Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top Gushes About How Prince’s Guitar Style Was ‘Defying Description’


It has only been a few days now since the tragic, untimely passing of Prince, but the world is still reeling over the unthinkable loss. The only potential upside to the recent loss of His Royal Badness is that the world is sharing their Prince stories. Sure, that Eric Clapton quote that has been floating around about Prince being the best guitarist is about as real as most of the stuff we all see attributed to other famous people about oddly-assuring things, but Prince was a tremendous guitar player.

Who would know better than ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons? Gibbons spoke with the Washington Post recently about a chance encounter in Manhattan that he had with Prince where the two guitar heavies sat in a bar together for hours discussing the intricacies of the six-strings, talkin’ everything from tone to technique. Gibbons seemed blown away bythe encounter, just like he was about Prince’s guitar chops and tone. In particular, Gibbons cited the intro guitar lick to When Doves Cry as an ongoing inspiration and eternal mystery to him. The two exchanged uber-nerdy talk about gear, amp settings and effects that they used for some of their most popular or interesting songs, only for Prince to show a rare moment of reflection when it came to When Doves Cry.

“He said, I’ve really enjoyed some of the work that showed up on that monster hit of yours, “Eliminator,” the sound of “Gimme All Your Lovin’” He went on to cite a number of titles. I said, ‘Okay, I could give you some amplifier settings, I could give you some guitar strings.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you tell me about ‘When Doves Cry’? He just smiled. ‘That one gets me too.’”

I’m pretty sure that one gets all of us. Gibbons helps to humanize the great Purple One while also reminding us of just how damned cool and special of a person and artist that he was.

(via The Washington Post)