ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons Recalls Jimi Hendrix Leaving Him Speechless
Jimi Hendrix’s musical genius wasn’t the only element that made him an established figure in rock history. The guitarist also fronted a new era of guitar playing as he discovered new playing techniques and created memorable riffs that left a lasting impact. ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons recalled how speechless he was when Hendrix asked for his thoughts after a ‘singular’ performance.
Gibbons had the chance to open for the Jimi Hendrix Experience in the late ’60s with his then-band, the Moving Sidewalks. While supporting Hendrix, the pair formed a friendship. After an especially legendary gig at the LA Forum in 1969, Gibbons remarked how impressed he was with the guitarist and recalled how he couldn’t utter a word when Hendrix came to speak to him.
“He was a virtual groundswell of previously unknown techniques,” exclaimed Gibbons as he appreciated Hendrix’s guitar mastery. “[His] ferociousness was unequaled. The Jimi Hendrix Experience lit the house up and tore it right down.”
So, when Hendrix asked what he thought of his set, Billy Gibbons didn’t know what to say. “[Jimi asked] ‘Hey man, how did we do?’ How do you respond to that? Since really there’s no basis and comparison. It was such a singular performance. All I could manage to say was ‘Jimi, I am floored, and I am fixed.”
Jimi’s musical genius was evident every time he played. The way he used the guitar, both as a six-stringed instrument and as a performance tool, inspired many musicians that followed him. He has been praised several times by some of the greatest rockstars in history, including Bob Dylan, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jimmy Page, and Paul Stanley.