Sunday, May 29, 2016

Book Review of Billy F Gibbons: Rock + Roll Gearhead

Book Review of

Billy F. Gibbons: Rock + Roll Gearhead 

By Billy F Gibbons & Tom Vickers

-Review by Alan Arnell

Billy F. Gibbons: Rock + Gearhead is the first book about and by ZZ Top's legend front man Billy Gibbons.  He opens his garage and studio, through the book, for a look at his renowned collection of custom cars and over four dozen vintage guitars. Billy with systematic detail explains about each exquisite machine and guitar.  The explanations are shown in specially commissioned photographs for each picture in the book. The book further reveals many never before seen photos of memorabilia from Billy's personal collection. Billy also gives personal and inciteful facts along with fascinating stories behind his progression from teenage garage rocker to Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

Billy F Gibbons is, I believe, the most enigmatic Lone Star guitarist to ever strap a six-string over his shoulder.  Billy F. Gibbons: Rock + Roll Gearhead is now my favorite high-concept book in which a rock celebrity speaks extensively about his guitars and his cars in a large coffee table format book.  The book is loaded with pictures and visuals.

The book certainly plays to the visually oriented MTV generation.  And, it really should be published in that manner since the music videos that displayed great cars, young boy's dream girls and great music. MTV videos by ZZ Top revived the career of the blues rock power trio and took them to a whole other level.  

The books is laid out in three parts. The segments cover Billy’s ongoing journey in his musical career starting with his first bands then ZZ Top. Billy discusses the hot rod cars he had and still have in his collection stored in South Texas.  The last segment shows pictures of his guitar collection with a brief history of each guitars and a breakdown of each’s custom electronics.

A very early London-era ZZ band shot

I enjoyed reading about Billy's musical influences. For example, Big Stella Matthews who was the family maid, who early on in Billy’s life played a big part in turning Billy on to blues music.  I am alway interested in where you came from.  The book does not disappoint and highlights how one of Billy’s first bands the Moving Sidewalks helped Billy find his groove and he discusses their heyday.  I was particularly intrigued by stories of when Billy was on tour with Jimi Hendrix. I found interesting, the true facts about the under-reported role Billy Etheridge had in the creation of ZZ Top. One more thing of note is the section about the World Wide Texas Tour. I became a fan of ZZ Top with the Fandango Album and what sealed the deal for me to become a life long fan was the 1976-77 tour. I slept in line the night before tickets went on sale at Illinois State University and bought third row center tickets for the show in Normal, Illinois. The photos of that tour brought back memories of that great time in my life. Hearing the back story of one of my best concert memories was truly exciting.

ZZTop WWTTPoster.jpg

Of course, I enjoyed reading how Billy got into hot rod cars and his influences towards his car hobby.  Any reader of the book will enjoy the many great pictures of Billy, the band, hot rod cars including the famous 1933 Ford Eliminator Coupe. Billy tells which of his guitars were used in the different ZZ Top songs The final treat is learning what each unique guitar brought to the tone, grove and attitude of the song recorded.

The Moving Sidewalks
Billy’s Band Before ZZ Top

Billy's Cars

The Eliminator Coupe



‘32 Highboy Roadster COUP DE GRACE   

From the Back Hard Bound Cover

Billy F. Gibbons
Rock + Roll Gearhead

Reverend Bill F. Gibbons has the magic formula
Tone + Grove + Attitude + Mystery = Longevity + World Fame

Who wouldn’t want all that?  His solos are the perfect examples of playing only what matters. “Sharp Dressed Man’ and “Rough Boy’ are two of my favorites and show that he’s the man and has set the standard for rock guitar and rock videos.”  -Jeff Beck

“Yes, Billy F Gibbons is a true car guy.  On of the best!  We first made contact back in the 1960’s and have remained car-bench buddies ever since.  Bill is a super car creator, from Eliminator, Cadzilla and Kopperhed to hi ‘61 Caddy and his ‘32 Deuce Highboy.  I have enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy, his friendship.”   -George Barris the King of Kustomizers

From the Back Soft Bound Cover

Praise for Billy F. Gibbons: Rock + Roll Gearhead:

"Any fan of cars or guitars will welcome this hefty document as an irresistible document of politically correct pornography, staring with envy at Gibbons' gorgeous axes and hipster wheels for hours on end."

--Jim DeRogatis,  Chicago Sun-Times "A fascinating look at the history of a great band and Gibbons' life-long twin passions."

--Peter Egan,  Road & Track "The cars and the music are part of the same enterprise: creating a shared landscape of the mind, a fantasy land where Mr. Gibbons' music provides a soundtrack for imagined journeys. . . . Many will be happy to ride along."

-- New York Times "A love letter to rodded '34 coupes, chopped Cadillacs . . . and assorted customized Gibsons, Fenders, and Magnatones, punctuated with some fine pictures of girls who seem to have had most of their clothes stolen."

