“She never begs, she knows how to choose them.” – ZZ Top
A few weeks ago a good friend of mine called me shortly after 5 pm while I was still sitting at my desk in my office and not using my legs at all. He had the good fortune of inheriting some lawn seating tickets to the evening’s concert just down the street from my office, and he asked if I wanted to go. I quickly accepted his offer and I was off to meet him for a concert featuring that “little ol’ band from Texas” known as ZZ Top.
I had never been to a ZZ Top concert, nor do I consider myself a huge ZZ Top fan, so I had very little in the way of expectations. To be fair, I find my expectations are fairly low these days for any acts from the 70’s or 80’s. These guys are old now, you know. I had a little knowledge of some of their early stuff from the 70’s, but I really grew up on their MTV 80’s songs – “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Sleeping Bag,” and of course today’s featured song and video.
So I met my buddy, Micah, at The WalMart Amp. We sat in the outdoor bar area eating overpriced food and drinking overpriced drinks watching people try to reclaim a little of their youth. The opening act was a band called Oreo Blue, and they were very solid. The guys seemed to be about the same age as the ZZ Top guys, so I assume they’re probably all friends.
My buddy Micah is a guitar player and so he has a vastly different perspective and appreciation for the skill and nuances of guitar players. Me, on the other hand, I like to ask him guitar questions from the perspective of someone who has never had an ounce of guitar chops. Sure, I could ALMOST play “Every Rose Has Its’ Thorn” on my acoustic guitar at one time many years ago, but since then my skills have eroded back down from slightly above nothing to nothing again. So instead of talking like I know anything at all about playing the guitar, I ask Micah (who plays guitar for our church) important questions like why can’t you play “Stairway to Heaven” at church service or “Money For Nothing” when the tithe and offerings are being taken? What would be wrong with playing some Doobie Brothers’ “Jesus is Just Alright With Me” as a backdrop to prayer? Like I said, important questions.
After Oreo Blue, we moved onto the lawn a little closer to the stage where we sat behind a couple of guys that actually looked to be in their 20’s or early 30’s. For the next hour and 20 or 30 minutes, we were all entertained by ZZ Top. For a three-piece band, they sounded much fuller than I expected, and well, Billy Gibbons’ rough, bluesy voice still sounds rough and bluesy.
Bottom line – I’m glad I was able to go see ZZ Top, and the moral of this story is that it’s good to have friends, but even better to have friends that enjoy cool music and don’t mind ridiculous questions.
“She’s got a dime all of the time
Stays out at night, movin’ through time”
These guys have moved through time for sure – four decades to be exact. I believe you can still watch it on Netflix, but the 2019 documentary “ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas” is worth a watch. It may be just a tad bit long (90 minutes) for the casual fan, but it’s full of interviews and performances and gives a detailed, in-depth look at the three original founders – Billy Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard, who ironically is the only clean shaven member. The timing of the documentary was pretty impeccable as original bassist Dusty Hill passed away in his sleep on July 28, 2021 at the age of 72 leaving a long, bearded hole in the band which had many wondering if we would ever see any incarnation of ZZ Top again.
That question has been answered with Elwood Francis, a well renowned and respected guitar tech in the industry. He plays in his own band, The Mighty Skullhead, and has over 30 years of experience. And at some point and time before he passed, Dusty had wished Elwood would take over on bass should he not be able to continue playing.
When I think about ZZ Top in the 80’s, this is probably the first song that comes to mind for me mostly because of its’ iconic video featuring the furry, spinning, sheepskin covered guitars and of course the ZZ Top girls coming to the rescue of our young bullied couple. The song was actually the fourth single off of the “Eliminator” album and peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, but the video won the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards video for best group video. Here is “Legs”…
During this concert, I texted my wife a picture of Elwood and told her this would be me in a few years. So check out Elwood (fitting in very well with his bandmates) on his furry sheepskin bass along with Billy and Frank on the live 2022 version of “Legs”…
Thanks for reading.