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ZZ Top: Getting it right with the "same three guys"

From left, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top perform at the iHeartRadio Theater presented by P.C. Richard & Son in New York on Sept. 10, 2012. AP Photo/iHeartRadio

(CBS News) "It's the same three guys, and as the story goes, the same three chords," Billy Gibbons said while on stage at the intimate iHeartRadio Theater this week in New York.

Gibbons, of course, is referring to ZZ Top and its founding members Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, who have been together for more than 42 years. The same three guys from the start is kind of an anomaly in the music business.

The "same three chords," and many others for that matter, make up "La Futura," ZZ Top's new gritty blues-rock album and the band's first full-length effort in nine years. The 10-track set, released Tuesday, has been a while in the making. For the first time, ZZ Top teamed with famed producer Rick Rubin, who has worked with the likes of Johnny Cash, Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers.


Gibbons is clearly used to the question, "What took so long?"

The answer? Getting it right.

"It has been a while, and I credit some of that with a large measure of patience," he told "We were able to work through the process with Rick Rubin assigning me to produce these things with the bonus of his large and unending measure of patience. He wants it right. If it takes a little longer to get it right, then we'll wait to get it right. Sometimes that amounts to having to do it over and then do it over again."

ZZ Top, though, didn't seem to mind too much.

"What Rick finally came to know is we like playing, so it's not a problem," Gibbons said about the process, which was spaced out in the midst of years of touring. "We just really enjoyed it."

All of the hard work resulted in an album that many say resembles ZZ Tops' earlier sound. The single, "I Gosta Get Paid," is a reworking of the 1990s hip-hop song, "25 Lighters," by DJ DMD, featuring Lil Keke and Fat Pat. Yet it definitely sounds like authentic ZZ Top.

The Texas trio previewed some of the material at the iHeartRadio gig.

Midway through the set, Gibbons shouted, "Are we having a good time?" Then looking out at the crowd of only about 200 people, Gibbons said, "This is a tiny little space. It feels like a bar room. Maybe that's why you all look familiar."

ZZ Top will play for larger audiences while on tour this fall.

"We go down the eastern seaboard back to the Midwest through Texas and then winding up back through California," Gibbons, 62, said.

Over the past few years, Gibbons has juggled both music and acting, playing a recurring character on Fox's TV series, "Bones."

"[Series creator] Hart Hanson's great creation on 'Bones' has really been an exercise in what we do normally," Gibbons said. "I get to play me."

Asked what's in store for the future, Gibbons joked, "We're always acting up in some way."