Ultimate-Guitar: Nickelback’s Kroeger Recalls How ZZ Top’s Gibbons Ended Up on ‘Rockstar’: He Just Kept Yelling ‘That’s a Hit!’

“This is gonna be a huge, huge hit!’,” Chad recalls Billy shouting.

During an appearance on the TODDCast Podcast, Nickelback singer/guitarist Chad Kroeger looked back on collaborating with Billy F Gibbons.

The ZZ Top singer/guitarist made an appearance on Nickelback’s 2005 record “All the Right Reasons,” contributing guitar and vocal tracks to three songs: “Follow You Home,” “Fight for All the Wrong Reasons,” and “Rockstar.”

Asked on what it was like working with Billy, Chad replied (transcribed by UG):

“Jimi Hendrix said in print that his favorite guitar player was Billy Gibbons – talk about a seal of approval.

“I don’t know how you get more validated than that. I’m not sure where we met – somewhere on the road, you always meet these guys on the road.

“And then we were making ‘All the Right Reasons,’ and when we got to ‘Follow You Home,’ and it’s, like, ‘Let’s get someone else to play, like, a cool guitar part in here that’s as far away from us as you can possibly get.’

“And we thought of Billy. So, we got in touch with Billy, flew down to LA, brought all the hard drives, and he starts playing all the different solos that he did, the slide parts and everything…

“I mean, as soon as he touches a guitar, it’s so signature Billy, it’s amazing. So, we finish that up and then he sings the ‘You can dig me up a grave,’ he does the whole middle part, so we finish that up and it’s great.

“We got all the pieces, put it all together and it’s going to be fantastic. He said, ‘How’s the rest of the record coming up?’, and I said, ‘It’s come along great – really excited about it. We’ve got the hard drives, do you want to hear something?’

“So the next thing we played for him was ‘Rockstar,’ and he lost his mind. In all those pauses, there was nothing there, he jumps up from the console and he’s, like, ‘That’s a hit!’

“He just kept yelling, ‘That’s a hit! This is gonna be a huge, huge hit!’ I said, ‘Do you want to be on it somewhere?’ He was ecstatic, he definitely wanted in, so, ‘Why don’t we just come up with a whole bunch of pieces…’

“And he’s, like, ‘Tell me what you want.’ And he does all those lines, so we just started writing the stuff down and once we ran out of stuff, he said all that, and then he just started improving, so we ran it a few more times and he’d just come up with something on the spot. Then we just slotted it all and it worked out great.”

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  • Buddy Whittington
    September 22, 2019 at 8:35 pm  - Reply

    Here’s my ‘Rock Star’ story…
    My daughter Chelsea was in 10th grade, and Nickelback’s “Rock Star” was the object of discussion in her class. The teacher, who couldn’t have been much more than 21 asked the class, “So who do you think the guy with the long beard that keeps popping up in the video is?”
    My kid sez “Oh, That’s Billy F Gibbons.”
    Teacher sez, “Who?”
    Chels sez “Billy F Gibbons, he’s one of my dad’s heroes.”
    So teach reaches up on the book shelf and pulls down “The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock”, and opens the book to BFG.
    After the kids are educated, Chelsea sez “you know my dad is also in that book.”
    everybody [email protected]@ks her up and down like, “Yeah, RIGHT”. So she says look up “John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Sure enough I was the LAST guy on the LAST page of several pages full of sidemen that had spent time in the Mayall organization.
    Bud Whittington, Hurst Texas

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