This documentary has been on my watchlist for awhile thanks to my fellow bloggers and I finally got around to watching it. ‘ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band from Texas’ is a documentary that covers the history of the band from the origins in the late 60’s only up to the album ‘Eliminator’ in 1983 which in my opinion was too short, but that is the only fault I have with this documentary.
The story kicks off in how the band came in to being and I love a good origins story. They talk about how Dusty Hill met Frank Beard, then Frank met Billy Gibbons and so on and so forth…I don’t want to spoil it if you don’t know. What makes this documentary so special is that it actually is told from the perspective of the people that were there. I mean it is basically told by Dusty, Billy and Frank along with some key people involved in their success from recording engineers (Robin Hood Brians and Terry Manning) to even a publicists (Howard Bloom). There are a few guest appearances from Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Steve Miller and Billy Bob Thornton which add a nice flavor, but give me the ZZ Top boys all day and every day please.
The band has been together for over 50 years. Think about that for a minute. Can you name a band that has been the same three guys for that long…no, you can’t (Rush is close). The tres hombres had a special musical bond. They weathered the storms together which the worst seemed to be Frank’s drug use which thankfully he worked through.
Speaking of Frank, wow! Is he a hoot and it was so enjoyable to hear his stories. He doesn’t hold back and actually, none of the guys do. What I also loved was how the boys loved their manager, Bill Ham. Bill was critical in their success and without him, there is no telling where they would’ve ended up. Bill passed away in 2016 so sadly wasn’t able to be involved in any of the interviews as I am sure his perspective would’ve been great.
Now they don’t go in to detail on every ZZ Top album or tour, they hit the highlights and the key moments in their success which is why they basically stop at ‘Eliminator’ which was their peak. But the coolest thing about the show was the music. Billy, Dusty and Frank got together and jammed some songs that were interspersed throughout the documentary and ended with them sitting around a table saying their final thoughts. It was basically perfect.
And when the stories were being told, they through in a cartoon interpretation of what happened which I found quite funny. This one in particular talks about a 2 Drink Minimum which you won’t get until you watch.
I could go on and on about how great this thing is, but I won’t as you need to experience it yourself. It was 90 minutes long and the time flew by. I found it fascinating as I didn’t know the full history of the band, but now I do. If you want to see what it takes to make it, this is a good example of how hard work and smarts can truly pay off. That a willingness to take risks, can be just what is needed to take it to the next level and these guys took risks.
I would highly recommend and I give it 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars. ZZ Top were “that little ol’ band from Texas” that concurred the world and became one of the biggest bands in the world. They wound up in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and their music will live on for another 50 years and then some!