Gibbons album is tribute to dad

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Billy Gibbons says his solo album Perfectamundo is “in no small part a direct homage” to his dad.

The ZZ Top guitarist’s father was a big-band leader and composer, who encouraged his son’s early discovery of percussion instruments.

And that’s one of the reasons Perfectamundo features experimental approaches to Afro-Cuban music.

Gibbons tells Chron: “I had been banging on anything and everything around the house that made a loud noise. Maybe I’d just turned 12.

“My dad had become entertained by all this banging and clanging, so one day I found myself on a plane to New York, where I was marched off to learn how to do it right.”

His father took him to mambo and Latin jazz musician Tito Puente. “This was the clincher – he didn’t say, ‘Let me show you what to do.’ He handed me some timbale sticks and said, ‘Let me hear what you want to play.’

“Apparently I had good feel for it. He said, ‘We’re not going to have a problem here. Let’s begin.’ That started it all.”

Gibbons is currently touring with his band the BFGs “It’s an intense audience,” he reports. “They’re not screaming like at a rock show – they’re standing up, some are clapping and dancing, others are studying every single guitar lick. There’s a sense of, ‘What is this?’”

Asked about ZZ Top’s future plans, he says that Dusty Hill and Frank Beard are “enjoying a nice holiday as I’m beating the touring trail,” and that they’ll be back in action next year.

Billy Gibbons: Life Beyond ZZ Top