- It is alleged that a Texas fellow by the name of Linden Hudson had a very important creative involvement in the incredibly famous ZZ Top “Eliminator” album. This album contained hit songs like “Sharp Dressed Man”, “Legs”, “Under Pressure”, “Dirty Dog” and “Give Me All Your Lovin”. The album was chosen by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the greatest albums of all time. Sadly, this creative involvement that Mr Hudson had with the “Eliminator” album turned out to be the most depressing experience of his life. What was done to Linden Hudson by the band, and it’s management, was just wrong. The story starts like this: CLASSICBANDS.COM said: “According to former roadie David Blayney in his book SHARP DRESSED MEN: sound engineer Linden Hudson co-wrote much of the material on the ELIMINATOR album.”
- It was 1983 and Linden Hudson had just spent a year working with Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top Guitarist) on pre-production and writing sessions for the spectacular “Eliminator” album. Quote: by David Blayney (15 years as ZZ Tops stage manager), from his book SHARP DRESSED MEN: “Linden Hudson in a fair world should have had his name all over ELIMINATOR and gotten the just compensation he deserved. Instead he got ostracized” (end quote). Linden wasn’t on the payroll for his work on “Eliminator” because Billy Gibbons’ manager wouldn’t allow outsiders into the band’s creative processes. However, guitarist Billy Gibbons needed technical and musical help for this next album, and so, he made promises to Linden about rewards down the road. “I need your help” Gibbons said. Linden Hudson believed Billy ‘s promises and he worked his ass off on the ”Eliminator” album project. Quote: by David Blayney, from his book SHARP DRESSED MEN: “Linden found himself in the position of being Billy’s (ZZ TOP’S guitarist) closest collaborator on “Eliminator”. In fact, he wound up spending more time on the album than anybody except Billy. While the two of them spent day after day in the studio, they were mostly alone with the equipment and the ideas.” (end quote).
Upon it’s release, ”Eliminator” went straight to the top and quickly became one of the hottest record albums on planet earth. But, here’s the painful part: Linden Hudson received absolutely no credit, or anything for that matter, for his work and creativity. Incredibly, his name appeared nowhere on the “Eliminator” album. Quote: by David Blayney (former ZZ Top stage manager) in his book SHARP DRESSED MEN: “I find it hard to believe that the boys intentionally set out to do a number on Linden, but sometimes you tend to forget where you came from. It’s very easy to get both greedy and self-serving in “show bidness” (end quote). When ZZ Top’s management realized the extent of Linden’s involvement in the “Eliminator” album they were allegedly VERY freaked out. Management immediately denied his involvement. Sadly, in the midst of management’s anger and confusion, Billy Gibbons simply turned his back on Linden Hudson. It was the easy way out for Gibbons. It’s what he chose to do. It’s Billy. Billy did absolutely nothing to help his friend get credit or monies for his role in “Eliminator”. Linden’s skills and help had been so important to Mr Gibbons, but suddenly that meant nothing. Make no mistake, Gibbons was the star of the show and he could have helped Linden. Linden Hudson will never forget how that felt. ZZ Top management wanted to make him disappear and that’s what happened. Now, thirty years later, Linden Hudson is just trying, the best he can, to make the TRUE story heard (above 30 years of relentless bullshit). To this day most people respond with ”Linden who”? Again, what happened was just wrong. In recent years, Linden’s grown-up son says “hey dad, just get over it”. But, it’s easier said than done.
- Upon Linden’s exile, he found himself with only one hope. For one of the songs on the “Eliminator” album, a song titled “Thug”, it seemed like a clear cut matter. Linden had created that song, one hundred percent, top to bottom, and actually OWNED THE COPYRIGHT. But, surprise, ZZ Top released “Thug” on the “Eliminator” album, claimed full writer’s credits, and the band’s management kept the sizeable proceeds. At this point Linden had no choice but to spend three miserable years suing ZZ Top for his “Thug” royalties. Linden’s financial settlement was greatly diminished by lawyer fees, legal expenses and greed. It was a hard time for Linden as he had a newborn son and was struggling to pay the bills. He was left deeply depressed over the matter, and remains so to this day.
