ZZ Top gets busy on first album since 2003

Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:46pm EDT
 
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By Gary Graff

AUSTIN, Texas (Billboard) - With a live DVD, a new album and some touring on the docket, ZZ Top is revving up for a busy year.

While he was hanging out at this year's South by Southwest Music + Media Conference in Austin, Texas -- where he performed at Rachael Ray's Feedback party and psychedelic rocker Roky Erickson's annual Ice Cream Social -- the band's guitarist, Billy Gibbons, told Billboard.com that bandmates Dusty Hill and Frank Beard were back in Dallas "in the studio, preparing a new series of sessions of new material" for ZZ Top's first studio set since 2003's "Mescalero."

Gibbons said the band hopes to finish the album before the summer. "The challenge of the studio is much different than live appearances," Gibbons said. "The live experience is hundreds of distracting events. The studio is one microphone. It's one event, so it raises our level of attention to a place where we can really come together as the band we started off as. It's almost a small club environment, so it's really fun."

Before the album, however, ZZ Top plans to release a concert DVD taped November 1, 2007, at the Nokia Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas, near Dallas. No date or title has been determined yet for the Eagle Rock release, which Gibbons characterized as "untouched. It's full of mistakes, and that's the way we like it."

The band is starting to line up its 2008 road schedule. "Hopefully we'll be able to return to the road as early as June -- even, if we can pull it off, into May," said Gibbons, who recently taped a guest appearance on the May 16 season finale for the Fox TV series "Bones."

"I thought I was gonna be the blind date or the boyfriend. But, no, I have to be the dad," he lamented.

Reuters/Billboard

 
<p>Members of the band ZZ Top (L-R) Frank Beard, Dusty Hill, and Billy Gibbons perform at halftime during the NCAA Orange Bowl football game between the Kansas Jayhawks and Virginia Tech Hokies in Miami, Florida, January 3, 2008. REUTERS/Hans Deryk</p>