Just like America, the blues-rock-country world is basically divided between super-conservative guys — the Ted Nugent and Kid Rock of this world — and liberals weed smokers/feminists –the Willie Nelson and Dixie Chicks of this same world. I once tried to make a list of musicians who support Trump, but we now know one thing: ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons is not one of them.
America’s Got Talent’s finalist, Benton Blount, a country singer/guitarist from Greenville NC, was on tour with the famous ZZ Top man, but revealed on his Facebook page that he was fired after posting a photo of himself wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and an “I voted” sticker. He was already 4 shows into a 7-show slot opening tour with Gibbons, when he learned the news. In a Thursday interview with The Greenville News, Blount said he was told by Gibbons’ management that he’d been removed from the tour once he and his band had already arrived in Atlanta where he was supposed to play.
The firing has enraged his fans, who are now screaming ‘liberal fascism’ and leftist intolerance’… ‘Guess you’re not allowed to have different opinions now’… wrote someone, ‘when did it become illegal to support our President’ wrote someone else. Illegal? Err…Gibbons had all the rights in the world to not associate himself with someone he didn’t like, a guy with a podcast which, looking at this page, has all the trademarks of a pro-Trump propaganda … I wonder why they didn’t check this earlier! Blount spoke up and has to assume the consequences, he is not banned from playing music, just banned from opening for Gibbons, who is also taking a lot of criticisms from his most conservative fans. They are saying they will boycott his shows, and that makes it equal.
This story is interesting because Gibbons has never been the most politically engaged musician in the world and a year ago he even declared this to Rolling Stone, when he was asked about Trump as a president: ‘It’s a hard job to fulfill. You got to let the guy who holds that place do the best they can. And it’s a topsy-turvry position. It’s very challenging no matter who is in the chair. But I don’t mind the guy. I mean, I have never been politically motivated one direction or the other. I am glad I don’t have to do it as I said it’s a challenge that really quite a great bit of fortitude and stamina. We will see. Frankly I don’t care. Just make sure we keep this country in a forward direction.’
It took someone like Trump to politically motivate Gibbons in one clear direction.