-TVTROPES.ORG (TV TROPES) said: “for all intents and purposes, Eliminator is a Billy (Gibbons) solo album with contributions by pre-production engineer Linden Hudson, who contributed drum machine programming and keyboard sequencing, and was alleged to have co-written most of the material, to the point that the band got into a legal conflict that was settled with him being granted the copyright to “Thug”. (end quote) (Footnote to this quote: Linden wasn’t granted the copyright to “Thug”, he already owned it).
Yes, Billy Gibbons found a strange way to treat a guy who was allegedly so important in the development of THE most successful record album that ZZ Top ever made. As a result of this unbelievable disregard, Linden lost out on something glorious, something that could have benefitted him and his son for decades. It could have totally helped his career as well. Linden’s friends and family would tell you that he was emotionally crushed as a result. For decades, whenever an ”Eliminator” song popped up on the radio Linden would cringe and change the station. But, the sales and popularity of “Eliminator” were a dream come true for Mr Billy Gibbons. Gibbons moved up in the food chain as a result of “Eliminator”. Billy and Linden haven’t spoken for decades, but Linden’s message to Billy Gibbons is: “you’re welcome Billy, WTF! Do you feel ok about it all Billy? Never think about it do you Billy?”
- Let’s take a moment to further describe the level of success of the “Eliminator” album. QUOTE: Rolling Stone Magazine stated: “With 1983′s Eliminator, ZZ Top made a quantum leap from best-kept secret to massive stardom” (end quote). “Eliminator” was, by far, ZZ Top’s biggest selling album. In fact, it was one of THE biggest musical releases of ALL time (issued 23 times). It’s sales are listed as “DIAMOND”, the ONLY album by ZZ Top to reach that status. ”Diamond” status starts at platinum times ten (10 million units sold as a starting point, huge). The album was released on the huge Warner Brothers label, and was their biggest seller for a long period. And, get this, the “Eliminator” album was on the album charts for one-hundred-fifty-seven weeks. This monster album, alone, sold HALF of ALL the records that ZZ Top ever sold in their entire career (out of their career total of 15 albums). ”Eliminator” was nominated for a Grammy, and a Juno award (for best international album of the year). QUOTE: CBS News said (on June 2013, during the 30th Anniversary of the album release): “1983′s Eliminator, a pivotal work that elevated the band to superstardom ( end quote). Linden Hudson was a big part of this creation, but he was swept under the rug. Linden’s name remains a taboo subject with ZZ Top and it’s management TO THIS DAY. They do not want the world to know who he is. It’s just a fact. Don’t ask.
