ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons said the band has started work on a new album and predicted it may arrive before the end of this year.

He reported that some of the music began life as he worked on his upcoming solo album, Hardware, which will be released on June 4.

“The last laugh has yet to be heard,“ Gibbons told Classic Rock in a recent interview. “While we were working on Hardware, I was sending the roughs that might not have been fitting for that but were certainly fitting for the ZZ thing. I get to tiptoe out of Hardware and back into ZZ, which is underway now.”

On the subject of a release date, he said, “If it were this year, it would be the very late end.”

ZZ Top’s last record, 2012’s La Futura, arrived nine years after its predecessor Mescalero, so a wait of nine or 10 years for their 16th album is no surprise to fans. La Futura took four years to complete as producer Rick Rubin refined the material.

Speaking in 2015, Gibbons noted it was frustrating but added that “Rick said, ‘Let’s keep working on it until it’s right.’ … It can be challenging to listen to the same song for two hours and then say, ‘I want to sing it again.’ Then you say, ‘Would this word be better here? Let me sing it again.’ … I really think Rick is one of the rare individuals who’s willing to let the material develop and reach a logical zenith.”

In the new interview, Gibbons revealed he’d fallen victim to the coronavirus and believed it happened around the time he took part in the Peter Green tribute concert in February 2020.

“We flew to Spain afterwards, and we were eating all this fancy, expensive food, and I said to [my wife] Gilligan, ‘I can’t taste any of this,’” he explained. “When we were finishing Hardware, we had a visitor who was an out-of-town physician. He said, ‘Would you like to take an antibody test?’ - which I did. He said, ‘You may want to consider donating some of your blood, your antibodies are off the chart!’”

 

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