ZZ TOP – Mescalero

ZZ TOP - Mescalero


Release date: September 8, 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Most of nowadays’ pop and rock acts rely to a great extent on the looks of the band members to sell records and acquire fame. In a rather obscure way, would I argue that looks also play a part in the rise of ZZ Top during the ’70s and ’80s. The long beards (with drummer Frank Beard being the only one who does not sport a full-size one), the sunglasses, and the hot rod and Harley image has been a big part of the marketing and advertising strategy during the band’s possible peak of popularity with albums like “Eliminator” and hits like “Gimme All Your Lovin’”, “Legs” and “Tush”.

Still I’d never call the Top a commercial band. Although they definitely hung on to the trend of moving from a blues-based approach during the ’70s to including more electronic and “pop-ish” elements during the ’80s before returning to a more simplistic approach in the ’90s, they have throughout their entire career had a distinct sound centered around the song writing of main guitarist/singer Billy F. Gibbons, and the three-piece format consisting of him, bassist/singer Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard. This lineup has remained stable for decades now, impressive indeed. Maybe it’s the fact that neither Gibbons nor Hill can say that they can’t stand the look of each other’s faces (as they cannot see the faces because of the beards and sunglasses), or eventually that they usually slip free of charges when (“CNN reports that a member of the rock group ZZ TOP was spotted stealing a Mercedes from Sharon Stone’s villa in LA. He had a long beard and huge sunglasses”) as there are always two suspects. This also foes for things like the thrashing of hotel rooms, sexual assaults of female fans, robbing of tour managers and similar pop star activities.

Anyway. The band has released (yet) another new album, and it rocks. Yep, I have to admit that this album really knocked me out – the songs are fresh, catchy, and often very diverse stylistically so you don’t get bored although the album features no less than 16 tracks. You’ve got standard ZZ boogie-rock tunes (“Two ways…”, “Crunchy“, “Alley-Gator“, “Piece“), standard ZZ boogie-rock with added sexual and/or Latino elements (“Mescalero“, “Buck Nekkid“), VERY spaghetti-Clint Eastwood-in his heydays-sombrero-tortilla chips Latino swing (“Goin’ so Good“, “Que Lastima” – with Spanish lyrics!), and what I would call country (What Would You Do, and the apply titled Liquor). “What Would…” even comes with true Alan Jackson-voice modulator effects, very gringos indeed. The band draws out the core elements of the various genres while always remaining somewhat true to the ZZ-”sound”.

Billy Gibbons’ voice and guitar sounds as awesome as always here, whatever style he’s playing, and his trademark dime-as-pick pinched harmonics squeals out just as they should. His guitar sound is truly unique (and if you’ve seen some of his guitars you’d understand why…). If Mr. Gibbons had the same taste in girls as in guitars both Roseanne Barr and Ricki Lake (not to forget anyone of the latter’s female guests) would be involved in a damping hot beyond freaky beard-and-sunglass-y bigamistic love-affair (not to say stove-affair, in Mrs. Barr’s case) with the ZZ main man by now. The rhythm section lays down a groove seldom heard, and the band as a unit impresses on this record. “Stackin’ Paper” and “What It Is Kid” are great examples on this.

There are not many letdowns on this album, with “Dusted” being the only song I really don’t like very much, and “Punk Ass…” also has some rap-ish elements in the verses and middle-eight which don’t attract me. The almost Bettencourt/Cherone kind of chorus in the latter is good, though, but still maybe those two tunes could be skipped. Still, the band has managed to make (out) a record which I feel may be their best since “Antenna”, and a true favorite when it comes to boogie’ing out in 2003. Enjoy…

  1. Mescalero
  2. Two Ways to Play
  3. Alley-gator
  4. Buck Nekkid
  5. Goin’ So Good
  6. Me So Stupid
  7. Piece
  8. Punk Ass Boyfriend
  9. Stackin’ Paper
  10. What Would You Do
  11. What it is Kid
  12. Que Lastima
  13. Tramp
  14. Crunchy
  15. Dusted
  16. Liquor


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.