All kidding aside, over the recent Michael Stipe and David Letterman beard bro tweets, and the Twitter fan’s mention about who will direct them in the “ZZ Top biopic”; the topic of making one has been stuff of rumor since 2011 when Billy Bob Thornton was named as readying his production company to film a ZZ Top movie called Rough Boys. Thornton and the band members are longtime friends, and Texas neighbors, and to top it off (excuse the pun), Thornton was a member of Tres Hombres, one of the many ZZ Top cover bands. Robert Rodriguez, was rumored to be looking at the Rough Boys script with the possibility of directing.
When the recent ZZ Top Tonnage Tour started in Mobile, Alabama on February 18, 2017 in Mobile, Alabama, the band set out on a trek which will take them around the world and back. By the time the year is finished they will have roamed throughout American cities in the Midwest, Northeast and the South in February and March and they will have taken on Europe with Tonnage Tour: Metric Edition with concerts throughout July, 2017 in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium Switzerland, the Czech Republic, England, Scotland and Ireland. In August, they head to Vancouver and down the West Coast of the United States. They’ll wind their way through the Southwest, the Midwest, the East Coast and head Florida by November 9. Along the way, they’ll make time for 56 performances, and a few extras with the Guns N’ Roses Not in This Lifetime Tour.
The Tonnage Tour celebrates their newest album with Suretone Records. It’s called “ZZ Top’s Live! Greatest Hits from Around the World”. The album has 15 tracks of live music recorded on 3 continents and featuring collaborations with Jeff Beck and James Harman during performances at Wembley Arena in London. Harman, the master of the blues harp, is featured on harmonica in “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and “Waitin’ for the Bus”. Beck, legendary guitarist, lets loose with a heavy rock “Sixteen Tons”. Tennessee Ernie Ford made it a #1 hit, and Beck’s version inspired the tour’s title.
ZZ Top has had the same lineup for more than 45 years since they formed in Texas. Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard have recorded 15 albums, selling more than 30 million United States units… not to mention much more international tour revenue. Their fans have returned year after year to hear their top hits. “Sharp Dressed Man”, “Legs”, “Tush” and “La Grange” are timeless favorites.
The ZZ Top Biopic:
What will it be about?
It’s not gonna be easy to capture the best of ZZ Top in a biopic. They’ve been doing what they do for a very long time. These guys rarely settle in once place for long. So why not capitalize on Gibbons description of their Tonnage Tour, and make a “loud and live” movie based on the newly released album? “ZZ Top’s Live! Greatest Hits from Around the World” gives us an outline. The movie would include performances of all their own favorite tunes, with behind the scenes footage about their experiences getting from venue to venue. We’ve seen ZZ Top onstage… who doesn’t want to know more about the men behind the beards?
Who will star in the movie?
There are plenty of ZZ Top tribute bands out there. The thing is… it’s much more than just wearing long beards, wearing cheap sunglasses and playing loud. ZZ Top has a distinctive sound. Listen carefully to recordings and it’s clear that underneath the hair, the clothes and the volume, Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill have two distinctively pitched vocal ranges…one a tenor, the other a baritone…but both rockin’ raspy. Frank Beard’s drumming style is complex…lots of cross rhythms along with driving beat. They play their hits in selected keys. The on-stage costumes and choreography are iconic, and require the slim, long and lanky arms and legs which characterize Gibbons and Hill’s movements. Anyone cast to portray these guys will not only need to sound the part, they’ll have to pull off their one-of-a-kind look, too.
Here’s one unidentified guy from The Voice blind auditions who has the voice and the physicality to pull it off:
Here’s the deal…
Wouldn’t it be great to bring all the tribute bands together to audition for the movie? To ramp up the competition, all the bands would have to play the same songs. Four rounds of competition:
- Round 1= La Grange
- Round 2= Legs
- Round 3= Tush
- Round 4= Sharp Dressed Man
No blind auditions here, and stiff competition. They could perform for The Voice judges, and let the audience (filled with ZZ Tops fans of course) and the judges vote for the best two bands. Having ZZ Top select the final winner would be the biggest get of all… loud and fun, too.
Some Tribute Bands to Invite to the Audition:
- Trez Hombrez
- Tres Hombres: Billy Bob Thornton
- Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers
- ZZ Locos
- ZZ Tops
(The number one ZZ Top tribute band in the UK)
Aw, hell… why not just ask ZZ Top to portray themselves? Suppose it wouldn’t be a biopic then… it would be a documentary.
Who would direct?
Go back to the rumor… ask Director Robert Rodriguez and Producer Billy Bob Thornton….hands down the best choices.