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ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons Explains His Fascination With Vinyl Records

ZZ Top
John Shearer, Getty Images

Music has undergone many format changes over the years, but rarely does on old form ever come back to prominence. That’s exactly what has happened in recent years, however, with a new generation of music lovers latching onto vinyl records and the warm sound they provide. For ZZ Top‘s Billy Gibbons, that fascination never left.

The guitarist tells Guitar World, “The rawness and the richness of music on vinyl almost went away, but it still seems to be on a lot of people’s radar, and for good reason. It does something different than more accessible means of music playing, like MP3 players and downloads and whatnot. You get in front of these archaic contraptions that go ’round and ’round. It’s mesmerizing, not only to look at but to sit back and experience.”

Gibbons says he’s been an avid vinyl collector over the years, even when it fell out of fashion, and has amassed quite a collection. However, he did have one incident that almost wiped out a big part of his library. “It had to be rescued. We were in England and I was notified to call my assistant, Denise. She said, ‘Well, there’s been a horrific rainstorm and that flat roof of your condo sprung a leak. I was retrieving the mail and I saw something that looked like a garden hose spraying straight into the room.’ She called the handyman and they were able to put the valuables aside, but part of the rain went right into a column of vinyl.”

Gibbons says he was lucky that water doesn’t hurt vinyl, but the covers that housed the vinyl began to mold and his secretary threw them out. He adds, “It was just one column [of records], but it happened to be a column of favorites. I ordered up a bunch of plain white sleeves to put them in and they were fine.”

Next: ZZ Top: Most Anticipated Fall 2012 Albums

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