Actually, there should be a big birthday bash with a new album and world tour for ZZ Top's 50th anniversary. But Corona threw a spanner in the works of Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill and their drummer Frank Beard. Guitarist Gibbons used the unexpected free time to screw around on cars and guitars, to perform wedding ceremonies and to record his third solo album. eclipsed caught him in the US state Nevada.
"¿Hey hombre, qué pasa?" it echoes from the phone. Billy Frederick Gibbons, 71-year-old rock unicum and one of ZZ Top's two iconic bearded men, is currently in Las Vegas, where there are "plenty of rattlesnakes - under and around the casino tables." A loud, throaty laugh follows - an indication that the guitarist and singer, originally from Houston, is in high spirits. No wonder: "I'm here because a buddy asked me to marry him and his girlfriend at a local chapel. I do that a lot because I have a license to do that. Then I'm Reverend Billy, the man of God and inventor of the best guacamole in the world. The only chapel currently open here is Elvis Chapel. Hallelujah, it's gonna be a party!"
In any case, he has spent most of the months since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic in the Nevada desert - sometimes to jam with his buddy Josh Homme from the Queens Of The Stone Age ("Just like you do"), then again to record his third solo album with drummer Matt Sorum (The Cult, Guns N' Roses) and guitarist Austin Hanks, which bears the title "Hardware". A work that musically hardly differs from the productions of his regular formation and in this respect raises the question why Gibbons is going it alone at all? "Simple: because Dusty and Frank can't get off their duffs," laughs the spindly gentleman with the grown sunglasses and "doormat under his chin" (Gibbons on Gibbons). "I sent them my song ideas two years ago, and they've been tinkering with their contributions to it ever since. I call them every few days to see how far along they are and if there are any problems. Then it's like, 'Don't worry about it, it's all good. We'll get it done.' I think they enjoy me not being on site and are taking all the time in the world given my absence. But what am I supposed to do? It's not like I can force them."