Epically bearded guitar hero on Eliminator, MTV hits and being Jeff Beck’s roadie
“This is our first official live album,” says ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. “Well, our first along with the thousands of bootlegs that exist.”
Yes, after 47 years, ZZ Top have finally put their name to a live record. Greatest Hits Live is more than just your standard live album, though: this is a lovingly put together set recorded across several tours.
“We wanted to pick out a favourite night of the tour, but we realised we had many favourite nights. We wound up sifting through the entire tour – actually, the last two or three tours. All of which, quite fortuitously, had been recorded. If you close your eyes and turn it up loud enough, it’s almost like you’re there.”
If you close your eyes and turn it up loud enough, it’s almost like you’re there
Don’t be fooled into thinking that this means the boogie blues trio are winding down. In fact, when MusicRadar speaks to Billy, he is just wrapping up a European press trip and ready to fly home ahead of the band’s forthcoming US tour.
“We’re picking sticks back up, as the saying goes. We’re picking up sticks or picking up chicks… I’m not sure which comes first.”
The Top’s relentless live schedule is nothing new, of course – the touring circuit has always been where they’re most at home.
“Going back to the early days, playing live for us, that was the warm-up fields,” Billy says. “Not only did it get warm, we aimed for it to get hot.”
Get it hot they did. So, with a new live record on the shelves and plenty of touring miles left in these old dogs, there’s no better time to look back with Billy at some of the key tracks and moments from nearly five decades of the Top.