ZZ Top- Fandango- Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard

“The first time we played there, the roof blew off!” drawls ZZ Top singer/guitarist Billy Gibbons, recalling the New Orleans nightclub The Warehouse, scene of the live side of their April 1975 album Fandango!. “A hurricane came through New Orleans and tore the roof off of the place.”
“Yeah, we didn’t do it,” chuckled ZZ Top bass player/rave up singer Dusty Hill, who passed away Summer 2021.But each time we played The Warehouse, the crowds got more and more wild.”

“For Christmas one year we got The Warehouse promoter Don Fox of Beaver Productions a three-legged beaver that got loose in the club,” drawled ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard, grinning. “And the beaver ate the stage, the stage collapsed, and The Warehouse closed forever. So I guess we’re responsible for that.”

From this distant vantage point it is entirely understandable why ZZ Top manager/producer Bill Ham felt that, to capitalize on the Cinderella success of the Texas trio’s sudden unlikely breakthrough at Top 40 radio with “Lagrange” from their excellent 1973 third album, Tres Hombres, the band needed to play on as many stages as Ham could book while writing, recording, and releasing a new album as quickly as humanly possible, both in order to maintain the newly-minted momentum. The only problem, of course, is that those two endeavors are mutually exclusive: touring is communal, public, and (if you’re popular ) non-stop, whereas writing and recording take downtime, solitude, and focus on songcraft. Thus ZZ Top’s fourth album Fandango, released in April 1975, is half live in concert and half recorded in the studio. One of our best music writers, Stephen Thomas Erlewine on AllMusic.com, says of Fandango’s live side (quote) “…these are really good live cuts…”, but at least with the original mixes and mastering, I beg to differ. Apparently so did radio programmers nationwide, because nobody played these on the radio. Moreover, in my almost fifty years on the air in Dallas/ Ft. Worth, Memphis, New England, and the Midwest, I don’t ever recall a single request for anything off the live side. However, the studio side of Fandango  contains songs and recordings which are some of ZZ Top’s most timeless material, including “Heard It on the X”, the achingly slow tempo of “Blue Jean Blues”, the riff rocker “Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings”, and the Dusty Hill ornery shouter “Tush”. In this classic rock interview  of Fandango, my guests Billy, Dusty, and Frank in “That Little Ol’ Band from Texas” were tellin’ tall tales here In the Studio  long before Netflix or Amazon Prime were ever invented! –Redbeard