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Pryor's Rocklahoma brings broader mix of music to Memorial Day weekend
Rocklahoma has transformed itself from an '80s hair band marathon under the merciless midsummer sun into a broader mix of classic, current and up-and-coming rockers in the milder climate of Memorial Day weekend.The 2010 headliners at Pryor's "Catch the Fever” festival grounds range from alternative metalists Godsmack, Three Days Grace, Chevelle, Saliva, Sevendust and Fuel, to post-grungers Buckcherry, Theory of a Deadman and Saving Abel, with Cinderella and Tesla thrown in as a nod to the festival's past '80s hair tradition. And then there's that little ol' band of beer drinkers and hell raisers from Texas, ZZ Top, the blues-rock trio that's remained timeless and impervious to style changes and trends for four solid decades. ZZ singer and lead guitarist Billy Gibbons is still a busy man (and still crazy) after all these years, and a hot rodder who's hard to catch up to, but he granted The Oklahoman a recent e-mail interview while on the run between gigs. Q: Billy, when ZZ Top hit the 30-year mark, you celebrated the occasion with the album "XXX.” Now it's 40 years, which is even more significant. Why haven't we seen an "XL”? A: Not a bad idea, but there's a cool record label called XL, and our pal (record producer) Rick Rubin might be confused. Then again .... We'll certainly havta take it under consideration! Q: It's been seven years since the album "Mescalero” was released. Why the long silence? Some long-running bands stop writing new material at a certain point and just rely on their "classics.” I hope you're not one of those? A: We are not "one of those” in light of the fact that we're actively writing and recording new material and working with Rubin in the studio out Malibu way. Our "classics,” Wolf, Muddy, Jimmy Reed ... you know 'em well enough, yet there's always interest in stretching out into new territories. Q: A guitarist from one such band recently told me, "When you announce, 'Here's a song from our new album,' most people get up and go take a pee.” Do you agree with that statement? A: Well, ZZ does best integrating the sets suitably, and most folks seem to think everything fits together, but if you gotta go you gotta ... which brings us to "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers”! Q: To what do you attribute your longevity? You three guys must really like each other, being the longest-running original band lineup in all of rock 'n' roll. A: We just feel right playing with each other. I've been asked what I'd do if I were to make a solo album and, upon reflection, I came up with the idea of recruiting Dusty (Hill) and Frank (Beard) to be the rhythm section, which leads us back to the starting block! Besides, with all this practice under our collective belt, we're starting to get the hang of this.