Thursday, November 10, 2005

ZZ Top: Tres Advanced Hombres

A little something about the Advaced Blues Band ZZ Top, from the New York Times:

"It's just the same three guys, playing the same three chords, and we've been doing this for 35 years." That's the explanation Billy F. Gibbons, ZZ Top's lead guitarist, offers onstage to explain his band's success. When asked about this bare-bones description of the bewhiskered, blues-powered "Little Ol' Band from Texas," Mr. Gibbons chuckled. "As trite as that is, it's the tried-and-true formula for us," he said over the phone from Phoenix, before heading to a gig at the Arizona State Fair.

"I've seen our fair drummer, Mr. Beard - the man with no beard - madly tapping into his calculator, and each time he ends up with the same figures. We've been in this band longer than school, longer than marriage, longer than anything else we've ever done."

...Tonight and tomorrow night the band will wrap up its latest six-month jaunt at the Beacon Theater, its first appearance in New York City in a decade. "We're seeing the end of a lengthy, successful tour," Mr. Gibbons said, "and we decided we'd land it right smack dab at the center of the universe."

,,,According to Mr. Gibbons, continually experimenting with equipment keeps the band's juices flowing. "The novelty of new gear helps to lubricate those pitfalls," he said. "Frequently, a new setting on an amplifier, a new guitar - that's enough to keep things energetic. Just tonight, I got a call from Dusty, and he's all excited, he's got a new bass. I asked, 'What have you got?' and he said, 'I don't know, but it's red!' "

...In addition to the hundreds of guitars he has acquired, Mr. Gibbons has a celebrated stable of hot rods and custom cars, the most famous being the red 1933 Ford "Eliminator Coupe," the true star of those unforgettable videos. Both collections are chronicled in the just-published "Rock & Roll Gearhead" (Motorbooks). It's a combination memoir, band scrapbook and catalog of his favorite autos (including the "CadZZilla" and the "Slampala") and six-strings (like the cowhide-covered Fender and the Gibson in the shape of Texas).

"Rock 'n' roll and automobiles have always had this synergistic connection," Mr. Gibbons said. (He will be signing copies of the book on Monday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble store at 555 Fifth Avenue, at 47th Street.) "You get a guitar, you learn how to play music, and then you've got to have a car to get to the show!" he said. "It all boils down to just that."
I think Billy Gibbons would have been successful at just about any career he might have chosen. But I'm glad he chose to found a blues-boogie band with the most ironically named drummer in the history of music.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love ZZ Top
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