“Our ’65 Chevy low rider convertible, flying the colors of ZZ Top’s El Dorado Bar is solidly a Texas car yet, equally at home on the streets of LA, Fresno, or Bakersfield.” –Billy Gibbons. This pic of ZZ Top has it all, in my opinion. Just checkout that custom-built Texas state Gibson guitar! The band has acquired an enviable car collection over the years, and is out and about in the custom scene. “We attend the Mooneyes Festivals in California and Japan and always make the SoCal Speed Shop summer ‘Open House’ gathering. Always a terrific time. As far as clubs are concerned, we think of ZZ Top as one. We hang out, we shoot the breeze, we get down, we move on to the next town and, of course, it’s all about the arrival. Loud, low, while you Rock and Roll…!” –Billy Gibbons
“Dusty Hill, Frank Beard, and Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) playing the Senior Prom in May, 1970 at Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School in Orange, Texas. Apparently sometime between signing the contract and the actual prom itself, the band broke-out big. They tried to get out of the contract, but the school couldn’t find a replacement on such short notice so ZZ Top still performed…people were climbing through the windows, crashing the prom, just to hear the band play. This was all at a really small school with a graduating class of around 100, maybe less.” via
From the desk of Contributing Editor, Eli M. Getson–
Life has now taken me to the great city of Austin, Texas. You can usually find me walking next to Lady Bird Lake early Saturday morning,completely stuck in my own head, and with my son in tow. He’s a bit of a freak for guitars, and on one of our walks he asked me, “Who is that statue of the man with the guitar?” As we walked closer a smile crossed my face…
It has been over twenty years since we lost Stevie Ray Vaughan in a helicopter crash– arguably one of the greatest blues guitarists ever, and one of the greatest musicians to come out of the Austin music scene. He was only 35 when he passed away, and was on a high from being clean and sober for four years. Stevie was making some of the best music of his life and then– gone in an instant.
Stevie Ray Vaughan played in my hometown of Chicago quite a bit while I was growing up. Any serious blues player will tell you that all roads lead to the Windy City– and Stevie was no different. He had a reverence for the blues and its history. Stevie was heavily influenced by Chicago legend Buddy Guy (who along with Albert King, Otis Rush, Lonnie Mack, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, and Jimi Hendrix really sculpted his style) and would show up at Buddy’s club Legends to jam after hours when he was in town. I was lucky enough to see him play there several times. You could tell that Dallas-born Stevie had cut his teeth playing the small clubs around Austin– he really liked that environment and usually played some great stuff. You had to be willing to stay well into the morning hours to catch Stevie jam with Buddy and any number of Chicago’s finest players, but it was well worth it. Well before the days of cell phone cameras and YouTube, most of these sessions will only live in the memory of those of us that were there to witness two of the greatest guitar legends take turns on classics– like Born Under a Bad Sign, Red House, Not Fade Away, and Mannish Boy.
I often pass Stevie’s statue on my Saturday walks, and wonder if others still stop and reflect on his greatness. Do they know how truly special this guy was? Sadly, time has a way of dulling our memory, and we can forget. Man, I hope not. I feel blessed to have seen Stevie play guitar back then. His incredible sound was pure Blues and pure Texas.
Eli M. Getson
The legendary Texas Bluesman and guitar great, Stevie Ray Vaughan, going behind the back.
The Legendary Johnny Winter and his equally epic younger brother, Edgar Winter, began performing together when they were just kids. Their first TV appearance was on a local children’s television show in Houston / Beaumont area when they were somewhere around 10 years old, strumming the ukelele and singing. Both being Albino, and Johnny cross-eyed, they were quite a sight. The Winter brothers really glow in those old pics. it’s amazing.
Johnny Winter’s star rose quickly. He was the front man, and they began recording at the age of 15, when Johnny and the Jammers released “School Day Blues” on a local Houston record label. Coming up in the music scene back then he’d soak-in performances by his heroes– epic blues artists Muddy Waters, B. B. King and Bobby Bland. Johnny went on to become one of the best blues guitarists of all time. Edgar Winter took a more progressive route– with his smash hit “Frankenstein” launching The Edgar Winter Group (with badass munchkin guitarist Rick Derringer) headfirst into major Rock and Roll stardom. I still love that monster riff, man.
We have all heard the accounts of his peculiarities. Great Flickr find puts some interesting meat on the bone. Fascinating stuff–