ZZ Top just kicked off a late-summer joint tour with Jeff Beck in Montana on Friday, which will be followed by a bunch of fall headlining dates, but some interesting new musical projects also are on the horizon for the Texas trio. Frontman Billy Gibbons tells Billboard that he recently took part in a unique collaboration with French electronic-dance-music artist and producer David Guetta, while revealing that ZZ Top has its eye on a new studio album as well.
Gibbons explains that he visited Guetta and his crew on the Spanish island of Ibiza following ZZ Top's recent European trek because he "wanted to know how they did certain things." In turn, Billy says Guetta encouraged him to bring his guitar along.
"They said, 'Y'know, the only thing missing in dance music is a good guitar player,'" Gibbons recalls. "I said, 'Let's see if we can bring the two together and make it shake.'" The resulting sessions yielded "eight or 10 cuts that, by and large, I would consider completed," according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who adds that the tracks likely will see light of day soon. Guetta has scored hits writing for and/or producing a wide variety of pop and dance stars, including The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Flo Rida, Sia, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.
Meanwhile, Gibbons tells Billboard that ZZ Top is planning to team up again with producer Rick Rubin for a new album that will feature extra songs that didn't make it onto the band's latest studio effort, 2013's La Futura.
Billy explains, "There were 11 tracks released on La Futura that were pulled from a total of 22…So there's probably another CD's worth of pretty righteous stuff. It's very tasty. There's some juicy cuts waiting to be heard."
He adds that he and his band mates are set to head back to the studio whenever Rubin is ready. "[T]hat could be today, that could be 100 days from today," maintains Gibbons. "He's in no hurry and he doesn't expect the artist to get hasty, and I can only respect that willingness to allow a project to germinate and unfold in a logical manner."
As for ZZ Top's just-launched tour with Beck, Gibbons says fans who attend the shows can expect the legendary group and the British guitar master to hit the stage together. One tune that they're planning to play, says Billy, is "16 Tons," a chart-topping 1955 hit for Tennessee Ernie Ford. Gibbons adds that "there's a bunch of crazy fuel for the fire brewing."
ZZ Top's co-headlining tour with Beck runs through a September 13 concert in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The band's full 2014 itinerary is mapped out through a November 2 show in San Antonio.
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