Tag Archives: ZZ Top

Celebrate No Shave November With These 10 Best Rockin’ Beards

Hooray! The temps are getting lower, the leaves are turning colors, and I’m all out of vacation time at work…which means it’s NOVEMBER! As I’m sure you’re all aware, it’s also “No Shave November.”  Now, the MAN would have you believe that having too much hair is a bad thing, but you know better, don’t you? Long hair and beards are the most rock ‘n roll thing there is.  I’m doing my part to let grow, as I do every winter.  Does my boss like my beard? I don’t know because I don’t ask.  A winter-coat is important to survive the harsh Mid-West winters…but it’s even more important if you’re gonna ROCK!

To celebrate No Shave November, I thought I’d count down my Top 10 All-Time Greatest Rock Beards.  Yes, ZZ Top is on this list.

10. Jim Morrison.  I know most of you like to think of Jim as a clean-shaven, sober, upstanding member of society…but not me.

9. Scott Ian.  The Anthrax guitarist is pretty much world-famous for his facial hair.

8. Dave Grohl.  The Foo Fighter’s frontman has the kind of beard you wouldn’t mind taking home to meet your mother.

7. George Harrison.  The quiet Beatle was an understated guitarist and an amazing beard-grower.

6. Jim Ford.  While not a household name, Jim Ford’s song writing inspired Nick Lowe, who covered his song “36 Inches High.” 36 inches was also his beard length (give or take).

5. Willie Nelson.  This man rocks. Plain and simple, as does his beard which is just as famous as Lincoln’s.

4. Paul McCartney.  The cute one got married an rocked an awesome 70’s beard.  It was good times.

3. Jerry Garcia.  I think we’re all grateful  for Jerry’s awesome bushy beard.

2. Frank Zappa.  Controversial, as Zappa is mostly known for his manicured mustache and soul patch, still a beard in my book.

1. Billy Gibbons.  Come on, who else?

For more beard-related fun, why not stop by and visit my friends over at Beards.org. And remember, shaving is for little sissy babies!

 

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METAL MONDAY: Weedeater’s Awesome JASON THE DRAGON!

North Carolina’s metal-dudes Weedeater do not mess around. Their fourth album, their epic album JASON THE DRAGON was delayed in 2010 when their lead singer, “Dixie” Dave Collins accidentally shot his big toe off…with a shotgun.  Thank God Collins was able to pull himself together to record again, because JASON THE DRAGON is the kind of album the world needs.  Metal is dominated by bands that are loud, in-your-face, and angry but often have no underlying spirit.  I love music that grooves besides just assaulting the ears with sheer bombast, and Weedeater is all about groove. Their music is a slow-burn of aggression; it feels more complex and mature.

Don’t look so smug Smaug.

Weedeater occupy the sub-genere of metal known as sludge, which I seem to have an unhealthy love for.  The sounds are dark, gloomy, and akin to a slow beating with a blunt object.  “Turkey Warlock” is the epitome of this slow descent into madness, with it’s Black Sabbath-like chugging guitar and scratchy vocals.  The song ends with a single held-note that bleeds into the next song, the titula “Jason…the Dragon.”  I absolutely love this song.  It’s about a dragon, name Jason…but more than that, it’s heavy but has a nice, steady groove.  Weedeater is rock slow and steady and are unapologetic about it.

The southern/bayou-sounding “Palms of Opium” sounds like the sort of laid-back country-jam ZZ Top used to be known for.  It’s a refreshing blast of cold water on their fire of metal, and creates a surprising shade of complexity over JASON THE DRAGON that belies their chosen genre.  Likewise, the John Bonham-esque “March of the Biploar Bear” offers up an entertaining (albeit brief) interlude.

The best song on the album though, is “Homecoming” which is full of really interesting guitar work and home to the album’s most memorable riff.  JASON THE DRAGON then ends with a frogs ‘n banjo song “Whisky Creek,” which similar to “Palms of Opium” reminds us of the bands backwoods roots.  There’s something awesome about a hillbilly metal band, hearing it is like scratching an itch you didn’t even know you had.

Bravo, Weedeater! Please stop shooting yourself and make another album ASAP.

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New ZZ Top Song Is Pretty Radical

Last Wednesday I packed a bag and hit the beach.  Vacations are fun, but long flights suck, which is why I always hit the local bookshop for some rock magazines before I go anywhere.  I tend to read books while in the air and nervously flip through magazines during the pre-boarding activities.  Anyway, I picked up the latest issues of my two all-time favorite rock ‘zines: MOJO and Classic Rock Magazine.  Both are British, come with a free promo CD, and are ridiculously expensive for this Missouri boy.   But despite the small fortune I had to shell out, they were both worth it (tangent: why are there no good American music magazines?).  Now that I’m home, I’ve been spending a little time with the promotional CD’s, which is a fun way to come-down from a vacation.

This month’s Classic Rock Magazine featured a ZZ Top cover-story and this month’s CD  has their new song “I Gotsta Get Paid.”  The song is off their forth-coming album LA FUTURA.  I’ve never written ZZ Top off, per say, but I’ve never eagerly anticipated their more recent albums either. Expecting a by-the-books “Dinosaur of Rock”-type album I pretty much wrote LA FUTURA off.  But then I heard that the bearded boys had fired their managers and hired super (bearded) producer Rick Rubin to produced LA FUTURA.  Needless to say, my interest perked up considerably.

Rick Rubin, the 4th member of ZZ Top.

So how is the song?  “I Gotsta Get Paid” is actually pretty damn good.  The song, a pretty obscure cover of “25 Lighters” an old rap song by DJ DMD, has an appropriately swampy groove.  Billy Gibbons voice is just getting better (and scarier) with age.  The song, while heavily influenced by Rubin, remains true to ZZ Top’s blue roots.  Rubin’s got a knack for taking older acts and breathing new life into their careers, and from what I’ve heard of LA FUTURA, it sounds like he may have done it again.

You can listen to the first four songs of LA FUTURA on Spotify (released as an EP titled TEXICALI).  Give it a listen and tell me what you think:

And for those that are interested, here’s the original version of the song:

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