ZZ Top have released a hefty update on the progress of their long-awaited new album courtesy of an in-person interview that Billy Gibbons gave recently to David Fricke from Rolling Stone.

Gibbons says that “presently, it would be safe to say that spring of the year 2012” looks like a probable moment when we’ll finally be able to get our hands on the new album. Producer Rick Rubin has brought what Gibbons describes as “latitude” to the sessions that made the pacing neither “hurried” or “rushed.”

The relaxed approach has given the Texas trio a chance to really consider the work they’re putting down in the studio. “We consider it a big bonus, the luxury of extra time. [You] go back and check it out and sure enough…you turn that sudden right corner that was unexpected and you say ‘wait a minute, let’s keep this extra piece.”

Cutting the tracks using Rubin’s trademark tactic of recording live in the studio added in some “happy accidents,” with Gibbons citing unexpected “not planned” chord changes as an example of the spontaneous moments that they’ve captured with Rubin as their spiritual guide.

As far as the sound of the songs, Gibbons says that incessant touring “hasn’t allowed us time to do much else than plug straight into an amp and play it as a trio.” That certainly sounds like a ZZ Top album that will go back to their early-career basics, with a raw and unfiltered sound. We can’t wait to hear it.

In other urgent rock news, ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard, the only beard-free member of the group, recently nabbed the number five slot on our list of the Top Ten Rock Mustaches.

Watch The Rolling Stone Interview With Billy Gibbons