Rick Rubin already had been working for ZZ Top — the Houston trio recently enlisted Rubin to produce its next album — and now ZZ Top works for Rubin as well. Billboard reported that ZZ Top has signed a new record deal with Rubin's American Recordings, an imprint distributed by Columbia Records (a.k.a. Sony). Manager Eric Stubner, who has handled ZZ Top's affairs for a year and a half, told Billboard the record will return to the hard-boogie sound of hits like "La Grange" that first brought the "Lil' Ol' Band from Texas" to national prominence. ZZ Top recently released its first-ever concert DVD, Live in Texas (recorded last year in Dallas), as part of Stubner's campaign to revitalize the band's image, a campaign that also included an appearance on the American Idol finale in May. "We thought this was a great brand that was kind of dusty," Stubner told Billboard, oblivious to the terrible pun he'd made on the name of one of the trio's members. The article quotes the SoundScan sales figures of ZZ Top's last album, 2003's Mescalero, at 103,000 copies. In related ZZ Top news, Rhino Records will release an expanded version of 1983's Eliminator next month, celebrating the multi-platinum album's 25th anniversary — Christ, has it really been that long? — with several live bonus tracks and a DVD of the album's groundbreaking videos and five songs performed live on the popular U.K. TV show The Tube.
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