Archive for ZZ Top

Video Du Jour: ZZ Top

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , on November 1, 2012 by 30daysout

You think we’re in a classic rock rut? Maybe – but that seems to be the best thing goin’ in music these days.

ZZ Top, our hometown boys, played at a new baseball field just down the road from our house a couple weeks ago. The trio has a new album, La Futura, produced by Rick Rubin, and here’s “I Gotsta Get Paid” from it.

ZZ Top official web site

Old Guys and Rock & Roll

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2012 by 30daysout

Paul McCartney, at age 70, is a textbook example of how old guys can still rock.

It used to be very true that rock and roll was not made by old people. “Old” used to mean people over age 30. So what happened?

Bob Dylan (age 71) just released Tempest to glowing reviews – it should appear on the upper reaches of the Billboard album charts in a few days, but probably not at No. 1. Paul McCartney (age 70) is currently performing close to three-hour sets on his “On The Run” tour, which began last summer in New York City. Roger Waters (age 69) and Rod Stewart (age 67) are also touring, while relative youngster Bruce Springsteen (age 62) can’t be dragged off a stage for anything.

Paul Simon (age 70), Crosby, Stills & Nash (average age 69) and the Beach Boys (average age 70) have live DVDs and/or CDs from recent tours. Van Morrison (age 67) is about to release his 34th studio album, Born To Sing: No Plan B, in early October. Mark Knopfler (age 63) and ZZ Top (average age 60) have strong new albums out, Neil Young (age 66) is readying a new album and tour, and the Rolling Stones (average age 68) keep threatening to do something to celebrate their 50th anniversary. And you can’t stop Willie Nelson (age 79)!

So what gives? Is there something in the water?

Well, pretty much all of these guys mentioned above are big draws on the concert circuit so one can cynically say that the lure of the big bucks is enough to get these codgers out of their rockers. Nobody makes money off albums any more, so each of these acts will go on the road to support an album if they haven’t already. Hell, Dylan’s been touring constantly since the early 1980s.

You think maybe it’s an indication that music being produced today somehow doesn’t measure up to those classics of the past? Perhaps – nothing sends concertgoers to the restrooms/beer vendors faster than “a new song off our latest album.” Even superstars like McCartney and Dylan know better than to populate their concerts with new material.

And it’s tempting to say worthless stuff like “do you think we’ll be paying to see Bon Iver or Green Day live in 15 years?” Because unless you are a total idiot, you know the answer is yes. It may not be Bon Iver or Green Day specifically, but it could be that Weezer reunion or the surviving members of Mumford and Sons or the remnants of Radiohead.

Because it’s not necessarily about who is playing, but what they’re playing. It’s rock and roll, and despite what smartasses over the years keep saying, it’s not dead.

It’s pretty damn old, and it’s not pretty (take a close look at the cover of the latest issue of Rolling Stone). But rock and roll is still alive because we want it to be. The footsoldiers of rock and roll are sticking around because we want them to – the audience changes more than the artists, and as we discover new acts we like, we also go back and appreciate the past. My kids know more about the Beatles and the Stones and the Who than I ever did, when I was a teenager and those boys had brand-new songs on the radio every day.

Women seem to know better, they know when it’s time to fade away – although you can make a pretty good case for rockers like Joan Jett and Bonnie Raitt being here for quite a while. Pop artists are another thing entirely: Madonna has well overstayed her welcome and the decline of Katy Perry, Britney Spears, et. al. won’t be pretty.

Perhaps it’s best just not to think about these things. We’re all going to get to the end of the trail – literally and figuratively – one day. Rock and roll is here to distract us from that brutal truth, to keep us dancing until we can’t any more.

So. The Rolling Stones may tour next year? Don’t know about you, but I’m gonna buy a ticket. For a few hours, I’m gonna be young again.

Backyard Fireball: Memorial Day Grillin’!

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by 30daysout

The big Memorial Day weekend is here and we want to know: what are you grillin’ this holiday?

Here in Texas barbecue is a religion, like football and drivin’ fast. Barbecue is sittin’ on the patio, a Weber grill smokin’ some ribs while you listen to rock and roll and swig a cold beer. Barbecue is more than just tossing some wieners on a fire. It’s smoking a succulent side of beef, making sure those pork ribs are just right, and poking a fork in a chicken thigh to make sure the juices run clear. It’s real cookin’!

It’s also potato salad, watermelon, beans in barbecue sauce, potato chips, Big Red soft drinks and lots of cold, cold beer. You got all that, all you need is some fine music.

