Veterans Matter spokemen ZZ Top to play at StranahanWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s a familiar scene: Customized hot rods rolling over cracked, dusty terrain. The vehicles stop, doors open, and three sultry women emerge.
The sizzling images are accompanied by searing guitar riffs — and that oh-so recognizable voice.
Splice in shots of two bearded men sporting hats and sunglasses playing guitar and bass and a mustachioed drummer. Leave the ladies with a silver double Z keychain and fade out.
ZZ Top’s video for “I Gotsta Get Paid” from the new disc “La Futura” pays tribute to the past while the trio races on. The disc opener is based on the rap song “25 Lighters” by DJ DMD with Lil’ Keke and Fat Pat.
“[‘25 Lighters’] was recorded at a Digital Services Recording in Houston, where we were working on the ‘Rhythmeen’ disc at the time, and we got to know the guys and that song remained with us since then,” lead singer and guitarist Billy F Gibbons wrote in an email interview.
“It really stayed in our head as we figured out how to deconstruct it and transform it into a guitar-based, blues-infused rocker as you hear it on ‘La Futura.’ That guitar breakdown is something of a tribute to the great Lightnin’ Hopkins, another of our ‘heroes of the Houston ghetto.’ ”
Since 1970, the Texas hombres have sold 25 million discs, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, thanks to classics “La Grange,” “Tush,” “Cheap Sunglasses,” “Legs,” “Got Me Under Pressure,” “Gimme All Your Lovin’” and “Sharp Dressed Man.” Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
ZZ Top will play an 8 p.m. show Nov. 1 at Stranahan Theater. Tickets are $48-$68.
Gibbons answered some questions for Toledo Free Press via email from a tour stop in Kansas City, Mo.
Toledo Free Press: ZZ Top has been playing for more than four decades. What gives your music that longevity?
Gibbons: We enjoy what we do and realize that there’s nobody we’d rather do it with. This is because each of us has developed a “sixth sense” about the other two. When we deliver a new riff, we can predict with almost metaphysical certitude how we will respond with it, of course. The point is it’s still a fine, fine time when we get to light the fuse.
TFP: What was it like being part of MTV’s heyday, making those now iconic videos with your cool car?
Gibbons: It was like the greatest! We had those pretty girls to work with, and our little ’33 Ford Three-Window Coupe got to be a star. The irony was getting to be bystanders in our own videos.
TFP: Have you or Dusty shaved since you grew your beards in 1976? How do care for that famous facial hair?
Gibbons: No, we haven’t, but I do scissor it every once in a while to keep things (somewhat) in line. We suds ’em up and apply conditioner and air dry when possible, but sometimes there’s a rush circumstance that necessitates the use of power tools, like a blow dryer.
TFP: Your first band, The Moving Sidewalks, opened for The Jimi Hendrix Experience — what was that like?
Gibbons: We found him to be as warm a guy as you could possibly imagine, instantly inventive on the spot, and always happy to share his ideas and act as a mentor. Jimi led us not only in guitar technique, but the importance of theatrics and asserting one’s self onstage as well. It’s one thing to play, it’s something else to entertain, and Jimi had both of those aspects down cold!
TFP: In addition to your hot guitar playing, you’re also known for hot sauces and barbecue sauces — and work in the kitchen. Cooking up any special dishes of late?
Gibbons: We’ve got our own BFG Brand line of sauces. The BBQ sauce is sweet, tangy, spicy and smoky, all in one. Great on ribs, chicken, beef, anything that needs a little zing. And, of course, the BFG Brand Sauce Piquant will perk up just about anything you might consume. It’s the real “hot stuff,” fo’ sho’!
TFP: You’ve had an amazing career so far; what are you most proud of?
Gibbons: The topper, so to speak, has got to be our induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by the one and only Keith Richards. That will always stand out as the pinnacle of what we’ve been able to accomplish over all this time.