Tres Hombres

Discovering why ZZ Top is "critic-proof"

Well said. And let's not forget that there's always a place for the blues in hard times, and for rock and roll to help shake the pain and fear away for a few hours. That's why there's room for ZZ Top tickets in the overtaxed budgets of about 20,000 of their fellow Texans Friday night.

Oh, and about that new album, the one reportedly produced by longtime fan Rick Rubin and featuring collaborations with young acolytes like the Black Keys. (Yes, ZZ Top still does make new albums — occasionally.)

"They've been writing songs and demo-ing some stuff but have not, as yet, gotten into the studio to record, and I don't see that happening until very late this year, with a new album out sometime in 2010," says ZZ Top's longtime publicist Bob Merlis. "Gibbons, as usual, has been screwing around with new gear, etc., but the tour schedule has precluded getting down to biz in terms of getting the album underway."

No rush, guys. At this point, ZZ Top is as much of a constant around here as heat in the summertime or good greasy Mexican food. But even though it seems like they've always been around, and always will be, by no means is that an invitation to ever take them for granted. CHRIS GRAY

ZZ Top and Aerosmith play at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 17, at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Dr., The Woodlands, 281-363-3300 or

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