Classic Rock

Matt Sorum honored to work on latest solo album by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons: “Billy’s the coolest there is”

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Mark Maryanovich; Ross Halfin

Matt Sorum played an integral role in the making of ZZ Top frontman and guitarist Billy Gibbons recently released solo album, Hardware, as the ex-Guns N’ Roses member co-wrote, co-produced and played drums on the entire record.

Sorum tells ABC Audio that he’s honored to have had the opportunity to work on the project with Gibbons, and is proud of the album, which they recorded with second guitarist Austin Hanks last year at a studio in California’s High Desert region.

“Billy’s the coolest there is,” Matt declares. “He looks cool, but he is cool.”

Sorum says the project came together after he and Gibbons teamed up early on during the COVID-19 pandemic to work on some new material, and after recording a couple of tracks at Matt’s studio, Billy said suggested they make a full album.

“The pandemic was happening, we were all off the road, so we went up to Pioneertown, California, and we lived at this old ranch, about 140 acres,” Sorum notes. “And it was the coolest thing.”

Matt says the desert setting had a major influence on the songs they wrote and the sound of the album, noting, “I really felt that the record came out great because of that energy around the environment we were in.”

As an example, Sorum shares how one of the tracks, the atmospheric, spoken-word tune “Desert High” came about after he explained to Gibbons that country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons — who was pals with The Rolling StonesKeith Richards — had died at a motel room down the road from the studio.

“So Billy goes, ‘He died in Room 8 and left it all to Keith?'” Sorum recalls. “And I went, ‘That’s the line!’ And we put it in [the song].”

Hardware is available now.

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