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ZZ Top to tour with Jeff Beck

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame giants ZZ Top and Jeff Beck will tour together for the first time in March, starting at Ogren Park in Missoula, Mont. on August 8 and including stops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, Detroit, Boston and New York during a five-week run.

ZZ Top
Ross Halfin

Each night will offer a full Jeff Beck set followed by a full ZZ Top set, with a finale bringing together Beck and the band.

“Ever since experiencing ‘Jeff’s Boogie,’ the prospect of performance with Jeff Beck on the deck brings us into focus with the Curator of Crunch,” states ZZ Top’s inimitable Billy Gibbons, referring to The Yardbirds' 1966 Over Under Sideways Down album track named for its then lead guitarist. Annointing Gibbons “the Professor of Grunge,” Beck responds: “Ever since [1983 ZZ Top album] Eliminator I thought it would be great to play with ZZ Top.”

Actually, Gibbons and Beck have played together.

“I met him in 1968,” says Gibbons, who then fronted Houston’s legendary psychedelic Texas blues-rock band the Moving Sidewalks. “We shared the bill with the Jeff Beck Group, which then featured Rod Stewart and Ron Wood. We must have done eight or 10 shows together all the way out to Phoenix.”

But Gibbons adds that Beck has long been an inspiration to his ZZ bandmates Dusty Hill and Frank Beard as well, since Beck’s mid-‘60s stint—as Eric Clapton’s replacement—in England's blues-based Yardbirds, which preceded the Jeff Beck Group. While the two acts have been on bills before, this is the “first genuine bona fide collaboration on an official tour,” notes Gibbons.

Meanwhile, ZZ Top continues to tour behind its acclaimed 2012 album La Futura. Beck is working on a follow-up to his 2010 release Emotion & Commotion, which brought him two Grammy Awards and the highest chart debut in his career.

“The severity of the seriousness will make this collision a real cool calamity,” predicts Gibbons.

[The Examiner has written liner notes for ZZ Top albums.]

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