How Billy Gibbons Got His Nickname ‘Reverend’
Billy Gibbons of US rock band ZZ Top performs on stage during a concert in the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on June 24, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANP / FERDY DAMMAN --NETHERLANDS OUT-- (Photo credit should read Ferdy Damman/AFP/Getty Images)
ZZ Top’s guitarist Billy Gibbons shares the real story behind his nickname “reverend.”
In a recent interview from Classic Rock, the musician explained how the scam of “left-handed slippers” earned him his moniker: “We were fascinated by these high-powered radio stations along the Mexican border,” Gibbons said. “You could buy shows in fifteen-minute segments after six o’clock in the evening. You had someone selling piano lessons, you had someone selling a hundred baby chicks for two dollars, then the preachers would come on.”
Long story cut short, someone pressed Gibbons to do something out of it. If he buys 15 minutes worth of airtime, maybe someone could give him some money.
Gibbons had a friend who works at the docks in Houston, and he took a “delivery of some Chinese slippers,” but was flabbergasted when he noticed that they were all left feet. So, Gibbons got an idea to buy them for a dime on a dollar and sell them, calling it “The Thought-Provoking Soul Slippers.” What a good name for a ridiculous idea.
He also created a name for his radio personality— Reverend Willie G. He said: “I will send you Thought-Provoking Soul Slippers with your love offering of five, ten, a thousand dollars or more! We will stamp your favorite psalm in the sole, and with every step you take, thousands of prayers will go out to Jesus,” that was his pitch.
When the mail delivered him a bag full of cash, his parents wanted to know where it came from, putting an end to his scamming career. But hey, at least the nickname “reverend” caught on from that moment.