to hear the estimable Mr. Gibbons sounding so good! 2014 comes off as a tad fragmented at times. Somehow exploring those seminal records through Marc and Billy’s thoughtful conversation felt as good as how ‘Thunderbird’ ignited that Fandango live side. It would have been fun to hear about that Les Paul but fortunately that guitar like all of in Billy’s hands have made their definitive statements! Thanks!

Stuart June 17, 2014 at 7:13 am


Yet another boring musician. Loved Ribisi and Corry and although Davis wasn’t great, it was at least a good try on your part. Everyone loves colourful people but not everyone shares your musical tastes, man. I sure hope Josh Groban is more interesting than Gibbons. Being Jewish helps.

Joe Tily June 18, 2014 at 9:28 am


^^ How the hell was Billy boring? Did you ever befriend and jam with Jimi Hendrix? Was your band a support act for The Doors?. Have you ever made a guitar with planks from Muddy Waters Cabin? What’s a guy gotta do . . . . ??

hopkins June 18, 2014 at 9:34 pm


possibly the penultimate billy g interview

..for thems that knows, that was mighty

cheers

Alex Torrez June 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm


Brilliant Marc. Just brilliant. I’ve listened 100s of times. Love your work. Love your silly shit preshow but this was the first time I was actually thinking “shut the fuck up Marc and get to Billy!!”  LOL. Great shit!!!

Chris June 19, 2014 at 3:10 pm


I’m not on FB, otherwise I’d post this above, where Gerald could see it. 
Gerald- we’re trying to understand your logic here.  What did you mean by, “If this guy was Black and talking like that, all you guys would be ripping him for all the cursing and talking like trailer trash.”  That comment coupled with your earlier comment make you sound a bit unhinged.  Some of your other posts online suggest you might be depressed or unhappy.  Your leaps in logic are jarring.  Maybe you’re creating this unpleasant online persona to deter people from revealing a dark secret.  Maybe it has something to do with William Tennet HS. 

I’m guessing you’ve never listened to WTFPod before; but you stumbled upon the Gibbons interview somehow.  Maybe your’re a ZZ Top fan?  Do you have a problem with what they sing about?  They have some double entendres and innuendos that are clever and fun.  Or do those offend you?  Is it simply a problem with language?  Have you never met an intelligent person that curses?  I’ve met plenty of ignorant people that don’t swear. 

I recommend getting to know some people out of your comfort zone.  I’ll bet you’ll find some common ground.

Mark Daring June 22, 2014 at 1:27 pm


Huge fan, listen religiously, and would really like to hear what happens when you interview more musicians that are a bit outside your musical comfort zone. If you could pull off an interview with a film director you’ve never heard of before (it was totally smooth, I’m sure the guy had no idea), then you could do an engaging interview with any and all of my suggestions:

Adrian Belew: This dude has the most eclectic career for a guitarist ever and has rubbed elbows with some major fuckin’ names - Zappa, Bowie, Crimson, Talking Heads, Nine Inch Nails - Dude, there MUST be some killer stories that guy has to tell!

Mike Keneally: Music’s best kept secret, a total musical auteur/autodidact genius.

Jake Cinninger: Lead guitarist from the wildly under-appreciated improv band, Umphrey’s McGee. Yes, it’s jam band-prog, but these dudes were raised on Zeppelin, Zappa and ZZ Top and cover every band known to man. Plenty to talk about. Hell, get Bayliss in there, too.

Love the show, I never miss it.

Toronna June 24, 2014 at 6:40 pm


How come Billy doesn’t say “fuck” all the time?  Because he’s got impeccable style and he understands cuss words don’t do much to describe anything.  I think that’s what Gilbert’s getting at.

Maron’s style is just fine—except for tossing in “fuck"now and then to impress you hipsters.  I guess Gilbert isn’t impressed by the word “fuck” and all you Gilbert-detractors are!

To that guy who spoke up for Canada: you speak Quebec, not all of Canada.

casey June 29, 2014 at 4:38 am


such an articulate and sweet guy, love Billy

michael woloschinow July 09, 2014 at 6:26 pm


i just listened to the first 8 ZZ TOP albums because of this.  they really are great.  these guys seemed to always have a good sense of humor about the whole mega-rock thing.  growing up on what is now referred to as classic rock radio, it’s nice to discover a new appreciation for the music of my youth and especially for the in-between cuts - the stuff they never played.

on a more general note:  to hear the love and respect Marc consistently displays in these “across the spectrum” interviews makes me want to be a better person.

more everything please.