Billy Gibbons Discusses Prince’s ‘Sensational’ Guitar Playing
ZZ Top’s legendary frontman Billy Gibbons explaining why Prince wasn’t just a great guitar player
‘Sensational’ is about as close a description of Prince’s guitar playing as words might allow,” Billy Gibbons of ZZTop told the Washington Post, last Friday (April 22)
ZZTop guitar player talked, in a new interview, about his friendship with Prince and recalled a lenghty conversation where they talked shop.
“I believe that the feeling one was left with, if afforded the luxury of actually seeing Prince perform … we’d be looking for other superlatives. Because it’s almost got to the point of defying description.”
Gibbons and Prince ran into each other at New York’s Tiger Bar in 2009 after the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concerts. For two hours, they sat at a corner table and “we really dove into the depth of his intent, interest and focus toward technique and tone. I left that evening even more mesmerized than I’d previously been, just knowing the sincerity that Prince kept toward his playing, his performing and his all-around showmanship.”
“He said, ‘I’ve really enjoyed some of the work that showed up on that monster hit of yours, Eliminator the sound of ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’’” He went on to cite a number of titles. I said, ‘Okay, I could give you some amplifier settings, I could give you some guitar strings.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you tell me about ‘When Doves Cry’? He just smiled. ‘That one gets me too.’”
The duo also commiserated on how their respective styles affected their ability to play. “He asked me, ‘Does your beard get in the way like some of my costumes?’ And I was stunned momentarily and I thought about it and said, ‘You know, perhaps so.’ But then he grabbed my arm and said, ‘Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with it.’”