Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rest in Peace Frank Braun

Very sad to hear of the recent passing of Frank Braun. He was a well known ZZ Top fan in Europe who had a special relationship with the band and especially Billy. Frank has been invited on stage at shows before and the group always made a point to spend time with him when they were touring.

I had a few exchanges of correspondence with Frank in the past and he was always very kind and fun to speak with. He spoke highly of this blog which meant a lot to me. He also gave me the inside scoop about the impending release date news of "La Futura" about a week before it was officially announced which I felt truly reflected his passion both for the band and for fans who loved ZZ almost as much as he did.

Below is a very nice memorial composed by P. Anthony. I wish Frank all the best in his next life.

Paul Anthony's photo.

Monday, April 14, 2014

ZZ Top and Jeff Beck

Finally, a co-tour with ZZ that I can support. Great news to see these guys doing a tour together, and both playing full sets and apparently joining together to jam a little at the end. Should be fantastic stuff.

My friend in the Northeast has already committed to a show in Massachusetts and I'm debating about trying to see a few shows as well. So far the 2014 shows have been relatively low key without too many set list surprises (although "Catfish Blues" is a nice addition). Maybe Jeff Beck, who Billy admires particularly, will inspire the band to freshen it up a little for the co-tour.

I have yet to see any live recordings from this year aside from the Youtube clips and all that. If anybody has a complete recording of a show from this year please let me know.

ZZ will hit Europe soon where they continue to have an amazing following. I wonder how well "La Futura" sold across the pond....

Now that I think about it "Drive By Lover" would be a cool song to hear live...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Old and New

Here is a fantastic image recently posted on Facebook. Photo credit goes to T. Dukes.

"And the Wheel Rolls On" for ZZ per Mr. Plant's prophetic words. Coming to a place near you, the ZZ Tops are again hitting the road hard. If the past few years have been an indication of what lies ahead than a continually updated set list is indeed something to look forward to.

I only managed to catch ZZ one time last year, a show near Richmond in May. I failed to blog at the time that I got to speak to Elwood for about 10 minutes or so prior to show time. When I commented how great the current set list was, he replied "its all Frank. He said they had to play some different numbers". So thanks goes to Rube and lets hope he's still voicing his opinion.

Hopefully I'll be able to catch them 2 or 3 times this year, we'll see what the clock allows...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hi Ho Rodeo

No ZZ at the Houston Rodeo 2014.

But you can always go see REO Speedwagon or Robin Thicke.

Just kidding. Horrible, horrible music coming from those people.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Letter to a Friend

(.. ....,)

Great to hear from you. Happy New Years as well. Yes 2013 proved to be very busy and 2014 looks to be more of the same. Thanks for the kind words regarding the web site - I miss sharing my thoughts and keeping fully up to speed on all things ZZ.

The full Rodeo lineup is set to be announced in a few days so I'm hoping they will play it this year. If so I'll make the trek to Houston. Outside of that I haven't kept up too much on announced tour dates. I did see them last spring and will make sure to see them this year if they come round.

It would be nice to hear La Futura part two but someone's gotta get off their duff to make it happen. Rubin is too busy spreading himself too thin working with everyone under the sun and I don't believe Billy and Rubin parted the best of ways. Seems Billy got frustrated at Rubin for the delays but then Billy's got no excuse - he never forces himself into the studio and hunkers down either.

I do believe Billy when he cites tons of solo recordings but its all just bits and pieces in varying states of completion. He gets off on floating from project to project, city to city and is unwilling to put in the time and effort it takes to make an album anymore. Just look at all the side projects he has picked up recently - playing with the Moving Sidewalks, playing a solo gig, recording on all these albums of other artists - I think he's afraid he'll rot if he doesn't keep moving. Almost like Mick Jagger. Remember in his earlier 30's he just floated around in Europe and Africa for three years doing nothing - I think he'd go crazy if he tried that now.

Personally I don't see how Dusty and Frank have the will to keep going. There is a lot of love there but no break since 2006 is crazy. Frank in particular looks pretty rough - he has put on weight and chain smokes continually. He quit smoking in the 80's but has picked it back up hard. I don't like to think about this aspect but its very real that any day people like Jimmy Page, Charlie Watts, Frank, etc. could meet their maker.

Jagger summed it up well - when asked how he felt about getting old he replied "it beats the alternative". What else is there to do but rock right?

