RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Neil Daniels – Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers: A ZZ Top Guide
Soundcheck Books


Rating: C+

While I am a fan of author Neil Daniels, his latest book, Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers: A Guide to ZZ Top, ends up in the middle of the pack when comparing the sum total of his works. It’s a good read, and there is not a lot in the marketplace on ZZ Top, so that makes it interesting. 

This book reads as a quick overview of each of ZZ’s albums, and is filled with interesting facts and quotes the author found from interviews that other people have done with the band, including some of my very own. 

Sure, it’s cool to see him reference my name in a book, and don’t get me wrong, this is an okay read.  It’s just…how do I put this…hmm…I just want more meat and less potatoes. 

ZZ Top is such an iconic band that each chapter could have been much longer and more in-depth.  What’s there is good; it is just that more substance is needed to take this up a notch. 

I understand this is a ‘guide’ to the band, so that is fair.  The later chapters on the ‘this’ and the ‘that’ about the band fit into a guide setting well. 

It would have been out of the park if Neil would have done a little more work on the guts of the book, and less on the guide.  It’s kinda like when you take the ribs off the smoker too soon…the flavor is there but it’s not quite as good as the last batch.

The book’s foreword is from rock scribe Steven Rosen.  Rosen tells a tale of meeting Billy Gibbons and hanging with him back in the day.  This part of the book is absolutely fantastic. 

Neil had award winning rock scribe Martin Popoff come on board for the afterword and sum up ZZ’s music that matters most to him, which, in usual Popoff manner, he leaves me scratching my head and wondering what he missed on Tres Hombres! 

At the end of the day, almost any ZZ Top fan will like this book.  It’s a fine effort, as it includes all of what must be included and more.  However, in my opinion this effort could have used more interviews and personal insights.

By Jeb Wright