This August will see long time music legends and mutual admirers, ZZ Top and Jeff Beck on tour together for the first time. The tour will run for five weeks with a stop at the iconic Greek Theatre on August 13.
Formatted with musical synergy in mind, stops along the touring route will offer fans a full Jeff Beck set, followed by a full ZZ Top set, with a finale that joins the English fret master with the Texas rockers for a collaboration each night of the tour.
ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, speaking on behalf of band mates Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, noted that Beck has long been a source of musical inspiration from the time when Beck played in the Yardbirds, the seminal hard blues-based Britrock band. Gibbons commented, “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.”
Likewise, Beck has been an enduring fan of ZZ Top, from even before their ascendance in popularity in the 70s and 80s. He remarked, “Ever since Eliminator I thought it would be great to play with ZZ Top,” and went on to declare Billy Gibbons, “The Professor of Grunge.”
This tour is not the first live collaboration between the two camps. Gibbons joined Jeff Beck and his band on stage at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 at New York's Madison Square Garden, where they performed The Jimi Hendrix Experience's “Foxy Lady” and ZZ Top's hit “Rough Boy” together. The following year Jeff Beck joined ZZ Top in Lucca, Italy for an extended rendition of the band's signature piece “La Grange.” This, however, marks the first time Jeff Beck and ZZ Top will have done any sort of extensive touring together.
ZZ Top, formed in the Houston area of Texas in 1969, became a huge national touring act in the 70s and darlings of MTV in the 80s, going on to sell tens of millions of records. Their unique hybrid of dirty blues, hard rock, incorporating new sounds and technology, earned them induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones doing the honors.
Jeff Beck, a native of London and two-time Rock And Roll Hall of Famer (with The Yardbirds in 1992, and on his own in 2009), helped set the template in the 60s for the solo-heavy, feedback-laden, rock guitar hero archetype. He formed the Jeff Beck Group by the end of that decade with then-unknown vocalist Rod Stewart, eventually going solo, with forays into fusion and beyond in the mid-70s. Beck, like ZZ Top, has continually incorporated new sounds and technologies into his work throughout his half-century long career. Lately, Beck has been working on a new studio album, his first since the 2010 release of the critically acclaimed Emotion & Commotion, which earned him two Grammy Awards and the highest charting debut in his career.