Billy Gibbons brings a Latin twist to his solo debut

Billy Gibbons says listeners of his solo debut Perfectamundo 'can mosh to it or mambo to it'.

ZZ Top member Billy Gibbons. Rich Fury / Invision / AP
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For those who have not heard his Latin-infused solo debut Perfectamundo, Billy Gibbons offers this warning: "For the uninitiated, I'll leave it with one word: Beware."

Gibbons’ musical departure from rock band ZZ Top mixes Cuban rhythms with hip-hop and blues, congas, bongos and the Hammond organ.

“You can mosh to it or mambo to it,” says the 65-year-old guitarist and vocalist.

What was the recording process like for ­Perfectamundo?

It was basically gathering a bunch a very talented guys and gals in the studio to make a lot of loud noise ... We were just making experiments in music that just happen to have an ­Afro-Cuban twist.

How do your ZZ Top bandmates feel about your solo effort?

ZZ Top is three guys and two of those three guys are sitting back smiling. They’re going: “Yeah, you go out on the road! You take a new band out there. We’re gonna have a nice holiday.” ... By the time we have some breathing room (from the solo album), I’ll be able to go back into the studio with Frank Beard, and the man with no beard, Dusty Hill.

How have you managed to stay together for more than 45 years?

We’re often asked: “Well, how does it work? How can you ­possibly keep ZZ Top going for this long? It’s longer than most marriages.” At the same time, we all concur that we enjoy ­getting to do what we go get to do. No. 2 is we don’t know which guy is going to make the first mistake, so that keeps us on our toes. It’s a constant ­challenge.

What do you think is the future of blues?

It’s in a state of flux. It’s changing. The originators may be gone, but the legacy and effect of what they invented has ignited a new generation of admirers.