- When Linden filed the lawsuit for his song “Thug”, the response of ZZ Top management toward him was one of pure anger, like a response from the rich and powerful “Oz”. How dare a small and insignificant cockroach tread in the vicinity of the “great ones”. Linden speculates (simple deduction) that ZZ management didn’t even know that he had actually written that song (or probably co-written others). It’s probable that only Billy Gibbons knew that and did not have the nerve to tell management the truth. And, since people in music circles are lax about business matters, Billy Gibbons himself probably had no idea that Linden actually had a copyright on ”Thug”. Therefore, Billy G might have (possibly) almost swallowed his beard when Linden revealed his “Thug” copyright to ZZ Top’s lawyers, which is a mental image that brings a brief smile to Linden’s face. Anyway, after Hudson’s ”Thug” lawsuit went public, via Rolling Stone Magazine, and after he showed his copyright, ZZ Top was no longer able to deny that Linden wrote the song. It was also harder for them to deny that he had been involved in other aspects of the “Eliminator” album, which further embarrassed and angered ZZ Top’s management. ZZ’s management was ALSO angry with Frank Beard (ZZ Top’s drummer) because he had brought Linden into their world in the first place. Yes, ZZ management was lashing out at the VERY PEOPLE who set events in motion to bring about the birth of the game-changing ”Eliminator” album. AND, to top it off, Frank Beard called Linden on the phone, MULTIPLE TIMES, after the lawsuit was filed, to whine and complain about how mad his manager was at him. “Linden” he said “you’ve got me in a mess”. Sometimes stars are very sure that they’re more important than the little people around them, even little people who helped improve the bottom line. Yes, even Frank was upset. Forget about Linden’s problems, little Frankie-boy was feeling pressure (boo-hoo). It’s funny how some people get grumpy when they suddenly find themselves GETTING INSANELY RICH. Yes, adrenaline mixed with money-frenzy is, apparently, a mind altering thing. Of course, it’s obvious, Linden didn’t get the chance to experience the ”money-frenzy high” like the ZZ boys did. He experienced a mind-altering “Low” instead. Anyway, the twilight zone settled in on the ZZ clan, and illogically, anger was lashing out in every direction. However, it’s doubtful that ZZ management was angry with Billy Gibbons for any reason, because he was their little star (well… uh… now he was their BIG star). Anyway, because of the all the newest revelations, the band’s management was allegedly beginning to have a hard time explaining what they had done to their “former” friend Linden Hudson. QUOTE: Rolling Stone Magazine wrote (1985) about Linden’s “Thug” lawsuit and printed a response quote from a ZZ Top spokesperson (JW Williams), he said: “It’s an unfortunate situation, here’s a guy (Linden) who was a friend. It’s hard to explain…”
- So, ZZ Top management found itself in the position of having to say “it’s hard to explain” to none other than ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE as to the Linden Hudson matter. The band’s spokesperson got it right when he used the word “unfortunate”. However, it was mostly unfortunate for Linden, because ZZ Top got rich as hell off that album (those poor fellows, life was so hard for them, some people were just bringing them down). The “Eliminator” album turned everything around OVER NIGHT for the band. Meanwhile, ZZ Top management kept the Linden Hudson story quiet (forever). Linden’s treatment in all these matters left him speechless and deeply depressed. Billy and the band spent thirty years avoiding questions from journalists about Linden Hudson. QUOTE: FROM THE BOOK: “ZZ TOP – BAD AND WORLDWIDE” BY DEBORAH FROST OF ROLLING STONE PRESS: “With the release… of Eliminator, in 1983, these hairy, unlikely rock heroes had become a pop phenomenon. This had something to do with the discoveries of a young preproduction engineer (Linden Hudson) whose contributions, like those of many associated with the band over the years, were never acknowledged.
- This entire ordeal was a life altering experience for Linden Hudson. QUOTE: FROM THE BOOK: “TRES HOMBRES — THE STORY OF ZZ TOP” BY DAVID SINCLAIR (OF THE LONDON TIMES) MR SINCLAIR DESCRIBED THE MOOD OF A FELLOW WRITER: “Deborah Frost (of Rolling Stone Magazine) spent many hours on the phone to Linden Hudson in the course of researching her book, and each time she got back to him he was more depressed…”
WE INTERRUPT THIS ARTICLE FOR A TEENY-TINY NEWS FLASH – Recently, June 2013, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top’s guitarist) finally began to break his 30 year silence about Linden Hudson’s creative involvement with ZZ Top in an interview with a well known journalist at MusicRadar Dot Com . Gibbons is still having problems addressing the true core of the issue with regard to Linden’s involvement in the “Eliminator” album. After thirty years of complete denial, it’s apparently difficult (for one or more reasons) for Gibbons to come right out and say what really happened, let alone make it right with Linden. However, it appears that Billy may be feeling a bit guilty, or else why would he have said anything at all after thirty years. The part of the Billy Gibbons interview which speaks about Linden is at: http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/billy-gibbons-talks-zz-top-the-complete-studio-albums-1970-1990-575728/8 . Linden’s response to the interview is that it’s an incredibly weak gesture on Billy’s part and, again, it took Gibbons thirty years to say even that much. Keep working at it Billy, we don’t want to rush you. In the MusicRadar interview, Gibbons did begin to address the fact of Linden Hudson introducing synthesizers into their sound, but the problem is, Gibbons is just insulting Linden by giving him a teeny credit for working on such a song as “Hippy Pad” (an insignificant jam), without getting to the important stuff (“Eliminator”). Apparently, it will never happen. Thus, this web page.
