Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members ZZ Top will headline a sold-out concert at the Visalia Fox Theatre on April 2.
ZZ Top lays claim to being the longest-running major rock band with its original personnel intact. Of course, there are only three of them – Billy F. Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard – but it’s notable that they’re still together after more than 40 years of rock, blues and boogie on the road and in the studio.
It was in Houston in the waning days of 1969 that ZZ Top coalesced from the core of two rival bands, Billy’s Moving Sidewalks and Frank and Dusty’s American Blues. The new group went on to record the eponymous ZZ Top’s First Album and Rio Grande Mud that reflected its strong blues roots. The band’s third album, 1973’s Tres Hombres, catapulted them to national attention with the hit “La Grange,” still one of the band’s signature pieces today. The next hit was “Tush,” a song that was featured on the Fandango! album released in 1975.
Following a lengthy hiatus during which the individual members of the band traveled the world, they switched labels and returned with two provocative albums, Deguello and El Loco. The next release, Eliminator, was something of a paradigm shift for ZZ Top. Their roots blues skew was intact, but added to the mix were tech-age trappings that soon found a visual outlet with the nascent MTV. Suddenly, the three members were video icons, playing a kind of Greek chorus in videos that highlighted the album’s three smash singles: “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs.”
ZZ Top has performed before millions of fans throughout North America, as well as overseas from Slovenia to Italy, from Australia to Sweden, from Russia to Japan and most points in between. The band’s iconography – beards, cars, girls and the magic keychain – seems to transcend all bounds of geography and language.