The last time Billy F. Gibbons, Frank Beard and Dusty Hill—a.k.a. ZZ Top—were in town, they stayed at the hotel where I was employed. We all knew ZZ Top was in the house, and the proliferation of bearded roadies drifting in and out of the bar proved it. These fellers were a little rowdy and clearly having a good time, smoking and drinking the afternoon away.
Finally, the band members walked regally across the hotel lobby and made an appearance in the lounge. By all accounts they were class acts, tipping well and handing out free concert tickets to staff members. It was exactly like one of their old videos (Remember the young woman they rescued from a shoe store in “Legs?”), where ZZ Top descends on the scene and makes everybody want to join their good time.
In fact, this “little ol’ band from Texas” has built a reputation on the musical party they throw for listeners, as the Garden City will find out when ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd roar into town next Monday for what should be a gritty Southern rock blow-out.
ZZ Top recently released XXX, an intentionally cryptic title that refers to a certain genre of films, Mexican beer labels and the band’s celebration of 30 years playing together. If you’re worried that they’ve gone the bland dino-rock route, rest assured. As in previous albums, they stick to the winning formula of guitars galore and often goofy lyrics. However, you know electronic music has truly conquered the planet when it shows up on a ZZ Top album, as it does in the song “Beatbox.”
If the hirsute boys in ZZ Top are the “sharp dressed men” of Dixie rock, the roughnecks in Lynyrd Skynyrd are their rebel flag wavin’ cousins.
The band is named after Leonard Skinner, the founding members’ gym teacher, with the letter y employed to protect anonymity. He harassed the founders ceaselessly about their long hair, leading them to eventually quit school and play music full time.
Fans of VH1’s “Behind the Music” know Skynyrd’s tragic story—booze-soaked world tours and wild success until a 1977 plane crash killed three band members, leaving the others unable to continue their careers.
Ten years after the plane went down, Skynyrd was re-formed around founding guitarist Gary Rossington and Johnny VanSant, the infamous (and deceased) Ronnie’s brother. They’ve been making albums and playing shows ever since.
So, be you a member of the nouveau-dirt-jam Nashville Pussy clique or an “Over 40 and Feelin’ Foxy” veteran, an evening of ZZ Top’s and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s musical wilding should be an exciting way to spend a Monday night.
The Monsters of Southern Rock play at UM’s Adams Center on Monday, Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40.50 for both floor and seats, and available at all TIC-IT-EZ outlets or call 1-888-MONTANA.