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At the end of their Tallking Tech interview, ZZ Top’s guitar slinger Billy Gibbons jams with USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham on a 12-bar blues riff. Sean Fujiwara Even after 5 years and 30 million records sold, ZZ Top is
still”that little ol’ band from Texas. “”In essence, that’s what we were and what we still are: simply three people from Texas,”says lead singer/guitarist Billy Gibbons, who formed the band in Houston in 1969 with drummer Frank Beard and bassist/vocalist Dusty Hill.
That modest nickname is now the title of their new documentary, “ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band from Texas,” which plays in theaters nationwide throughout October and November (check zztopfilm.com for listings). Directed by Sam Dunn(“Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey “), the movie traces the trio’s unlikely journey from blues-rock outsiders to Leading 40 essentials in the ’80s and ’90s, charting on Signboard with hits consisting of “Rough Kid,” “What’s Up with That,” “Legs” and “Gim me All Your Lovin’.”
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Popularity in 2004 and is presently exploring the country with Inexpensive Trick. Gibbons, 69, overtook USA TODAY from the road to chat about music and more.
Dusty Hill, left, Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard of classic blues-rock band ZZ Top. ( Image: Ross Halfin) Question: How’s the trip going? Billy Gibbons: It’s been an absolute blast. We take pleasure in tiptoeing through the ZZ Top brochure this go-round. With a lot of act upon a night’s expense, the only limitation seems to be that of time. However we have actually found out a method to go into the catalog by changing up the set list night to night. Some nights we might squeeze in a”Inexpensive Sunglasses;”another may consist of”Celebration on the Patio area.”There’s a lot pleasurable material we like playing, we’ve got to blend it up to squeeze all of it in.Q: Looking back, exists a particular minute when you realized simply how big the band had become? Gibbons: Yes. We had finished three videos: “Gim me All Your Lovin,'” followed by “Sharp Dressed Male” and “Legs.” We remained in England and the BBC revealed they were doing a 24-hour broadcast of music videos, and somehow they stacked the deck with playing those 3 ZZ Top clips at the time the bars were about to blurt. (That helped fuel) this explosive popularity. We went from walking down the street being thought of as escapees from some Wild West motion picture or some spiritual nuts, to, “Oh, there’s the guys from that band! They have actually got the red hot rod automobile and the pretty girls!”
Q: After more than 50 years together
, what do you think ZZ Top’s legacy will be? Gibbons: That’s an excellent concern. There’s a couple minutes in this documentary that highlight ZZ Top as a band, simply sitting around, jamming on brand-new stuff and even some older things. And we recognized just how much we enjoy it. So we have actually taken that as a green light to launch some recently taped product, which ideally will come out in the not-too-distant future. We have actually got to strike while the iron is hot! However one of the results of this documentary was creating an enjoyment within the band. There’s kind of this renewed vigor, and we’re really experiencing the same feelings today that got us fired up way back in the start. We haven’t actually altered that much, and I’m not sure we need to change that much. We just delight in getting back to the basics with the same exuberance that brought us together in the very first place. It’s type of insane, but we’re five years into this and pursuing it like we just started.Q: Just how much
longer would you like to continue visiting?
Gibbons: I don’t understand. We’re having a blast. Muddy Waters stated, “Do it up until you do not wish to do it,” which’s the slogan a lot of us appear to live by. There’s something to be stated about if you’re having fun, there’s no reason to pull it to the curb.
guitarist Billy Gibbons on stage in Switzerland this summertime.”width =”540″data-mycapture-src data-mycapture-sm-src > ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, left, and guitar player Billy Gibbons on phase in Switzerland this summer season. (Image: LAURENT GILLIERON, EPA-EFE) Q: Finally, what are some of your suggestions for keeping such a remarkable beard? Gibbons: Well, an advice: It goes where one goes; it’s constantly there. A little beard balm here and there could be something groovy. I have actually even had guys say, “Drink great deals of beer! The barley and malt goes straight to the hairs.” Everybody has their opinion, now that beards have actually become somewhat stylish. Who’s to state how long that pattern may last? The biggest obstacle is trying to decide whether the beard discusses the covers or under the covers.
Q: What do you generally do?
Gibbons: It’s a little hit and miss out on. Depends on how laborious the traveling is. If you keep in mind to keep it outside the covers, fine, but some nights it might get a little cold and you want to get some (warmth) from the hairs. (Laughs.)
Q: Have you taken that advice about consuming more beer?
Gibbons: If we had the high-end to experiment, possibly we could respond to that. The call to the road is a 24-hour excursion. There’s very little time to do much else. We’re constantly writing and bringing all these stories back into the recording studio. Possibly if a lengthy break shows up and have time to hang out with our friends, I can return to that question.