Billy Gibbons Recalls His Advice To Lynyrd Skynyrd For Gary Rossington Tribute

ZZ Top singer Billy Gibbons recently chatted with UCR and discussed how he became the mastermind behind Lynyrd Skynyrd’s tribute to Gary Rossington.

Gibbons was present when Lynyrd Skynyrd honored Rossington’s memory at CMT Awards earlier this year. So, when the host pointed out how ‘great’ the tribute show was, the ZZ Top singer agreed and recalled how it came to place, saying:

“Indeed. [The tribute was great]. I was wrapping up a recording session in Nashville. As I was leaving the studio, I heard somebody call my name It turned out to be a gentleman sitting in an SUV that was parked adjacent to the doorway of the studio. I recognized that it was a guy I had met on a number of occasions.”

He then continued by sharing who ‘the gentleman sitting in the SUV’ was and what role he played in the tribute:

“He’s the promoter of that awards presentation, and he summoned me over to the window. He said, ‘Hey, I’m glad I saw you. I need your advice.’ I said, ‘What might that be?’ He said, ‘What would you think about putting together a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute, with this being so close after the passing of [Rossington], the last surviving member.’ I said, ‘Gee, that would be quite fitting to become part of that.’ He said, ‘OK, you’re it.'”

The rocker carried on by diving deeper into the work that went into the show’s logistics:

“There was just a short fuse to organize what turned out to be a stunning lineup for the presentation of two Lynyrd Skynyrd favorites, ‘Simple Man’ and ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’ With the stellar positioning of those that participated, we felt like it was the right way to bring a nice focus and a bit of attention to a group that has lasted longer than most.”

Billy then recalled an exclusive, fun encounter featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd members while he was backstage, with the singer having the chance to bond with the band:

“It’s funny [to last longer than most] because I got into the elevator after the rehearsal to go into the dressing room. I felt somebody tapping me on the shoulder. It was Johnny Van Zant and Rickey Medlocke. They said, ‘Isn’t it interesting we’ve both enjoyed being in bands that have managed to draw crowds all over the planet.’ I said, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty cool.'”

He further emphasized the importance of both Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top’s universality:

“You know, I could be in Tucson, Arizona, playing a show, or I could be in Madrid, Spain. Inevitably, after about the second song, there’s always a guy in the second row that leans up and screams at the top of his lungs, ‘Play some Skynyrd!’ Tonight, we get to do just that.”

Well, it seemed that Gibbons was one of the few names who organized the Rossington tribute from the very beginning, almost becoming the ‘mastermind’ behind all the logistics and show. And if you haven’t watched the show just yet, let me direct you to their ‘Simple Man’ and ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ performances.