Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rocky and Billy at SXSW

Billy Gibbons climbs into the John Lennon "Imagine" bus behind the stage at Threadgill's. The bus is totally tricked out with cameras and wall-sized video feedback screens. It travels around the country teaching kids to play Beatles songs and has been volunteered as Billy's backstage area for his jam session with Roky Erickson at the end of Roky's annual "Ice Cream Social" benefit. Billy gets a little tour of the facilities from the onboard techs, hefts his guitar and heads out into the parking lot to walk the 100 yards to the backstage entrance. His trip quickly becomes a gauntlet of fans. "Billybillybillybilly pleezpleez," a guy runs up to him wants him to sign a poster, another guy wants him to sign the inside of his belt. Billy pulls out a pen, signs, and keeps walking. "Guy kept my pen," he says as the guy yells "Billllleeeee! Keep Rawkin' forever!" Billy turns his head with a wink and says "Now that's a fan." Inside it's mayhem. Roky is grinning sheepishly. He told his manager after Billy played with him two years ago: "I liked that red haired guy." Billy straps it on and they launch into "I Walked With a Zombie." The crowd is singing the chorus. Billy sings the chorus too. They roll into "Two Headed Dog" and Billy plays a totally weird solo part. The crowd is going mad. Two kids with false Z Z Top beards cheer from the side of the stage. It's time for the encore and they launch into "You're Gonna Miss Me." It's all over in a flash and Billy hops into a van, raving about Roky. Back when Roky's band and Billy's Moving Sidewalks were the apogee of Texas psychedelia Billy credits Roky with a blinding piece of inspiration. "I was trying to put together a horn band," says Billy, "then I saw
Roky and I realized, this is how I want to do it!"

No comments: