Advertisement
Home #Hwoodtimes BILLY  GIBBONS ON A “DESERT HIGH”

BILLY  GIBBONS ON A “DESERT HIGH”

FROM FORTHCOMING HARDWARE ALBUM

“Desert High” is one of the more idiosyncratic and evocative tracks from Hardware, Billy F Gibbons’ third solo album, out June 4 from Concord.  The song, available now, takes the form of a narrative tone poem with mysterious instrumental accompaniment. It clearly derives inspiration from the high desert location of Escape Studios where the Hardware recording sessions happened last summer. The album was recorded by Gibbons along with drummer Matt Sorum and guitarist Austin Hanks.  Both Sorum and Hanks, it should be mentioned, are based in the California desert these days with Gibbons front and center.

Advertisement

The song, which is recited by Gibbons with his gruff, yet lyrical, delivery cites desert imagery that is specific to the area around Joshua Tree, California.   The companion video for “Desert High” finds BFG cruising a dusty desert landscape in a clapped out ’65 Dodge and was directed by Harry Reese and produced by Matt Sorum who also brought “West Coast Junkie,” the album’s previously released track, to the screen.

Link to view “Desert High”: https://youtu.be/7gvdgiZWg18

Advertisement

Apart from scorpions, cacti, snakes, and eagles, the song makes reference to three illustrious musical souls, two of whom are long departed and the other still very much with us.  In the song, Billy says/sings:

“The desert toad takes me for a ride

The Lizard King’s always by my side”

The Lizard King is, of course, the alter ego of the late Jim Morrison of the Doors. It should be noted the venom of Bufo Alvarius, species of desert toad is a powerful natural psychedelic. The Moving Sidewalks, Billy’s pre-ZZ Top band, shared concert bills with the Doors in the late ‘60s as they did with the Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Jeff Beck Group (with vocalist Rod Stewart).

Advertisement

Later, in “Desert High,” Billy recites:

“The Joshua Tree

Advertisement

Gram died in room eight and left it all to Keith

Just a couple of miles from the salt and sea”

Advertisement

“Gram” cited in the song is Gram Parsons, a one-time member of the Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, and Rolling Stones (“Wild Horses”) collaborator. “Keith” is, of course, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.  Parsons did, in fact, die in Room 8 of the Joshua Tree Inn on September 19, 1973. He, of course, survives and took it upon himself to induct Billy along with the rest of ZZ Top into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 2004.  Richards’ friendship with Gibbons dates back many decades to the notorious string of concerts in Hawaii in the early ‘70s when ZZ Top shared the bill with the Stones.  When ZZ Top showed up in Honolulu in their western regalia, Stones’ management thought they had mistakenly booked a country band, but their concerns were immediately assuaged when the ZZ Top took the stage and rocked out.  “Salt” and “sea” is an oblique reference to the Salton Sea, a man-made inland body of brackish water that lies just 45 miles south of Joshua Tree.

Billy commented on the release of “Desert High,” “The song is, perhaps, not typical of Hardware as a totality but it gives an indication of the album’s desiccated sonic sensibility.  The desert is a truly mysterious place and we were privileged to have spent all that time there absorbing the heat, the vibe, and cranking it out.  It’s where the natural background is at its most raw and untamed.  We suspect what we’ve done is something of a reflection or, perhaps, a mirage, that relates.”

Hardware was produced by Billy F Gibbons with Matt Sorum and Mike Fiorentino.  All songs were written by Gibbons, Sorum Fiorentino, and Chad Shlosser except “Hey Baby, Que Paso,” written by Augie Meyers and Bill Sheffied.

Pre-order Hardwarehttps://found.ee/BillyFGibbons-Hardware

Tracklisting

My Lucky Card

She’s On Fire

More-More-More

Shuffle, Step & Slide

Vagabond Man

Spanish Fly

West Coast Junkie

Stackin’ Bones (featuring Larkin Poe)

I Was A Highway

S-G-L-M-B-B-R

Hey Baby, Que Paso

Desert High

Previous articleValerie Plame Continues to Combat Terror
Next articleTop Mistakes Upcoming Artists Make
Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.today, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.