Saturday, March 14, 2020

ZZ Top - That Little Ol' Band From Texas

Of course, I "discovered" ZZ Top when they had their first mega hit with "La Grange" and "Tush" (#5 in the Chicago area, where I lived at the time) and loved the fact that they were able to get into the Top 40 with blues-based, heavy-guitar dominated rock'n'roll songs. Every cover band at the time had to do these songs ("Tush" was particularly popular due to its lack of innuendo) as well as their take on "Thunderbird" (somehow they got away with calling that their own song by naming it "Have You Heard") along with a few others from the time. Of course, they later added synthesizers and drum machines and became huge MTV stars, but rock'n'rollers still love them for their 70's pure guitar/bass/drums sounds and great songs.

Thankfully, this documentary focuses mostly on their early days with lots of period footage mixed in with animation and modern day interviews and performances. It's kind of amazing how they struggled simply due to where they were from, but they turned that into a gimmick and by the end of the 70's they were a huge touring band.

Of course, by then, after years of non-stop touring, they needed a break to clean up (particularly drummer Frank Beard - the beardless one) and recharge and they took a couple of years off (amazing that they were able to do that and make a come back) before returning with the MTV dominated album Eliminator. Certainly far from my favorite of theirs, but it made them stars and gawd bless 'em for it. The doc basically ends with this album, their biggest seller to date.

Fun doc, especially for the early footage. I listen to these cats regularly to this day (the early stuff, natch) and think I need to go pull out an album now!