ZZ Top’s new album is now finished, being mixed, and will be released in the fall of 2011. Billy Gibbons tells Mojo magazine, “It 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.
Songs recorded include “Flyin’ High,” “More Slower Blues.” “Chartreuse” and “Have A Little Mercy.” The latter is, says Gibbons, inspired by early B.B. King cuts.
The sessions have been executive-produced by Rick Rubin (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash, Metallica, etc). Gibbons adds, “The thing about Rick is he pushes the artists to spend more time reaching down deeper than they normally would.”
ZZ top recorded at the famous Shangri La Studios in Malibu with engineeer Dave Sardy (Oasis, Jet). The trio then moved back to Texas, to Foam Box Recordings in Houston, with long-time engineer Joe Hardy. “It was the Sardy and Hardy party,” said Gibbons.
A version of “Flyin’ High,” which is not confirmed for the album, has already debuted: played en-route to the International Space Station on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. “We figured it’d be the perfect song to pass along to the astronauts,” said Gibbons.
Not every song will be as as radio-friendly as “Flyin’ High”, insists Billy. “More Slower Blues” is “simply one chord, that never stops.”
ZZ Top have yet to reveal the album’s title and its final tracklisting.