ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons Explains How Spinning Guitar Move Started

Legendary rock trio ZZ Top is coming to rock the OC Fair this Thursday, so in anticipation of their show, we welcomed guitarist/vocalist Billy F. Gibbons to talk about the group’s amazing career.

ZZ Top is of course known for their lengthy beards as they are for their lengthy career in music. Both Billy and bassist/vocalist Dusty Hill have been sporting the iconic look for years now, but ironically, drummer Frank Beard is the only one without a beard.

On whether he’s ever cut his beard since he started growing it, Billy said that he has to be careful when playing guitar to make sure it doesn’t get caught.

“Well they do have a tendency to go where we go, and when we strap on the guitar, we have to make sure we strap them up real low, because if the beard gets caught in the guitar strings, a little chop shop happening,” laughed Billy.

And “speaking of things that get caught in the beard,” many fans might not know that the guitarist has his own line of ‘BFG’ hot and barbecue sauces , which can be ordered off his website coming this week.

ZZ Top is also known for their demure, yet effective, showmanship on stage that includes the famous move with the ‘Spinning Fur’ Dean Z guitars that spin around while connected to the strap. Billy told us how this idea was first conceived during his days in the group Moving Sidewalks.

“This goes back to the Moving Sidewalks days,” Billy recalled. “The bass player for the Moving Sidewalks, Mr. Don Summers, actually dreamed it up and we used it as part of the Sidewalks’ act, so it’s been around for quite sometime.”

The group has an extensive catalog of hits throughout the years including “La Grange,” “Gimme All Your Lovin,'” “Legs,” and “Sharp Dressed Man,” which Billy said was inspired by a Sean Connery movie.

“‘Sharp Dressed Man’ was inspired by the ending credits on a film that Sean Connery was starring in, and there was one character that was identified as a ‘sharp eyed man,'” he explained. “For some reason that stuck in my brain somewhere, and we did a little adjustment and there you have it, ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ was born.”

Fans can catch ZZ Top on stage this Thursday, August 1st at the OC Fair. For tickets and more information, visit OCFair.com.

Listen to our complete interview with Billy Gibbons below!

More from Britt Bickel

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