Pearly Replica! And the Band Was Named After…
Gibson.com recently published a so-so interview with Billy Gibbons. It’s always cool to hear from the Rev, but there isn’t much new in this piece. Still, it’s always good to read what comes from famous guitarists, if for no other reason than to see if it matches with what they’ve said all along!
So here are a few excerpts, followed by a ZZ Top vid I just can’t get enough of.
How did you end up with Pearly Gates?
ZZ Top owned an old Packard, a car from the ’30s. It served us well, but it was really, really old. One of our girlfriends decided to head to California to try out for a part in a movie. We gave her the Packard as a way to get there. Not only did she arrive, but she got the part. We named the automobile “Pearly Gates” because we thought it must have had divine connections. Renee Thomas — that was her name — sold the car to a collector in California and sent the money to us. Her timing couldn’t have been better. The very day that the money arrived a guy called me up wanting to sell an old guitar. It was a ’59 Sunburst Les Paul. It was found underneath a bed, by the way, in which her previous owner died. I had to buy the guitar, of course, and I called Renee on the same day to thank her for being so kind. She said that it looks like the Packard went for a good cause and we should name the guitar after the car, Pearly Gates. At the end she said, “Now you can go make divine music.”
How would you describe the tone of Miss Pearly Gates?
Divine, simply divine. Pearly was born on one of those fateful days when just everything was all right. The wood was well balanced, the glue was right, and the electronics were built in perfectly. She was waiting underneath a bed for years, just waiting to burst out of there. And I was the lucky one who was to be her conqueror.
The rest of your collection is impressive, too.
Pearly is the reason for my guitar mania. Since I have her I’m searching for one that is equally good. I own a lot of great and valuable instruments, but none of them could match the sound of Pearly Gates. You can hear Pearly on each and every ZZ Top album.
And for the record, here’s the origin of the ZZ Top name:
There’s always been lots of rumors and anecdotes surrounding your band’s name. Some say it was derived from the names of two producers of smoking accessories, Zig Zag and Top. Some say it pays homage to blues legend ZZ Hill. What’s the true story?
Nothing like that. Back then we were — and we still are — huge fans of the King of Blues, B.B. King. So we started to call ourselves Z.Z. King, but realized pretty quickly that it sounded too much like our hero, so we changed it to ZZ Top.
Last but not least, looks like Gibson is finally working on a replica of Pearly. Getcha wallets out!
Jesus Just Left Chicago, Germany, 1980