-- Vintage Guitar "Reveals the tales behind dozens of his favorite guitars, and offers the lowdown on 10 of his hottest hot rods. . . . Of course, the book also offers plenty of Gibbons' Texas-fueled pearls of wisdom."

-- Guitar World "About this title" may belong to another edition of this title”.

Some of Billy's Guitars

The guitar that started it for me at least.  The 1955 La Grange Fender Strat.  This guitar along with the Pearly Gates put the crowning touch on the song "La Grange."  Billy said, "...maple -necked special...that groves on!."

The Cornerstone of guitars for Bill is the Pearly Gates.  The guitar is a rare 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard with legendary angelic qualities. It has appeared on every track of every ZZ Top album to date, and sings with a “God-like voice” unlike any other guitar.

Gretsch tailpiece on a custom Ed Roman Jupiter Thunderbird built for Billy Gibbons
The Fuzzy guitars were made famous in multiple music videos were based on a Gibson 
ZZ Top Videos
ZZ Top - Gimme All Your Lovin' (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

ZZ Top La Grange live 1982

ZZ Top Live at Crossroads Eric Clapton Guitar Festival 2010

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A Great Tri5 Chat Board

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

ZZ Top Eliminator Coupe--I Thought That Car Was Stolen?

ZZ Top Eliminator Coupe,

I Thought That Car Was Stolen?

-Alan Arnell

The ZZ Top Eliminator coupe hot rod became a legend by appearing in several rock music videos. Even though the car is a Ford, I have a special place for it in my heart, because of my fondness for ZZ Top along with traditional and custom hot rods.  I am a just a classic car and guitar guy that happens to like 1957 Chevys the best, but why limit yourself is one of my mottos.   
Part of my guitar and musical instrument collection.
Rock and Roll Gearhead Billy Gibbons who is famously known for his rhythmic Texas guitar playing, Lone Star blues and Boogie songs as the frontman of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame-musical group ZZ Top.  Billy may be the best known hot rodding-Rock N Roll musical virtuosos in the music business.  Billy was first introduced the hot rodding and car customising vibe to his musical presence by having his friend “Redhead Fred” pinstripe a guitar of his. Bill said, "He laid on the pin strips to that guitar of mine, and brought custom car hot-roddin’ into the land of the electric guitars."
Gibson '61 Reissue Les Paul SG "Lil Red"

Rock N Roll Hall of Fame-inducted ZZ Top
Billy was influenced by Kustom Car visionaries such as Harry Westergard, George and Sam Barris, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Daryl Starbird, Von Dutch just to name a few.
Billy and his music started coming into their own at the same time as these great custom car designers.  Billy explained that the custom car designs of the 60s inspired him in many ways.  Billy said, “They were inventing car-art-pop magnetism.  No rules, no holds barred. Art forms, yet to be classified.  And, the high-stylin, high profilin’ tradition continues today.”  
Custom Car Designs of the 60s
Billy’s first custom car was made by G-man Barret and Redhead Fred in 1972. The car chosen was a 1951 Shoebox Ford. The car was chopped, lowered and a given a DeSoto toothed grill.  The molding, headlights and taillights were also frenched. Billy, being a good ol’ Texas boy, of course, had a Tijuana tuck ‘n’ roll interior installed in the car.
In 1976 Billy got together with Pete Chapquris and Jake Jacobs at Jake’s Hot Rod Repair. Billy really liked the 1934 coupes the pair were in the habit of making at the shop.  Billy described the ‘34s being made as, “...(an) attitude of pure, Holy-Hell hot rod.”
The ZZ Top 1933 three-window Eliminator Coupe
Billy enlisted Pete and Jake to purchase a 1933 three-window to build as a hot rod projece for Billy.
The car took five years to complete. The car was given custom sheet metal, bitchin motor, and candied pant.  After the the car was completed, automotive stylist Larry Wood and Kenny Youngblood laid out the impressive ZZ lines across the side panels of the coupe. Billy said, “The Eliminator coupe is artistically complete, top to bottom, side to side, repowered, repainted, and with loads of go fast.”
The little red coupe was unveiled and then placed on the cover of ZZ Top’s Eliminator Album.  Soon the car was as famous as they come and was seen everywhere across the nation and the world.  Helping the car to become arguably the most famous car in Rock N Roll was its casting in ZZ Tops music videos shown on the then new MTV,  The car was in ZZ Top’s hit music videos “Gimme all your Lovin’” “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs”
Monogram’s ZZ Top's Eliminator Model
The  Eliminator Coupe was first displayed at the Grand Opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum's. Since that initial display the Coupe has been in and out of the museum several times. Now the car is be on display at the George Voinovich Atrium, that is located in the lower level of the Museum, as a permanent display.

I Though the ZZ Top Eliminator Coupe Was Stolen?

