The singer and guitarist Billy Gibbons was born in Houston, Texas back in 1949 and started his musical career at the age of 18 in 1967. He first experimented the success as the guitarist of The Moving Sidewalks, a band that even as Jimi Hendrix‘s opening act. But it was after the formation of ZZ Top alongside Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, that Gibbons achieved superstardom.
For 51 consecutive years the band’s line-up remained the same, it was only in 2021, after Hill’s passing that he was replaced by Elwood Francis. Mixing Blues and Rock, the band released 15 studio albums and have sold an estimated amount of more than 50 million records worldwide.
One of the most important parts of the band’s sound is certainly Gibbons’ guitar playing, that made him appear countless times on lists of the best guitarists of all time. Over the decades the musician performed and talked about many of his peers, even praising one of them as a “terrifying player”.
The guitarist that ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons said is a terrifying player
Billy Gibbons is not only praised for his guitar skills but also for being a really nice guy in the music business. He was always friendly with fans and other artists, frequently jamming with them and being a special guest at concerts. So over the years he had the chance to see many incredible guitar players up-close and perform with them.
In an interview with Music Radar back in 2022, he even praised an American guitar player, saying that he was terrifying. “Eric (Johnson) is an absolutely terrifying player. He has a great tone that he once called his own attempt to become a 100-pound violin. Which I think is brilliant. I remember reading that and absolutely loving the idea behind it.”
“He has this warm sound that comes from multiple amps, delays and reverbs. I would definitely say he’s someone who has tamed the twang of his Strat. There’s not as much high-end in there. He’s a very schooled player. There’s a lot to be learned from him,” Billy Gibbons said.
Eric Johnson was born in Austin, Texas and started his career in 1969, the year that ZZ Top was formed. For years he was a member of many other groups and only released his first solo album in 1986.
But it was after the release of his second record “Ah Via Musicom” in 1990 that he achieved fame especially because of the track “Cliffs Of Dover”. The song became a hit and also was awarded with the Grammy for “Best Rock Instrumental Performance”.
But before that album, Gibbons already knew Johnson and had praised him. In an interview for Guitar Player magazine in 1986, he was asked to talk about the musician and said: “Eric Johnson? Damn, that guy can play!”
Since then he became one of the most respected guitarists in the world and have released 12 studio albums. The most recent one is “The Book of Making/Yesterday Meets Today” in 2022. Gibbons and Eric already performed together, at one of those occasions they performed the classic Jimi Hendrix track “Foxy Lady”.
Eric Johnson also loves ZZ Top and Gibbons
Eric Johnson also admires his friend Billy Gibbons. He praised the ZZ Top frontman when he talked with Guitar World in 2022 to promote his solo album. He was asked by the interviewer about the track “Move On Over”, that had a similar “ZZ Top grind to it”.
Johnson answered praising the band: “Sure, I’ll take that. I think that sounds about right. I love Billy Gibbons’ use of his blues-rock thing. He’s such a great player. What tone, you know?”
“That might have been in my head a bit. I’m still amazed when I hear those records he made, he’s a one-of-a-kind guy,” Eric Johnson said.