- At least three well known journalists have asked Linden in recent times “Hey Linden, those guys aren’t popular any more, so why tell this story now?”. Linden’s answer is: The “Eliminator” album has taken on a life of it’s own and is truly legendary. Yes, strangely, the album is more legendary than the band is at this point in time. There are many people who totally love that album, but they would never go see the band. This is easy to understand when stated in such a way. And, Linden Hudson was very involved creatively in this perfect rock and roll album, this piece of pop legend. Linden’s heart, mind and soul are peppered throughout the tracks of that famous album, so he WILL tell the story. It’s HIS story to tell. It IS what happened, and , sadly, IT IS what was done to him. People should have information in free societies. If this story bothers you for some reason, then simply do not read it. It’s just here parked in the cloud for those who want to know about this. So, no matter where you go in the world, this story will be right there in the cloud.
- Please read the many article and book excerpts ( at http://www.lindenhudson.com/languages/ ) about Linden/Eliminator, all written by reputable and famous writers (from Rolling Stone, London Times, Houston Chronicle, Texas Monthly Magazine, etc). Plus, see Linden in Wikipedia articles (also at: http://www.lindenhudson.com/languages/ ) and follow the other web links listed. Pop music history and culture are more popular worldwide than any other flavor of history (search engine stats prove this), and Linden truly deserves a place in pop music history. TEXAS MONTHLY MAGAZINE (Dec 1996, by Joe Nick Patoski): “Hudson floated the notion that the ideal dance music had 124 beats per minute; then he and Gibbons conceived, wrote, and recorded what amounted to a rough draft of an album before the band had set foot inside Ardent Studios.”
- Each song on that notoriously famous ”Eliminator” album made ZZ Top hundreds of thousands of dollars, and brought income to the band for decades, and greatly enhanced their fame and their concert ticket sales. NEWS.RADIO.COM: “ELIMINATOR is the album that made them household names, and is the reason they still play in large venues today.”
- FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: “The integral position Linden occupied in the process of building “Eliminator” was demonstrated eloquently in the case of the song “Under Pressure”. Billy and Linden, the studio wizards, did the whole song all in one afternoon without either the bass player or drummer even knowing it had been written and recorded on a demo tape. Linden synthesized the bass and drums and helped write the lyrics; Billy did the guitars and vocals.”
VINTAGE PRE-PRODUCTION AUDIO CLIPS FROM “ELIMINATOR”
(Samples of “Eliminator” song recordings made before the actual album)
INTERESTING MUSIC CLIP: ( Hear 15 seconds of the original song prototype of the ZZ Top song “Got Me Under Pressure” , recording made by Linden Hudson, at: https://soundcloud.com/texasman-1/got-me-under-pressure-song . Please be patient with the long disclaimer. This song hit #18 on Billboard Chart. This song demo was made by Linden Hudson and Billy Gibbons in Houston.)
ANOTHER INTERESTING MUSIC CLIP: ( Hear a few seconds of the original demo/prototype of the ZZ Top song “Dirty Dog”, recording made by Linden Hudson, which was the demo/prototype for the final song product that appeared on the Eliminator album at: https://soundcloud.com/texasman-1/dirty-dog-song-prototype-from . Please be patient with the long disclaimer. This song demo was made by Linden Hudson and Billy Gibbons in Houston )
YET ANOTHER INTERESTING MUSIC CLIP: ( Hear a few seconds of the original prototype of the ZZ Top song “I Got The Six”, recording made by Linden Hudson at: https://soundcloud.com/texasman-1/i-got-the-six-original Please be patient with the long disclaimer. This song demo was made by Linden Hudson and Billy Gibbons in Houston )
- After the release of the “Eliminator” album, Linden started his “Thug” lawsuit and walked away from ZZ Top forever. He decided to sue the band/management only for the song “Thug” and didn’t pursue the other “matters in question”. Linden had been warned by older, wiser friends that lawsuits are difficult and expensive. It turned out to be true. The “Thug” lawsuit, alone, was a tough experience. It’s a David and Goliath story: a financially challenged, legally inexperienced, young guy fighting a team of rich, famous guys. Who said it’s a fair world? It’s the reality of the justice system (in America or most anywhere). RICH PEOPLE RULE, POOR PEOPLE DON’T. Lawyers are the first to admit it. Also, if you’re fighting for justice against famous people, it’s an uphill battle (you become the bad guy).
- ZZ Top was never again able to create an album that matched the sales of “Eliminator”. The “Eliminator” album is that huge spike on a sales graph that stands far above all the other “little” albums they made. ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA SAYS: “Eliminator turned them into international superstars incorporating electronic synthesizers and disco-influenced rhythms into their signature blues sound.” (end quote) Why was Linden left behind broke, confused and abandoned? There are many obvious possible reasons. Maybe ZZ management was embarrassed to be helped by a nobody. If so, that’s truly not what Linden wanted or expected. Linden had no power trip going on in his heart or his head. It’s impossible to convey the pain he felt as all this unfolded. To be buried and banned for having such a positive effect was really hard for him to understand. FROM THE BOOK: “TRES HOMBRES — THE STORY OF ZZ TOP” BY DAVID SINCLAIR (OF THE LONDON TIMES): (page 41): “Why would a trio of millionaires and their millionaire manager be so keen to suppress acknowledgement of a genuine contribution, and not simply give the guy his songwriting and royalty credits where due?”
FROM THE BOOK: “TRES HOMBRES — THE STORY OF ZZ TOP” BY DAVID SINCLAIR (THE LONDON TIMES)(page 87): “Eliminator had become their equivalent to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, still selling strongly in both Britain and America more than two years after its release.
- “Eliminator” was chosen by Rolling Stone as one of the top 500 albums in history. But Linden has no platinum records on his wall. Before Linden Hudson takes his last breath, he wants one of those trophies hanging in his room (some day, presented by proper authority). That wish (or any other) is NOT directed at ZZ Top or Billy Gibbons. Linden wants nothing from those guys, especially not from Billy G. Any so-called Gibbons offers would only be an insult. What was done is hard to describe. No more insults are needed. FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN-ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: “Eliminator did more than eliminate the competition and dropkick anybody else who got in the way. Billy Gibbons was finally able to achieve his ultimate dream”.
- This web posting is the result of Linden’s constructive anger (it’s also “cause and effect”, maybe even Karma). Linden finally got mad enough to tell this story (to the world, until he dies). It’s Linden claiming his rightful credit. If Linden succeeds in getting his story to the public, it would be too late for it to do him any good financially. But, he’s decided one thing: you can either be afraid, or you can stand up for yourself. In the end, Linden will look back and be proud that he tried to set the record straight.
FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: (page 227): The song “Legs”, Linden Hudson introduced the pumping synthesizer effect. (end quote) An interesting note: “Legs” was chosen by the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame to be one of the top 500 songs that shaped rock n roll. Of course, again, there’s no mention of Linden’s name with regard to this honor. Thanks again Billy. The little people don’t need recognition. Right Billy?
