John Varvatos Prompts Billy Gibbons And Moving Sidewalks To Return To Studio

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Photo Credit: Maria Ives

Photo Credit: Maria Ives

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Over the weekend, ZZ Top‘s Billy Gibbons revisited his youth by reuniting with his pre-ZZ band, The Moving Sidewalks, for their first concert in 44 years at New York’s B.B. King’s.

The band has one more show scheduled for April 28 at the Austin Psych Fest, but their story won’t end there thanks to one of their more famous fans, fashion designer John Varvatos.

Gibbons told Radio.com that Varvatos (who posted a photo from Saturday night’s show on his Facebook page) convinced him to hit the studio with his former band.

“After speaking with John,” he said, ‘You know a couple of shows, that’s okay, but they’re going to evaporate.’ I said, ‘What are you recommending?’ He said, ‘You know what I’m recommending!  Get in the studio!’  So, in the not-too-distant future, we’ve made arrangements to take some of the re-arranged originals and cover those, and we’re in the process of maintaining the momentum by writing new material.”

The shows are to promote the band’s recently released The Complete Moving Sidewalks and Gibbons says he was surprised by the continued interest in the band. But even more importantly, he was surprised that the chemistry was still there:  ”I don’t know if there’s a model that we could compare (our situation) to. It’s kind of flattering.  These guys, they never stopped playing music.  The first ten seconds (of rehearsal) was a return to ’68 or ’69.  It was still there!”

As for ZZ Top, they kick off another string of tour dates in May, and will also release a sequel to last year’s Rick Rubin-produced La Futura.

“Out of the ten tracks that were included on La Futura, they were selected from 22,” Gibbons said. “It was a coin toss. Rick said let’s put all the titles in a hat, out of this hat. That he’s wearing!  We drew the names out.  There’s some good stuff waiting [to come out].”

His ZZ Top bandmates – Dusty Hill and Frank Beard – are supportive of Billy working with his former group.  In fact, they did ask for a couple of ‘comp’ passes” for the Austin show. Luckily, Billy thinks he can work them in.

- Brian Ives, Radio.com

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