On Thursday, Sept. 21, one of the oldest living rock bands will come through Indianapolis to play a show at Clowes Memorial Hall. They’ll be hard to miss, as most will recognize them for their iconic, bearded faces.
When they first formed as a band back in 1969, ZZ Top consisted of guitarist Billy Gibbons, organist Lanier Greig, bassist Billy Ethridge, and drummer Dan Mitchell. Within the same year they lost both Ethridge and Mitchell, and gained Frank Beard and Dusty Hill as replacements. Since then, the group has remained a consistent trio, and after more than 40 years of playing together, and are known for being one of the longest-running major rock bands with original members intact.
After releasing their first album, titled, “ZZ Top’s First Album” in 1971, the Texas-based rock group took awhile to pick up steam. After signing with a London-based record company and playing many almost-empty shows, they switched up their sound in 1973 with the release of “Tres Hombres,” which brought ZZ Top their first Top Ten record.
Back in the beginning of their career, ZZ Top played mostly blues-inspired rock. Later on, they continued to experiment with other genres such as new wave, punk-rock, and dance-rock. During the 1980’s, they began to change their sound with the addition of synthesizers, during which they gravitated more toward dance-rock. In 1994, ZZ Top returned to their guitar-driven sound with the release of their album, “Antenna.” In 2004, the band reached critical acclaim and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Keith Richards.
The “little ol’ band from Texas” maintains their sense of humor. Double entendres, pop culture references, and a slew of innuendos can be found in their lyrics. They often sing about fast cars, girls, sharp clothes, and TV dinners.
It’s probably worth it to take the chance to see them while you can, as it’s unlikely the band will last another 40 years.