One on One: Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and his Renegade Guacamole


When we launched Rolling Spoon last spring, we had aspirations of talking to our favourite musicians – both obscure indie bands we wanted people to get to know and love as much as we did, and those iconic supergroups we grew up with – about what they like to cook at home and eat on the road. There’s no better way to get to know someone than in the kitchen or around the dinner table, right?

So it was pretty awesome when Billy Gibbons of the Texas hard blues band ZZ Top, which formed even before we did (just barely – in 1969 in Houston, Texas) agreed to chat about food. (We all gotta eat, right?) Eliminator, released in 1983, was a soundtrack of the eighties, with LegsSharp Dressed ManGimme All Your Lovin’ and Got Me Under Pressure in heavy rotation on my young teenage boombox. They’re still radio stars, and still playing live; like many heavy touring bands they’ve turned to healthier options on the road, and it’s no surprise that their tastes sway toward Tex-Mex and tequila.

Also: I love that they’re always on the lookout for “indigenous ingestions” – I will be too, from now on. Here’s what Billy had to say about the eating habits of one of the baddest, beardedest bands of all time.

RS: Do you have any great food memories from childhood? Family meals or favourite foods?

BG: Oh, yeah…! That upbringing in both Texas and California insured that Mexican fare of all flavors came as easy access at all times. The Texi-Cali menu most likely stands as the most memorable experience in the world of culinary delights. Spice is nice…!

RS: Do you like to cook? and if so, do you have any specialties?

BG: Yes, indeed. Cook by the book or whatever you took…! Renegade guacamole is our favorite signature dish… not so much “cooked” as, shall we say, “artfully blended”, recipe below…

RS: If I was coming over and you were cooking me dinner, what would be on the menu?

BG: Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tacos, tamales, fajitas, ceviche… See a trend here?

RS: What does the band typically eat backstage while on tour?

BG: Our backstage catering usually offers a wide variety of choices. Most recently, Miz Gilligan, my lovely companion and culinary consult, designed a delightful vegetarian options. We’re avoiding MSG, high fructose corn syrups, and trans-fats and any other weird stuff before hitting the stage.

RS: When touring and visiting other cities, do you like checking out the local cuisine?

BG: Absolutely. We’re always on the looking out for the indigenous ingestions wherever we go. If there’s a barbecue possibility or a South-of-the-Border food prospect we’ll go out of our way to sample for sure. Don’t leave out our own Pura Vida tequila…! A taste of Texas with a twang…!

RS: What’s your favourite kind of pie?

BG: C’mon! Gotta be cherry.

Friends on the Canadian prairies! ZZ Top is coming through – they’re playing Winnipeg tonight, then will visit Moose Jaw and Cold Lake before coming to Calgary next Monday night (March 17th) when they’ll play the Jubilee Auditorium. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.

And yes, as promised, Billy shared his own recipe for Renegade Guacamole – with a few ideas on how to add a little bling.

guacamole 1

Billy Gibbons’ Renegade Guacamole

4 large avocados, seeded and scooped
2-3 limes, juiced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1 tsp. Rev. Willy’s Powdered Peppers*

Mix the above ingredients, then take it to the next level by adding:

1/4 cup of chili con queso (your favorite brand or make your own)

Hot sauce to taste

Serves 4-6.

* Can substitute: 1/2 tsp. garlic salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/8 tsp. cumin, 1?8 tsp. cayenne, 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika