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Variety: Film Review: ‘ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas’
%3Cimg+src%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fbillygibbons.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2019%2F08%2Fzztop-hero-1.jpg%22+style%3D%22width%3A100%25%3Bheight%3Aauto%3B%22+%2F%3E%0D%0A%0D%0A%3Ca+href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fvariety.com%2F2019%2Ffilm%2Freviews%2Fzz-top-that-little-ol-band-from-texas-review-billy-gibbons-dusty-hill-1203305246%2F%22%3E%3Cimg+src%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fbillygibbons.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2019%2F08%2Fvariety.png%22+alt%3D%22%22+width%3D%22301%22+height%3D%22167%22+class%3D%22alignleft+size-full+wp-image-10145%22+%2F%3E%3C%2Fa%3EBy+%3Ca+href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fvariety.com%2Fauthor%2Fowen-gleiberman%2F%22+rel%3D%22noopener+noreferrer%22+target%3D%22_blank%22%3EOWEN+GLEIBERMAN%3C%2Fa%3E%09%0D%0A%0D%0A%3Cstrong%3EA+documentary+about+the+%2770s+blues+rockers%E2%80%93turned%E2%80%93MTV+icons+nails+the+music+history+but+doesn%27t+get+too+far+behind+the+beards.+That%27s+its+charm.%3C%2Fstrong%3E%0D%0A%0D%0ADirector%3A+Sam+Dunn+With%3A+Billy+F+Gibbons%2C+Dusty+Hill%2C+Frank+Beard%2C+Billy+Bob+Thornton%2C+Robin+Hood+Brians%2C+Joshua+Homme%2C+Terry+Manning%2C+Steve+Miller%2C+Howard+Bloom.+Release+Date%3A+Aug+14%2C+2019%0D%0AOfficial+Site%3A+%3Ca+href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zztopfilm.com%2F%22+rel%3D%22noopener+noreferrer%22+target%3D%22_blank%22%3Ehttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.zztopfilm.com%2F%3C%2Fa%3E%0D%0A%0D%0ASettling+in+to+watch+%E2%80%9CZZ+Top%3A+That+Little+Ol%E2%80%99+Band+From+Texas%2C%E2%80%9D+you+may+have+a+burning+question+that+applies+to+almost+no+other+rock+documentary%2C+and+that+is%3A+Who%2C+exactly%2C+are+these+guys%3F+The+ones+behind+the+beards%3F%0D%0A%0D%0AIf+you%E2%80%99re+old+enough%2C+of+course%2C+you+probably+know+that+ZZ+Top+started+out%2C+in+1969%2C+as+a+trio+of+wild-and-woolly+cowboy+rockers+who+played+their+own+brand+of+dirty+amped-up+tin-shack+blues.+When+their+first+hit%2C+the+lascivious+redneck+boogie+%E2%80%9CLa+Grange%2C%E2%80%9D+was+released+in+1973%2C+there+had+arguably+never+been+a+sonic+blast+that+raw%2C+rough%2C+and+nasty+on+the+rock+charts+%28though+%E2%80%9CWhole+Lotta+Love%E2%80%9D+and+the+opening+riff+of+%E2%80%9CSpirit+in+the+Sky%E2%80%9D+paved+the+way+for+it%29.+ZZ+Top+didn%E2%80%99t+sound+like+a+%E2%80%9Cpopular%E2%80%9D+band.+They+sounded+like+the+kind+of+band+you+hear+in+a+scuzzy+Texas+roadhouse%2C+or+maybe+on+a+backwoods+campus.%0D%0A%0D%0AThat+said%2C+the+vast+majority+of+rock+fans+probably+don%E2%80%99t+know+ZZ+Top+from+their+%E2%80%9970s+shit-kicker+Texas-chainsaw-blues-rock+phase.+They+know+them+from+the+early-%E2%80%9980s+videos+that+made+them+international+icons%3A+the+badass+blues+brothers+in+their+shades+and+matching+foot-long+hillbilly+fuzzbeards%2C+twirling+their+padded+guitars+in+unison%2C+looking+over+sexy+scenarios+that+they+always+stood+magically+outside+of.+They+presided+over+those+videos%2C+with+their+vintage+cars+and+glinting+keychains%2C+as+the+unlikeliest+of+demigods.+The+videos+shrouded+their+identities+and+made+them+larger-than-life.%0D%0A%0D%0AThat+image+of+ZZ+Top+was+so+stylized+that+early+on+in+%E2%80%9CThat+Little+Ol%E2%80%99+Band+From+Texas%2C%E2%80%9D+Billy+Bob+Thornton+says+that+when+you+went+to+a+ZZ+Top+concert%2C+it+was+kind+of+like+seeing+Bugs+Bunny+on+stage.+Joshua+Homme%2C+of+Queens+of+the+Stone+Age%2C+talks+about+the+grand+mystery+of+it+all%3A+Who+were+they%3F+I+know+the+feeling.+In+the+early+%E2%80%9990s%2C+I+spotted+the+two+bearded+members+of+ZZ+Top+having+dinner+at+a+New+York+restaurant%2C+and+unlike+any+other+celebrity+sighting+I%E2%80%99ve+had%2C+this+one+felt+almost+like+a+visitation.+It+was+hard+to+imagine+that+they+even+ate+food.%0D%0A%0D%0AIn+%E2%80%9CZZ+Top%3A+That+Little+Ol%E2%80%99+Band+From+Texas%2C%E2%80%9D+Billy+F+Gibbons+and+Dusty+Hill+come+out+from+behind+the+beards+%E2%80%94+sort+of+%28but+not+really%29.+They+sit+down+for+interviews+in+which+they+recall+the+band%E2%80%99s+history%2C+and+along+with+the+drummer+Frank+Beard+%28yes%2C+the+handsome+one+who+doesn%E2%80%99t+have+a+beard%29%2C+they%E2%80%99re+droll%2C+companionable+diarists+of+their+own+unlikely+journey.+They%E2%80%99ve+stayed+together+for+half+a+century%2C+avoiding+the+ego+wars+that+tear+apart+most+bands%2C+and+they+still+seem+grateful+for+the+fact+that+that+they+can+sit+around+and+play+the+music+they+love+and+call+it+a+living.+That+sly+Dixie+modesty+is+part+of+what+came+across+in+%E2%80%9CGimme+All+Your+Lovin%E2%80%99%2C%E2%80%9D+%E2%80%9CLegs%2C%E2%80%9D+and+%E2%80%9CSharp+Dressed+Man%2C%E2%80%9D+the+fabled+videos+from+their+1983+album+%E2%80%9CEliminator%E2%80%9D+that+were+made+when+they+were+in+their+early+thirties+%28though+they+already+seemed+like+ageless+old+men%29.%0D%0A%0D%0AThe+movie+has+good+stories+about+how+they+discovered+their+sound.+When+Gibbons%2C+Hill%2C+and+Beard+first+played+together%2C+they+jammed+on+the+elemental+blues-rock+riff+of+%E2%80%9CShuffle+in+C%E2%80%9D+for+three+straight+hours+without+a+break%3B+by+the+end%2C+they+knew+they+had+something.+In+a+pivotal+early+recording+session%2C+their+manager%2C+Bill+Ham%2C+insisted+that+they+use+no+overdubs%2C+so+the+producer%2C+Robin+Hood+Brians%2C+chased+Ham+away+for+90+minutes+by+sending+him+across+the+county+line+to+fetch+some+barbecue.+Brians+had+an+overdub+technique+that+involved+making+the+guitar+strings+slightly+out+of+tune+on+the+second+layer%2C+to+create+a+breadth+of+sound.+And+that+was+it.+It+didn%E2%80%99t+come+off+like+overdubs%3B+it+was+still+just+guitar%2C+bass%2C+and+drums.+But+now+it+sounded%E2%80%A6big.%0D%0A%0D%0AZZ+Top+played+off+the+beaten+track+of+Texas+%E2%80%94+at+roller+rinks%2C+National+Guard+stations%2C+whatever+place+would+have+them.+They+played+an+entire+gig+in+Alvin+for+one+solitary+guy.+%28He+still+comes+to+their+concerts.%29+What%E2%80%99s+fascinating+about+seeing+the+clips+from+the+%E2%80%9970s+is+that+Billy%2C+without+his+beard%2C+looks+like+a+computer+programmer+in+a+flannel+shirt+as+played+by+the+skinny+young+Harrison+Ford.+We+can+still+see+a+vestige+of+the+boyish+%E2%80%9960s+rocker+who+fell+under+the+spell+of+the+psychedelic+band+the+13th+Floor+Elevators.%0D%0A%0D%0AThe+breaks+came+gradually%2C+like+when+the+Rolling+Stones+invited+ZZ+Top+to+open+for+them+for+three+shows+in+Hawaii.+But+when+they+kicked+ass+during+those+shows+and+weren%E2%80%99t+mentioned+in+the+reviews%2C+it+was+a+wake-up+call.+The+press+didn%E2%80%99t+get+them.+Ham+brought+in+a+master+publicist%2C+Howard+Bloom%2C+and+it+was+he%2C+after+getting+to+know+the+band%2C+who+figured+out+that+they+were+from+a+%E2%80%9Cforeign+country%E2%80%9D+%E2%80%94+Texas+%E2%80%94+with+its+own+history%2C+its+own+founding+father%2C+its+own+rules.+In+1975%2C+they+put+together+the+Worldwide+Texas+Tour%2C+which+branded+them+with+the+mystique+of+Texas.+They+performed+on+a+75-foot+stage+in+the+shape+of+Texas%2C+with+livestock+on+stage.+They+were+making+Texas+do+for+them+what+Jersey+did+for+Springsteen.%0D%0A%0D%0AThe+tour+was+a+monster+success%2C+and+afterwards+they+took+a+break+that+was+supposed+to+last+a+few+months%2C+but+lasted+several+years.+Frank+Beard+remembers+getting+his+first+big+check%2C+for+%2472%2C000.+%E2%80%9CI+spent+it+on+drugs%2C%E2%80%9D+he+recalls.+%E2%80%9CEvery+bit+of+it.%E2%80%9D+But+while+he+was+off+doing+heroin+and+cocaine%2C+Billy+Gibbons+was+roaming+the+world.+And+when+they+re-assembled+onstage+several+years+later%2C+you+can+see+and+feel+the+difference+in+him.%0D%0A%0D%0AGibbons%2C+who+gives+off+a+vibe+of+relishing+tall+tales%2C+tells+what+sounds+like+a+whopper+about+how+he+and+Dusty+Hill+both%2C+completely+independently%2C+stopped+shaving+out+of+laziness.+I+would+guess+that+the+beards+took+a+lot+more+planning+than+that.+But+when+they+first+performed+with+them%2C+it+gave+them+an+aura+that+was+totally+new.+Gibbons%E2%80%99+body+language+was+different%3A+more+commanding.+They%E2%80%99d+become+Southern+rockers+who+presented+themselves+as+carny+American+showbiz+biker+devils.%0D%0A%0D%0Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FnNkb8be3wlA%0D%0A%0D%0AFilm+Review%3A+%27ZZ+Top%3A+That+Little+Ol%27+Band+From+Texas%27%0D%0A%0D%0AReviewed+online%2C+Aug.+16%2C+2019.+MPAA+Rating%3A+Not+rated.+Running+time%3A+90+MIN.%0D%0A%0D%0APRODUCTION%3A+An+Abramorama+and+Eagle+Rock+Entertainment+release+of+a+Banger+Films+production.+Producer%3A+Scot+McFadyan.+Executive+producers%3A+Sam+Dunn%2C+Geoff+Kempin%2C+Scot+McFadyen%2C+Terry+Shand%2C+Carl+Stubner.%0D%0A%0D%0ACREW%3A+Director%3A+Sam+Dunn.+Screenplay%3A+Ralph+Chapman%2C+Sam+Dunn.+Camera+%28color%2C+widescreen%29%3A+Martin+Hawkes.+Editors%3A+Alex+Shuper%2C+Mark+Staunton.+Music%3A+ZZ+Top.%0D%0A%0D%0AWITH%3A+Billy+F+Gibbons%2C+Dusty+Hill%2C+Frank+Beard%2C+Billy+Bob+Thornton%2C+Robin+Hood+Brians%2C+Joshua+Homme%2C+Terry+Manning%2C+Steve+Miller%2C+Howard+Bloom.%0D%0A%0D%0Aoriginal+post+%2F+review%3A%0D%0A%3Ca+href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fvariety.com%2F2019%2Ffilm%2Freviews%2Fzz-top-that-little-ol-band-from-texas-review-billy-gibbons-dusty-hill-1203305246%2F%22+rel%3D%22noopener+noreferrer%22+target%3D%22_blank%22%3Ehttps%3A%2F%2Fvariety.com%2F2019%2Ffilm%2Freviews%2Fzz-top-that-little-ol-band-from-texas-review-billy-gibbons-dusty-hill-1203305246%2F%3C%2Fa%3E%0D%0A%0D%0A%3Ca+href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zztopfilm.com%22+rel%3D%22noopener+noreferrer%22+target%3D%22_blank%22%3E%3Cimg+src%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fbillygibbons.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2019%2F08%2Fposter-doc.jpg%22+alt%3D%22%22+width%3D%22692%22+height%3D%221000%22+class%3D%22aligncenter+size-full+wp-image-10150%22+%2F%3E%3C%2Fa%3E