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ZZ Top ‘Sowing and Stitching Away’ at New Album, Says Billy Gibbons

ZZ Top
Christian Alminana, Getty Images

Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top says in a new interview that the band’s next album will finally be released in March or April of next year. He also broke down the process of songwriting in a new and unique, and yet not fully unexpected way.

Gibbons tells the Lehigh Valley Express-Times that the tactic for identifying the traits of a good song can be traced back to a slightly more adult experience. “It’s like Supreme Court Justice Stewart said about the definition of pornography, ‘I can’t describe it but I know it when I see it’.”

Technology is helpful to the process, but ultimately, Gibbons notes, you have to have a little bit of talent in that noggin, because there’s no “microprocessor” that’s going to help you generate a catchy ditty like ‘I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide’ – that piece is something that has to come from within.

The upcoming ZZ Top album, produced by Rick Rubin, is motoring towards completion. Gibbons says that basic recordings have been completed but that the record still needs to be “mixed, mastered and named.”

In a separate interview that appears in the September issue of Mojo, Gibbons detailed the recording process for the new project. ZZ Top tracked the initial sessions in Malibu with producer Dave Sardy (Oasis, Jet) before relocating to their normal home base in Houston, where they laid down the bulk of the material with longtime producer Joe Hardy.

Rubin didn’t interfere with the band’s legendary formula, and as Gibbons relates, told the band “you don’t have to get much better, just continue doing what you do.” So Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard did just that, “we kept sowing and stitching away at the songs,” he says.

Sonically, Gibbons says that the album “sounds and feels like ‘Tres Hombres,’ with a few elements of the ‘Eliminator’ period thrown in. A pretty wide range, from basic blues to slightly more fancy stuff.”

As they hunt for an album title, Gibbons joked with us in our own recent interview that they had toyed with the idea of ‘The Whole Enchilada’ and ‘Burrito Deluxe’ as possible names, but said they’re “open to suggestions.”

After 40 years, we’d say that you can just press it up, call it whatever you want – we just wanna hear it!

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