[fa:p:a=72157594267830938,id=297670931,j=r,s=s,l=p]AUSTIN DAZE: What does the Recording Academy Award mean to you?
BILLY GIBBONS: It’s of course a very special night to be included with such a lofty invitation. To accept this award, and to be surrounded by our friends and our peers, is reassuring that we have still maintained a presence within an outfit that is so focused and dedicated and detailed on maintaining a real high level of value within the music industry itself. It’s really fine.
AD: What is your secret to longevity in this business?
BG: Well we still enjoy doing this just about as much as anything else. In fact, it’s one of the few things we know. The truth is we still love it and we still have a great, great time. We kept it simple; we kept it fairly true to the roots that got us started and I think that’s what is expected. That’s certainly something that we try to keep an eye on: it’s ok to experiment as long as you’ve got one foot in the back door there.
AD: With those trademark beards it must be really hard for you to go out and not be spotted and swamped by fans.
BG: Well it started out as a disguise and now it has turned into a libelous asset–I don’t know if those two words go together. Keith Richards said it best: Yes, we know you were trying to create a little distance between you and the outside world, but it ain’t working.
[fa:p:a=72157594267830938,id=297670955,j=r,s=s,l=p]AD: How do you deal with it?
BG: Well, the unusual amount of attention that these identifiable trademarks have become, has managed to endear us to many of our friends and fans in such a manner that we have actually expanded our scope of interesting folks. We collect characters along the way – there are plenty of them out there so they usually find us.
AD: Have you ever been tempted to shave them off?
BG: Well, Gillette offered us $3 million to see if we could give it the scrape but we had to decline because we don’t really know what is under there anymore.
AD: What have you guys been up to? Any new recordings?
BG: Oh yeah. This last year I made a number of guest appearances, made records with BB King. We did a tribute to Les Paul, played on the Nickelback release, played with Queens of the Stone Age, among others. Now it’s time once again to return to the studio. We anticipate having a new disc on the streets by early summer.