MP3: “Bar-B-Que” by Wendy Rene

MP3: “Boogie Woogie Barbecue” by Mitch Woods

MP3: “Barbecue And Drink A Few” by Travis Matte & the Zydeco Kingpins

MP3:  “Barbeque” by Robert Earl Keen

MP3:  “Bar-B-Q” by ZZ Top

MP3: “(Take Out The Squeal) If You Want A Meal” by Earl Summer Jackson

MP3: “Baby Back Ribs” commercial music from Chili’s

MP3: “Barbecue Boogie” by Elvin Bishop

MP3: “Barbecue Any Old Time” by Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

MP3: “The Original Queen Bee Barbecue” by Harley David

MP3: “Eat Your Wife And Kiss The Barbecue” by Mount Righteous

MP3: “UFOs, Big Rigs and BBQ” by Mojo Nixon

MP3: “Hot Dog” by the Detroit Cobras

MP3: “Hot Barbecue” by Boogaloo Baby

MP3: “Too Much Barbecue” by Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows

MP3: “Texas Cookin’ ” by Guy Clark

MP3: “BBQ” by The Master Plan

MP3: “The Barbecue” by Eddie Murphy (Not Safe For Work!)

Live: ZZ Top/Lynyrd Skynyrd, Austin

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2011 by 30daysout

Dusty Hill, left, Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons tearin' it up in Austin. (Photo by Jave Del Rosario)

There was all kinds of stuff goin’ on this weekend in Austin – the amazing Texas Book Festival, the always-popular Austin Film Fest, the Austin Record Convention and the nicer-if-it’s-a-nice day Gypsy Festival showcasing the city’s food trailers. So what was our big event of the weekend? The so-called “First Annual La Grange Fest,” featuring ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Austin has a semi-new outdoor venue called the Backyard – kind of new, because they closed the old one and rebuilt a new one in a different location in the hills west of the city. It holds about 7,500 people and although I don’t think they had that kind of attendance Saturday night it sure seemed that way.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's (from left) Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlocke, Peter Keys (on piano) and Gary Rossington.

Nobody really followed a theme for the “First Annual La Grange Fest,” but former Slipknot and Stone Sour lead singer Corey Taylor, who opened the whole shebang, seemed to set a good tone with his acoustic covers including the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers” and Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky.” He even turned the Ramones’ “Outsiders” into a rousing country-rock anthem.

I wasn’t too impressed with Jamey Johnson, who is a more conventional country singer with an “outlaw” attitude. He has some nice tunes which he wraps with a gorgeous George Jones-style baritone, but his material tended to be a little slow and plodding for my tastes.

When he yielded the stage the sun was goin’ down, and out came the Confederate flags for Lynyrd Skynyrd. Sporting only one original member (guitarist Gary Rossington) Skynyrd didn’t disappoint. Lead singer Johnny Van Zant pandered to the crowd with his big rebel and U.S. flags and constant points up to the sky (acknowledgement of the “man up there.” Who? Ronnie? Who knows?).

A patron of the arts performs his interpretive dance to Skynyrd.

The Skynyrd encore began with Van Zant asking the crowd, “As my older brother Ronnie would say, ‘What song is it you want to hear?’ ” and the crowd responded with … yes, “Free Bird.”  But during the long guitar duel between Rossington, Rickey Medlocke and Houston’s own Mark “Sparky” Matejka, a disco ball dropped down from the stage rafters and sprayed everyone with tiny little shards of light. Is that some kind of comment? Dunno.

ZZ Top hit the stage with thunder and flash, with “Got Me Under Pressure” and “Waitin’ On The Bus.” Gibbons donned a “blues hat” over his African cap and snarled through “Cheap Sunglasses” and “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” before performing a rousing “Hey Joe,” as a tribute to his old mentor Jimi Hendrix. Then, of course, the show wound down with the MTV hits “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Legs” and “Sharp Dressed Man.” The only thing left for the Top was to come out for the encore and romp through an extended “La Grange” (the only reference to the festival theme) and “Tush.”

The ZZ Top set was broadcast live on Sirius XM Outlaw Country, the first time in the band’s 40 years that they have participated in a real-time live radio broadcast. It may have been a good idea to listen on the radio – while this place the Backyard is an OK venue, the parking lot is a nightmare. We hung in a traffic jam for more than an hour and as a result it was a long 20-mile drive back to Austin. Everything else was all right at the Backyard, but that traffic issue was a cluster f**k.

Thanks to Jave Del Rosario for helping us out with some cool photos! The best ones here are his!

Billy Gibbons with ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard.

Guess whose setlist.

Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's disco ball during the guitar onslaught of "Free Bird."

Forgot your camera? Any old iPad will work.

Hill and Gibbons.

Yep, again.

Frank Beard, one of the best rock drummers around.

Hey, that's movie director Robert Rodriguez in the background!

The Backyard is a cozy little place with mesquite trees and a big Texas sky.

Man, this is just wrong.

One more. Thanks Jave!

YouTube: “Hey Joe” by ZZ Top

YouTube: “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

YouTube: Corey Taylor

Prison Closing Blues

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2011 by 30daysout

The Central Unit in Sugar Land is now closed. (Photo by Justin Dehn/Texas Tribune)

Here’s a new one: in Texas, we’re shutting down a prison. Not because there aren’t enough inmates – no, they have shut down one of the state’s oldest prisons because they want to turn the property into a shopping center.

