Billy Gibbons: My Life in 15 Songs

ZZ Top's guitarist on how the Stones, Devo and a backwoods cathouse inspired some supercharged Texas-blues classics

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Jimi Hendrix, "Red House" (1967)

A buddy said, "There's a song that you oughta hear." He was talking about "Red House," by Jimi Hendrix, and that completely turned us upside down. It was blues taken beyond. Then the Sidewalks got hired to join the Experience tour in 1968. We didn't have enough material for 45 minutes, so we started doing "Purple Haze." I looked over and Hendrix was in the wings, wide-eyed, grinning. We had seen his showman antics from older blues guitarists. But he had a vision and aura. I remember him tiptoeing across the hall at the hotel: "Come in here. Do you know how this is done?" He was learning chops off Jeff Beck's first record, Truth.

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