By now, just about every Aerosmith fan on the planet has seen the video of Steven Tyler taking his now-infamous dive off the catwalk in Sturgis, S.D. Well, maybe “dive” is not the right word, since that sounds more like an intentional act, and at 61 years of age, nobody in their right mind is diving off of a catwalk like that!
While Tyler is on the mend and the rest of the “bad boys” ponder their future, the Texas trio we’ve known for some forty years as ZZ Top keeps on rocking. Either the Tres Hombres are a luckier lot than their bad boy brethren, or perhaps they have just been a bit more sensible through the years and taken better care of themselves. I did not manage to uncover any dirt on ZZ Top regarding drug or alcohol abuse, unlike so many of their contemporaries.
How lots of money, fame and millions of adoring fans leads to substance abuse is something that has always stymied me. Then again, I’m not a rock star, and with alcohol and substance abuse so pervasive in our society, perhaps it’s not as hard to understand as I have always thought. With all those things come great temptations that regular folks can only dream about. The ZZ Top guys deserve credit for keeping their heads on straight and feet on the ground. On the other hand, perhaps it’s all about extraordinary discretion and very loyal friends and associates. I prefer to believe the former, however.
Although it is probably a result of Steven Tyler’s unfortunate accident, the spotlight is shining a bit brighter on ZZ Top as they continue to tour, choosing to showcase their enduring material in a more intimate settings by booking smaller venues, which is an experience the group seems to be enjoying.
Still, one gets the feeling that ZZ Top’s days in front of the larger crowds at stadiums and amphitheaters is not over. Recent comments from guitarist Billy Gibbons reveals the group’s disappointment about the cancellation of the tour with Aerosmith, something they had always wanted to do. “The A to ZZ Tour,” as he put it. Might we see a second more successful version of that tour some day?
The recent (and inevitable) rumors about the breakup for Aerosmith, Steven Tyler’s sobriety or simply bickering within the band does not seem to concern Billy Gibbons all that much.
“The good news is they’ll rebound and make a big bounce. Their show is tight as a drum, so all they need to do is get back after it,” according to Gibbons. It’s likely that a lot of Aerosmith fans are hoping that he is right.
Along with the current tour, ZZ Top is planning to spend some time in the studio soon. If that were not enough for a bunch of 60-year-old dudes, they are also moonlighting as fashion models for John Varvatos’ fall fashion campaign. When asked how that came to pass, Gibbons seems as mystified as anyone.
“I don’t know. We always considered ourselves immune to fashion. He’s got a real talent, and we were quite flattered that he thought our rather unusual style was a complement to his great line,” Gibbons says.
Whatever the circumstances, you have to admit, they do look pretty cool.