Tim Montana has been a fan of ZZ Top, and the band’s founder, Billy Gibbons, for years, but never imagined that he would get to record a song with him, let alone strike up a close friendship. But that’s exactly what happened, thanks to a random connection, which ultimately led to not only a song collaboration (on “This Beard Came to Party”), but a hot sauce business and a friendship as well.
“I was on an indie budget. So it wasn’t like I was able to book a studio when Billy decided to come to town,” Montana recalls to Everything Nash. “It was literally, I had the studio booked. I think it was over at Platinum Lab, or somewhere like that. And all of a sudden, Billy hears the song. He’s routing to Chattanooga. I think he was on tour with Kid Rock, and he veers off and shows up in the studio that we happen to have booked.”
Gibbons happened to show up on the same day Montana’s mom, who was battling breast cancer at MD Anderson in Texas, also got to ring the bell that she was cancer-free.
‘It was already an emotional day,” Montana recounts. “And he rolls in. We sit down and write this song. He goes to lunch with my manager, and lightning strikes the building, puts the power out at the restaurant they were at. I think it was Urban Grub. Me and the boys are working on the song, and he told the manager, ‘Man, that’s a good sign. Something good’s about to shake.’ And so he comes back and brought us all dish towels, like custom ones from a nice store he stopped at.
“He hands them to the band and they’re like, ‘Oh, neat! Dish towels,'” he continues with a laugh. “But they’re really nice. And he sang on the song. We finished recording it and he left, and I thought in my mind, ‘I’ll never see him again, but that’s fine. I got to record with my hero, which is one of my goals in life. If I never meet him again, I got more than I wanted out of this day.'”
Little did Montana know that “This Beard Came to Party” was about to take on a life of its own, thanks to Gibbons and a Major League Baseball team.
“Fate would have it that he met a guy that was looking for a song for the Boston Red Sox, because they were growing their beards out,” Montana shares. “I know nothing about sports; I don’t watch sports at all. I don’t know anything about football or college sports. People think I’m weird, but that was another part of growing up without a TV. I just didn’t get into it. So they’re looking for songs on growing their beards out. And he plays ‘This Beard Came to Party.’ This was like a week or two later, and me and Billy are on the cover of USA Today with the Red Sox.”
Montana had no way of knowing when he wrote the song with Gibbons how quickly it would take on a life of its own.
“The song was the official World Series anthem for the Red Sox,” Montana says. “They won the World Series. Me and Billy’s video is in the movie where President Obama calls to congratulate them. It was really a fast sequence of events. And then I started touring with ZZ Top, and we started making hot sauce together. And now we’re doing random business trips with a little briefcases to be hot sauce men.”
Montana just released Cars on Blocks. The EP is available for purchase at TimMontana.com.