I think Futura will very likely be the last release from ZZ while they are active. There could be another release down the road after they fold for whatever reason but its really all up to Billy and he's busy chasing the tumbleweeds.

Write back and take care


Monday, July 22, 2013

Churnin' and Burnin'

Well, let it be said that 2013 was not the most active year for the Antenna Head blog. I'm still here, and I hope the readers are still out there. I apologize for the lack of updates, posts and such. The family has grown this year and with that responsibilities have grown as well. I have met many friends through ZZ Top, the blog and trading and just want to remind everyone what a great time I have had getting to know you.

2013 has proven to be a great year for ZZ. Highlights include the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee which featured an incredible set list and the longest show they have played in years, and many excellent festival performances in Europe (one show even included the elusive double encore). If you didn't catch ZZ in the spring (or found the sound sucked (you know who you are)) then definitely see them when they return to the States. They've got gigs all the way into November so catch the fever. You never know, maybe next year will finally be a year off for the band.

My intentions are to continue enjoying spending time with the little ones, with the hope of the blog coming back to the fore late in the year or early 2014. If anyone wants to chat just email or call...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

ZZ Top bringing it back / Review of Memphis show

While I will be attempting to write a more comprehensive review of the Crewe, VA show I attended this past Friday evening, let it be said that it was the most refreshing concert I've seen from the band in a long time. Four songs from Futura (they only ever played two from Mescalero!) as well as the classics "Precious and Grace" and "Nasty Dogs", combined with the debut of Certified Blues (which was awesome by the way and featured some great guitar work from Billy) makes this THE year to see the Top. If you have been putting it off because of money or the set list, now is the time to try to make it happen.

They played the full 20 song set. Interesting Billy spoke very little, with none of the bullshit stories that were recycled with such regularity. Almost like the old days, when the band came to play rather than entertain. Fantastic!


Straight from THE MAN in Alabama, Mr. Roadie himself:

We got to Memphis last night around 6 and it had been raining for days.  The Beale St Festival is actually at Tom Lee Park on the banks of the Miss River.  It was Woodstock part 2.  Dreadfully muddy and wet.  My boots were in ankle deep in mud everywhere I stepped.  There were a lot of bands that drew the younger crowd(Black Keys, Government Mule and Rap).  ZZ Top was scheduled to hit the stage at 10:45 so we went over and caught the Dwight Yoakam show which was very good.  Dwight finished up so he could get over to see ZZ Top.  They are all very good friends.

We snaked our way through the crowd and up to the front row shortly before Government Mule hit the stage.  Their set didn't run over time allotment but due to the sloppy weather it took a long time to clear the stage after their set and ZZ didn't begin until shortly after 11.  As I told you earlier, the set list almost mirrored (the) recent blog (entry) with the exception of Blue Jean Blues substituted for Fool For Your Stockings.  I have noticed over the last few years that each tour holds less and less "Stuff" on stage.  Gone are the usual props such as Expandora Dog, the animal skin on the floor and many other noticeable items.  I understand that they can't use full props at a music festival, but last night in Memphis was naked on stage.  There were no tumbling dice, no fake speakers, and no large light brite behind Frank.  There was simply a 7ft X 7ft. light brite on either side of Dusty and Billy with 2 small amps stacked on top of each other that added nothing but decor.  Their chrome microphones didn't even light up at all.  It was bare naked but they made up for it with a heck of a show.

The new set list is great for us that know more about the band than the Eliminator hits, but I could hear a lot of "What is that song?" "Never heard these songs" in the crowd.  The opening is still a modified version of The Girl".  She now  says "Please welcome for your rocking pleasure, that little ole band from Texas, ZZ TOP!" instead of ZZ TOPS which I have noticed.  Immediately your hear just a drum hit by Frank then silence for a second, then another hit, then silence, then the lights come on and Billy and Dusty walk out to "Precious and Grace".  I LOVED the addition of "Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings".  They have new deep purple axes that you can see on the latest Dunlop rig rundown that was recently posted on Youtube.

Since they recorded so much music at Ardent studio in Memphis, they really love playing there and Billy called Memphis their second home last night.  He said they had a place on Union Avenue for 18 years and they loved this town.  Of all the new tracks played last night, "Gotsta Get Paid" was the best in my opinion.  They really have a comfort level with this song now and it shows.