Mike wrote:

“I have read several blogs about the Eliminator-Billy Gibbons-1933-ZZ Top Coupe. Some blogs claim, that the car was stolen Other blogs claim, that it was making a tour and also resided in the "Rock-n-Roll Museum." One blog said the car was at Don Thelan's. Don arriving upon arriving at his shop (Buffalo Motors) found a door broken into and the Coupe had been stolen. What's the skinny?”

The Skinny:

The ZZ Top Eliminator Coupe was not stolen. It has been safe and doing well at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Museum.  The incorrect rumor started years ago after the first couple of ZZ top videos came out on MTV with the Eliminator coupe.  Where did the rumor start?  It is not known for sure, but many think the rumor began when clones of the beloved coupe were shone and put on display at local drag strips.

Ltownrodder on the same chat board wrote:

“A bunch of us decided to drive our rods to watch the drags and take some pictures of the famous coupe that was being shown at the racing event. After the first night at the the motel we were staying at one the morning we got up and opened our motel door. We were shocked to see what we thought was the Eliminator Coupe sitting right in front of our room.

We quickly grabbed our cameras and were taking pictures when this guy comes out of a room next to us and tells us that the car was a just clone and not the real car, The car we saw was one of a couple cars that had built to look like the Eliminator Coupe to be tour around the country.

The clone car guy told us that most of the time he was paid just to unload the car and drive it down the track, then load it up and take it right to the next town. He also said that the original car was still being used (at that time) in video’s and they could not afford for something to happen to it. I can say I saw at least.... ONE of the imposters.

The Coupe looked alright.....but wasn't detailed and finished as well as the original. If you were sitting in the grandstands at the drags you couldn't tell the difference.”

Patrick2965 wrote:

“... I had heard of somebody seeing two clone coupes on a trailer on the highway.”

The rumor of the Coupe being stolen may have been about a clone car or maybe not, no one knows for sure what started the rumor.  If you need proof that the car was not stolen you just have to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum which is located at 100 E 9th St, Cleveland, OH 44114. The museum is a iconic music-minded museum loaded with pop-culture memorabilia, artifacts, instruments & a jukebox.

ZZ Top Eliminator Coupe Hot Rod as it sets at the Rock and Roll and Museum


Billy Gibbons

Rock N Roll Biography of Billy Gibbons

William Frederick "Billy" Gibbons (born December 16, 1949)] is an American musician, singer, songwriter, producer, and actor, best known as the guitarist and lead vocalist of the American rock band ZZ Top. He began his career in the Moving Sidewalks, who recorded Flash (1968) and opened four dates for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Gibbons formed ZZ Top in late 1969 and released ZZ Top's First Album in 1971. The albums that followed, Rio Grande Mud (1972) and Tres Hombres (1973), along with extensive touring, solidified the group's reputation as a hard-rocking power trio.

In the 1980s, ZZ Top released their three biggest-selling albums: Eliminator (1983), Afterburner (1985) and Recycler (1990). A wave of music videos for the hit singles "Legs", "Gimme All Your Lovin'", and "Sharp Dressed Man", among others, became mainstays on MTV. Gibbons has made appearances with other artists and acted on television shows, most notably Bones. He was ranked at number 32 on the 2011 Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

The complete Eliminator Album

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hillsboro, Missouri Car Show

Alan Takes a Road Trip 

Taking the Texas Classic Chevy Experience 

To Hillsboro, Missouri

For a Car Show

-Alan Arnell

Although, I am not driving my classic car from Texas, I was still able to work in a car show while staying in the town of Hillsboro, Missouri. The car show was apart of the 25th Annual Hillsboro Homecoming and Festival.

Hillsboro Car Show Photos:

Hillsboro is a city in Jefferson County, Missouri, United States 40 miles south-south west from Saint Louis.  The town is nice and cozy small town nestled in the northern part of the rolling hills of the Ozark Mountain Range and in between I-44 and I-55.  The town has a population of 2,062.

Hillsboro is the English equivalent of the Italian Monticello, home of President Thomas Jefferson. The founders of Jefferson County had hoped to use the name of the home of their county's namesake for the county seat, but that honor in Missouri had already been taken by Monticello in Lewis County.

The State of Missouri, whose motto is the “Show Me State”, is named for the Missouri River, which was named after the indigenous Missourians. Missouri was part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase by the United States.  Missouri earned the nickname, the Gateway to the West, because it served as a major departure point for expeditions and settlers heading to the West and to Texas during the 19th century.

The Ozark Mountains is a highland region of the central United States. It covers much of the southern half of Missouri and an extensive portion of northwestern and north central Arkansas. The Ozark Mountains is by far the most extensive mountainous region between the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains.

Ozarks is believed to be derived as a linguistic corruption of the French abbreviation aux Arcs, short for aux Arkansas, or "of/at Arkansas" in Englis).