If you don't know that Rocks Off is a ZZ Top-friendly place, then you have probably only been reading the blog for the past two or three hours. The two men who run this blog love Billy, Frank, and Dusty with the energy from one thousands suns, and their whole catalog runs through our veins. No, seriously. We melted down Eliminator and Tres Hombres and injected it into our bloodstream.
So when we first got the press release about the newest ZZ Top tribute album and saw the tracklisting, we leapt three feet into the air, shattering our kneecaps on our desk. Bloody mess. But when came to, we were shocked, frightened, turned on, and altogether confused. The prospect of the album even lead us to uncover some of the other great tribute albums in rock history. You do remember that one right?
But we didn't say that this ZZ Top tribute was "great" so much as it's like a busty woman in a Texas flag bikini shoving a greasy brisket sandwich in your mouth and pouring tequila down your throat to wash it down. Which may sound "great" if you are a character in the film Spun.
The album's lead-off cut is by The M.O.B., which is Steven Tyler, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Jonny Lang doing "Sharp Dressed Man." You probably remember seeing pictures from this recording session a few months back in the midst of Tyler's book tour. The song was recorded at Tommy Lee's studio for some reason. Lee didn't sit in though.
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals rip into "Tush," and the feminine snarl of Potter smokes the song silly. It doesn't hurt that the bands shows are filthy affairs with Potter's short skirts fighting for publishing rights, which make their choice of ZZ song apt.
Of course we like Mastodon's "Just Got Paid," which has been lurking for about a year now online. It's tame and measured by Mastodon standards, but it's fun to hear the band dial it down a tad. It doesn't hurt the their new disc, The Hunter, is now lodged in our brain. Wolfmother's "Cheap Sunglasses" isn't as fun as the version Deer Tick does live here and there, but at least it's not as bad the next few cuts.
Jamey Johnson does a faithful "La Grange" bringing the Exile On Main Street grime back to the Tres Hombres killer. Oh, now we see: it's really just "Shake Your Hips" with a spotty Mexican cocaine connection.
Filter takes hold of "Gimme All Your Lovin'"and doesn't know what else to do with but try to turn it into third-rate Nine Inch Nails, or at least second-best Filter. Coheed And Cambria sound like they are just taking the piss out of "Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers" to be cheeky. Get a rope...
There was just no reason for "Rough Boy" to be covered, let alone by Wyclef Fucking Jean. It's biblical in it's tastelessness. Damn dude, pick another song or something, maybe a jaunty Shakira-assisted "Pearl Necklace" would have worked. (That's what she said.)
Daughtry attempting "Waitin' For The Bus / Jesus Just Left Chicago" makes baby Jesus cry, or the next best thing, a baby Lemmy. The producers could have at least brought back Queens Of The Stone Age for this one. They turned in a great "Precious and Grace" a few years back.
We love Duff McKagan - his new memoir is excellent - but his band Loaded doesn't add anything new to "Got Me Under Pressure". It does show his vocal chops off though, and makes us miss the Guns N' Roses songs he sang on.
The "Should I Kill Myself Now Or Later?":
This is gonna get tricky.
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Nickelback's "Legs" is quite possibly the most reverent and catchy song on this disc. OK, calm down. Save for Chad Kroeger's canned meat vocals, it's the most fun song here, because whether you want to believe it or not, Nickelback "gets" that '80s ZZ Top vibe. The cars, the broads, the booze, did we mention broads? That's not an endorsement of Nickelback, but a statement of opinion.
We have had an emotional attachment to ZZ Top from before birth, so that wasn't hard to admit to. But, uh, um, bravo Nickelback.
Where's that cyanide capsule?