Billy Zoom

Billy Zoom

Cofounder of

is 60 years old today.

Honor this man today by listening to Los Angeles, Wild Gift, Under the Big Black Sun, and More Fun in the New World.

And be sure to catch X live on their here, and in it you’ll discover just why he is so statuesque on stage:

Another thing Zoom brought to the table was his detached, ultracool image-the spread-legged stance, the expressionless face, the silver Gretsch guitar and silver leather jacket, the bleached-white pompadour. Zoom always looked, well, different from the rest of the band. His body language seemed to say, “I’m here, but I’m not really a part of this.”

“A lot of what I did in X was making fun of ’70s music,” says Zoom with a laugh.  “I remember watching the Doobie Brothers on this Christmas rock concert. The songs were already boring and pretentious to begin with, and then they did this one where the whole band stopped and the guitar player took this solo-wheedly-wheedly-wheedly-playing lots of notes and making all these faces and shaking his hair. And he wasn’t even doing anything. There were a lot of notes, but it was a real easy riff, you know? I noticed that all of these rock groups were always making these faces, trying to make it look hard but not really playing anything. So as a joke, I would play something difficult and just smile and not look at the guitar and act like it was nothing. To me, that was funny. In the beginning, most of the audience got it, but after a while, people looked at it and thought, ‘Well, he isn’t doing anything hard, or he wouldn’t look like he was.'”

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