Texas is looking for ways to save money and shutting the Central Unit in Sugar Land will save about $12 million a year. Texas bought the prison property in 1908 from Imperial Sugar, the company for which Sugar Land was named. The current prison, built in 1932, housed more than 1,000 inmates at times.

It was originally called the Imperial State Prison Farm, and one of its most famous occupants was Huddie Ledbetter, who was imprisoned there in 1918 or so. That’s where the singer known as Leadbelly most likely learned the traditional song “Midnight Special.” Leadbelly added some lyrics and it’s a classic today.

So today let’s spin some jail songs.

MP3: “Midnight Special” by Leadbelly

MP3: “Life In Prison” by the Byrds

MP3: “I Fought The Law” by the Bobby Fuller Four

MP3: “San Quentin” (live) by Johnny Cash

MP3: “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard

MP3: “Prison Song” by Graham Nash

MP3: “Christmas In Prison” by John Prine

MP3: “County Jail” by Muddy Waters

MP3: “Ellis Unit One” by Steve Earle

MP3: “Penetentiary Blues” by Lightnin’ Hopkins w/Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

MP3: “Jailhouse Rock” by ZZ Top

MP3: “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash

Backyard Fireball: Fourth of July Food!

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on July 3, 2011 by 30daysout

What you eatin’ this Fourth of July? Grillin’ hot dogs and burgers out on the patio? Mm-hmmm, me too.

Gotta get that grill good and hot, preferably just this side of a thermonuclear conflagration. Throw on them weenies, a few burgers, and forget about ’em until they’re good and black.

And you gotta have a cold beer or two (or seven) with that! Enjoy the Fourth, and keep on rockin.’

MP3: “Hot Barbecue” by Brother Jack McDuff

MP3: “Hamburger” by J Randall

MP3: “Hot Dog and a Bottle of Pop” by Harold Burrage

MP3: “Cole Slaw” by Jesse Stone

MP3: “Chicken Backs” by The Carpets

MP3: “Give Him Cornbread” by Beau Jocque & The Zydeco Hi-Rollers

MP3: “Southern Fried Chicken 2” by Bill Thomas & the Fendells

MP3: “Two Triple Cheese, Side Order of Fries” by Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen

MP3: “Fried Neck Bones and Some Home Fries” (live at Woodstock) by Santana

MP3: “Barbecue Blues” by Barbecue Bob

MP3: “Beer Ain’t Drinkin’ ” by Mojo Nixon

MP3: “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” by ZZ Top

More barbecue songs at our springtime Backyard Fireball post

Backyard Fireball: It’s BBQ Grillin’ Time!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2011 by 30daysout

The Patron Saint of Texas BBQ

I realize some of you in other parts of the country (and the world) are still gettin’ winter weather. Here in Texas it’s grilllin’ time. If you are in Minnesota or New York, stop yer bitchin’ for a minute and see if you can get a whiff of my charcoal fire.

Ah, sorry to be taunting you like that. Here in Texas barbecue is a religion, like football and drivin’ fast. Barbecue is sittin’ on the patio, a Weber grill smokin’ some ribs while you listen to rock and roll and swig a cold beer. Barbecue is more than just tossing some wieners on a fire. It’s smoking a succulent side of beef, making sure those pork ribs are just right, and poking a fork in a chicken thigh to make sure the juices run clear. It’s real cookin’!

It’s also potato salad, watermelon, beans in barbecue sauce, potato chips, Big Red soft drinks and lots of cold, cold beer. You got all that, all you need is some fine music.

MP3: “Bar-B-Que” by Wendy Rene

MP3: “Boogie Woogie Barbecue” by Mitch Woods

MP3:  “Barbeque” by Robert Earl Keen

MP3:  “Bar-B-Q” by ZZ Top

MP3: “(Take Out The Squeal) If You Want A Meal” by Earl Summer Jackson

MP3: “Baby Back Ribs” commercial music from Chili’s

MP3: “Barbecue Boogie” by Elvin Bishop

MP3: “Barbecue Any Old Time” by Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

MP3: “The Original Queen Bee Barbecue” by Harley David

MP3: “Aussie BBQ” by the Aussie Bush Band

MP3: “Southern Fried Chicken” by Hank Penny

MP3: “Eat Your Wife And Kiss The Barbecue” by Mount Righteous

MP3: “UFOs, Big Rigs and BBQ” by Mojo Nixon

MP3: “Hot Dog” by the Detroit Cobras

MP3: “Hot Barbecue” by Boogaloo Baby

MP3: “Too Much Barbecue” by Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows

MP3: “Texas Cookin’ ” by Guy Clark

MP3: “BBQ” by The Master Plan

MP3: “The Barbecue” by Eddie Murphy (Not Safe For Work!)