Billy Gibbons announces new “raging rocker” solo album, Hardware, unveils first single

ZZ Top performs a live concert during the Swedish music festival Sweden Rock Festival 2019. Here singer and guitarist Billy Gibbons is seen live on stage.
(Image credit: Gonzales Photo/Terje Dokken/PYMCA-Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

ZZ Top singer and electric guitar legend Billy Gibbons has announced his third solo album, Hardware, for release on June 4 via Concord Records.

Gibbons is backed on the album by guitarist Austin Hanks and former Guns N’ Roses, the Cult and Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum – the same team that supported him on his previous solo effort, 2018’s The Big Bad Blues.

You can check out the first single, West Coast Junkie, below.

Hardware was recorded at Escape Studio near Palm Springs, CA, and produced by Gibbons along with Sorum and Mike Fiorentino, with engineer Chad Shlosser providing additional production. 

In addition to West Coast Junkie, the album boasts 10 Gibbons-Sorum-Fiorentino-Shlosser originals, along with a cover of Hey Baby, Que Paso, originally recorded by the Texas Tornados.

According to Gibbons, the album’s title is a tribute to the late Joe Hardy, the legendary recording engineer who worked with Gibbons and ZZ Top dating back to the mid-1980s. 

Billy Gibbons is releasing a new solo album, Hardware

(Image credit: Concord Records)

Sonically, meanwhile, Hardware was influenced by the “high desert circumstance of its recording.”

Says Gibbons, “The desert settings, replete with shifting sands, cacti and rattlesnakes makes for the kind of backdrop that lends an element of intrigue reflected in the sounds created out there.” 

Standouts on the record, which incorporates elements of “traditional hard rock, neo-metal, country rock, new wave, blues and even surf music,” include Stackin’ Bones, featuring a guest appearance from Larkin Poe, and Desert High, the spoken-word-and-guitar closer.

Summing up Hardware, Gibbons said: “We holed up in the desert for a few weeks in the heat of the summer and that in itself was pretty intense. To let off steam we just ‘let it rock’ and that’s what Hardware is really all about. For the most part, it’s a raging rocker but always mindful of the desert’s implicit mystery.”

Hardware is out on June 4 via Concord Records and available to preorder now.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.