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Talking to Billy Gibbons of Kings of Chaos

Supergroups have been a part of the rock landscape since the mid-’60s — some good (Cream; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Asia; Traveling Wilburys), some not so much (Chickenfoot).

One recent supergroup that’s flown almost completely under the radar considering its collective musical pedigree is Kings of Chaos, featuring members of Cheap Trick (singer Robin Zander), ZZ Top (guitarist Billy Gibbons), Deep Purple (Glen Hughes), Billy Idol (Steve Stevens) and Guns N’ Roses (Duff McKagan, Gilby Clarke and Matt Sorum) — which hits the Hard Rock Live near Hollywood on Friday night.

The goal of the band is not to challenge The Beatles’ songwriting mastery, but to simply have a rockin’ good time jamming on each other’s tunes. So you can be sure you’ll hear Cheap Trick’s hits Surrender and I Want You to Want Me, ZZ Top’s Cheap Sunglasses and Sharp Dressed Man, Guns N’ Roses’ Paradise City and Sweet Child o’ Mine, Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water, Billy Idol’s White Wedding and Dancing with Myself, among many other classic rock faves.

Billy Gibbons helped clarify the Kings of Chaos’ musical mission in a wild, sometimes cryptic, email interview with the Miami Herald:

On what inspired the band’s creation: Kings of Chaos is one wild and gangly group of guys joining the party to make certain the groove and beat is loud. As the saying goes, “Let’s have a good time!” We’d run into each other around the planet with that peculiar respect and admiration for each other’s sound.

On how much rehearsal the band needed to start sounding good: We’re in touch with each other in terms of sonic ideas, composition lists and plenty of personal preferences, so there’s a good idea going in whatever direction unfolds. Call it really an extended party while we do our best making sure the presentation is coherent and totally rockin’.

On whether it’s difficult to settle on the band’s set lists: The high card is taking requests to the band by way of social media. The real deal is playing the list in and out of order. Standing closely with our fans’ demand of a “one-on-one” game.

On whether Robin Zander does all the lead vocals, and how he sounds doing the ZZ Top growl: Well, that’s a select part of offering something familiar with the bonus of experiencing exactly what one expects. Part of the total package. It’s all in them challenging high notes!

On whether the group plays any covers by bands that aren’t represented in Kings of Chaos: Yes, we do. You might hear a Bo Diddley song, a Rolling Stones song and, of course, loads of those luscious rhythm-and-blues favorites.

On how long Gibbons and his ZZ Top brothers have been sporting the beards: The chin whiskers spontaneously erupted for us all back in the mid-1970s. We had taken a lengthy break and hadn’t seen each other for quite a while. When we rejoined forces, we were surprised to see that our facial follicles had become most demonstrative. We didn’t go to the patent office, but it seems like our Deguello album kind of codified the look.

On whether Gibbons ever feels like cutting it all off: Not gonna happen, so why give it a moment’s thought? Let’s rock!

Kings of Chaos will perform at 8 p.m. Friday at the Hard Rock Live Arena at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 1 Seminole Way, near Hollywood; Ticketmaster; $45-$65.

Michael Hamersly

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