Billy Gibbons Shares What Most People Don’t Know About Keith Richards

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During a recent interview with Classic Rock, ZZ Top founder Billy Gibbons shared his memories with the famous friends he toured with in the past. The guitarist stated that his boundless devotion to music is what most people don’t know about Keith Richards.

The Rolling Stones’ reputation as a live act had reached its height during the 1970s. The period also marked one of the most prolific times for the band as songwriters. The band released some of their hit singles during this time. The ’70s were also fruitful for the band members, especially for the band’s guitarist Keith Richards.

Richards was known for his famous wild lifestyle fuelled by his excessive drug and alcohol use during that time. His illicit substance abuse even caused him to be charged four times during the 1970s. His hedonistic tendencies also reduced his activity in the Rolling Stones and led Mick Jagger to take the band’s leadership at the time. It wasn’t until the early 1980s that Richards pulled himself together and stood out in the group.

During a recent interview, Billy Gibbons shared some memories he shared with the Stones’ members during a tour in 1972. The Rolling Stones were there to perform three shows, and they had quite an enjoyable time together. Although Keith Richards was at the height of his wild lifestyle then, Billy Gibbons recalls his ‘unending devotion and calling’ to being a good musician. The guitarist thinks most people skip this point, yet it was evident in Richards’ then-manners.

Billy Gibbons speaking on the Stones and Keith Richards:

“The Stones had accepted an offer to make an appearance in Hawaii in 1972. It was three shows: a Friday night, a Saturday afternoon matinee, and a Saturday evening. When the announcement was made, it seemed that every band on the planet was vying to land the opening slot. Even today, the Rolling Stones are ‘it’ as far as most bands are concerned. Somehow we got the call to take those three dates in Hawaii.

I remember walking out on stage in our standard attire of cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, which was something of a mystery to people back then, and someone in the front row shouted out: ‘Oh my God, they’re a country band!’ Obviously, that wasn’t particularly fashionable at the time. So we realized we had to get stuck in straight from the get-go to shake off this misleading image.

But we got along famously with the Stones and managed to hang out with them for a few extra days. We were hanging out on the beach and sipping cool libations; Keith was living the rock’n’roll lifestyle at the time. But what a lot of people don’t know or realize is Keith’s unending devotion and calling to being what is true as a musician. That was very apparent then, although I have to say he was certainly a lot more colorful when it came to the extracurricular stuff.”

Currently, Billy Gibbons has been continuing touring North America with ZZ Top. Their tour kicked off on May 6 in Niagara Falls and will end on August 27 in Beaver Dam, Kentucky.