I’ve “known” Billy F. Gibbons for about 15 years, and I use the term loosely because he’s one of those guys I have to meet every time I see him. After all, I’m just a punk staffer compared to his real friends at Hot Rod magazine through whom we met. His guys were Harry Hibler and Gray Baskerville back in the days when Hot Rod helped with the image of the Eliminator coupe and again when CadZZilla was huge. (One of the relics left to me by Baskerville is the original penned art for CadZZilla, signed by Gibbons, Boyd Coddington, Craig Neff, Larry Erickson, and Jack Chisenhall; another is the original Chromalin art for the CadZZilla poster that was in the magazine.)
But Gibbons is not a hard guy to “know” if you’re around the car scene very much. He’s often at local cruise nights, and I virtually always see him at SEMA. One time I ran into him at a bar in Hollywood where Robert Plant and Jimmy Page also happened to be; that actually ended up in a Page 6 column the New York Post. At the time, BFG and I were talking about a redesign of Rod & Custom magazine and the pending launch of Hot Rod Deluxe. I value Billy’s opinion on such matters–his automotive taste is always appealing to me. His African/Mexican/Southwest vibe is very cool; you should see how his dressing room is done up during road shows.
Which reminds me of a cool story. On the second or third Power Tour, the staff of Hot Rod magazine was hanging out in front of the host hotel when the ZZ Top tour bus happened to pull up. Baskerville shouted out “It’s the R-r-reverand!” (Gibbons is actually an ordained minister.) Billy invited the entire staff backstage that night.
This photo was taken a few years later, also during Power Tour, when we visited backstage before a concert in Nashville, IIRC. But first, a final bit of fun: one of BFG’s business cards reads, simply, Friend of Eric Clapton. Others have fun bogus names.