Billy Gibbons Has ‘Great Confidence’ in New ZZ Top Album
Billy Gibbons said he had “great confidence” in a new ZZ Top album, and that colleagues Dusty Hill and Frank Beard had begun working on material while he was completing his latest solo LP, The Big Bad Blues.
The “little ol’ band from Texas” released their most recent studio outing, La Futura, in 2012. Since then, Gibbons put out two solo works, with his debut, Perfectamundo, arriving in 2015.
In an interview with UDiscoverMusic, Gibbons said he’d been working on The Big Bad Blues in one studio while Hill and Beard worked elsewhere in the same building. “They said, ‘Yeah, go do your thing,’” he recalled. “We’re going to start peeling the onion and create a few ZZ Top starter pieces.”
He said that gave him "a sense of great confidence [in] the possibility of making something new within the framework of something that is trustable and repeatable: the ZZ Top thing.”
Speaking about his general approach to the blues, he explained that there's a "definite distinction between interpreting the blues form as a traditionalist and then the same thing goes for stretching the art form once again. My good friend Keith Richards said, ‘Yeah, let’s take those same three chords, but let’s stretch it out, make something new. … The continuum is the fact that this simplistic three-chord thing called the blues continues on. It gets rediscovered, oh, every 10 years. Somebody finds out: ‘Oh, I’ve got this new thing, it’s called the blues.’ Yes. We know.”
It remains to be seen whether ZZ Top will write all-new music or revisit some of the material that didn’t appear on La Futura. Gibbons had said they’d started out with “20 CDs of starter material” for that album before honing it down, and that the final sessions had resulted in enough tracks to make the LP a double-length release.
“The label didn’t really want to release a dual disc in this rather topsy-turvy musical landscape, where promoting new material is so challenging," he’d said in 2012. "So we’re sitting on 10 more songs… We have that big ball of wax waiting to roll."
Asked if they could later be released as a 2013 standalone album, he replied, “Well, I’m hoping – but things in ZZ Top world don’t always follow real-world rules.”
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