Billy F Gibbons: Rock + Roll Gearhead

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Rock & Roll Books

Billy F Gibbons: Rock + Roll Gearhead

by Billy F Gibbons with Tom Vickers, photography by David Perry

MBI Publishing, 192 pp., $29.95

The first book about and by ZZ Top's Billy F Gibbons, the most enigmatic Lone Star cat to strap six-strings over his shoulder, is also the first high-concept book in which a rock celebrity speaks extensively about his guitars and his cars in a large coffeetable format book loaded with pictures and visuals. While certainly appealing to the visually oriented MTV generation much in the same way the cars 'n' girls videos by ZZ Top revived the career of the blues rock power trio and took them to a whole other level, this three-part book, divvied up into sections devoted to the Life, the Cars, and the Guitars, doesn't leave a whole lot of room for specifics. So readers learn about the influential role family maid Big Stella Matthews played in turning Gibbons on to blues music, how blazing hot the Moving Sidewalks were in their heyday, and the under-reported role Billy Etheridge played in the creation of ZZ Top – more details about the Rev. Billy G than any previous book, including Robert Draper's out-of-print paperback bio. It's what's left out that will have hardcore ZZ-o-philes wanting more. When manager/svengali Bill Ham rates one more mention than I do (full disclosure, you can find me mentioned on page 50), you know there's a whole lot more to say – when pictures don't get in the way.

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