ZZ Top eager to return to studio

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CLEVELAND -- More sooner than later is the word from ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill regarding a new album from the Texas-based rock act, which is currently between labels.

"As soon as we can write it, put it down and make a deal, but I don't really know how long that takes," Hill tells Billboard.com. "It's always important for us to record, so if we're not performing live, that's what we're doing. We're ready to get something new out."

Hill says there are plenty of ideas for the follow-up to 2003's "Mescalero," but no finished songs and timeframe for their release.

"We've come up with about 50 of them so I hesitate to even bring them up," Hill says. "We have 50 different titles, 50 different song ideas. Through the years we've had hundreds of ideas. We've been writing one song for about 25 years and if we ever did finish it, it would scare me."

There's also talk of a concert DVD, which would be the first for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame act. The band will have plenty of opportunities to record a performance this year, with its concert calendar showing a few European gigs next month followed by a handful of stateside dates. This week, the band is part of the Rock on the Range festival, which takes Saturday (May 19) in Columbus.

Hill says fans can expect a cross-section from ZZ Top's career, including obscure tracks such as "Brown Sugar" and "Francine" as well as the newer song "Mescalero."

This past weekend, the threesome took part in the Las Vegas taping of the second annual VH1 Rock Honors, which is due to air May 24. The band was saluted alongside Genesis, Ozzy Osbourne and Heart. But considering ZZ Top has been together nearly 40 years, what else is there to accomplish? "There's quite a bit," Hill says. "It's just onward and upward. [We] just [want to] keep on making the best music we can, every night we can."
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