- Linden Hudson eventually received a settlement for the song “Thug” ($600,000, well documented) but most of it went to lawyers and expenses. And, the guy (Huey Meaux) who partnered with Linden to finance the lawsuit (lawsuits are not free) took far more than his share from Linden’s settlement (Linden’s lawyer told him “Linden you got screwed”), but that’s just another totally fucked up story from the wonderful world of music and pain. Yes, music is often not really a business, but a parallel universe filled with plenty of pain. After all these things went down, Linden walked away with little, and spent decades in depression. Linden Hudson has spent a bit of time, in years past, with his friend Prozac.
- In the recent decade the internet has provided Linden Hudson with the power to broadcast his story. Without that, Linden would have no chance of getting this message out there. The internet, used properly, can kick some butt (it’s a freakin’ broadcasting medium). The internet is so powerful that even governments are afraid of it (small AND large governments). The internet gives power to many people, and, the best part: it even gives a bit of power to the little people (“not fair” say the rich and powerful). And: THE INTERNET NEVER FORGETS.
- These writings may feel like a rant, but that makes it even better, and more organic, because it’s not like reading a fancy book that was combed over by some fancy-shmancy editor who manipulated the tone of the story. This is just a man’s simple story of how it felt to be crushed.
- If any of Linden’s so-called “old friends” decide to sue him to shut him up, he’ll probably go broke hiring lawyers, as many people do. But, that’s ok, the story will just get bigger. News media is funny that way. The news media is hungry for stories and drama, especially stories about little man versus big man. There’s nothing worse for media than a slow news day. And, lawsuits amplify stories in the media. Ponder this: Imagine having to think about getting sued by a team of rich folk because you helped them succeed (somehow embarrassing them, and helping them achieve great riches, all at the same time). It’s kind of like saying “he helped me get rich, what a complete asshole”. Weird, isn’t it?
- Linden Hudson wants his son Bryan (Linden’s true friend), his family and friends to know, in the final story, that he did something noteworthy, something that touched millions of people and entertained them. Linden’s work, creativity and contributions have been amply described in these writings, and have been bolstered by the many press and book excerpts included herein. What has been described herein really happened and it’s sad. The unbelievable crap Linden has gone through is fascinating from the standpoint of seeing the way some folks treat other folks. Linden is not trying to rain on the parades of any rich folk (God knows rich folk have suffered enough, oh the suffering). However, if these writings in any way cast a harsh light on others, well… “it is what it is”.
- When Linden Hudson was working on the “Eliminator” album, he was a team player. Nobody wanted the team to win any more than he did. He worked his heart out for that project and thought he was working for friends. Little did Linden know how much success was ahead for the team. And, little did Linden know how much misery was ahead for him. FROM THE BOOK: “TRES HOMBRES” BY DAVID SINCLAIR (THE LONDON TIMES): “Eliminator (as of 1985) had so far clocked up American sales of five million, and enjoyed two years and thirty-two weeks in the American charts, began climbing again”.
-Yes, the “Eliminator” album was literally the biggest thing on the planet for a place in time. ROLLING STONE: “ZZ Top’s Eliminator was the hands-down party album of the decade” (end quote). Linden’s story is one of many in the funky music world. Please read the press clippings (at: http://www.lindenhudson.com/languages/ ) and think about other songwriters who have had the same thing happen to them (especially some of the old black blues men who died alone in shacks but had written songs that were recorded by white guys who ended up living in castles). Sometimes a person creates art, and the art lives on, and the person just simply gets destroyed. Linden knows of many of these tales. It’s the shitty part of the music biz (if you can call it a biz). Just stop, and think, and feel their pain for a moment.
- Anyway, Linden Hudson is extremely proud of his contribution to this hugely successful work of pop art (“Eliminator”, one of Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all times). Forget the other people involved, as it turned out, they were not Linden’s friends. But it’s the piece of art that Linden is proud to have been a part of. Linden ponders all this every night before he goes to sleep. He knows that the ZZ boys (and management) worked hard out there on the road. But, Linden did some hard work too, had talent too, and was a catalyst for really important change. Linden Hudson, sound engineer and songwriter, lives alone and unknown in a suburb of Houston. And, he’s not just any songwriter, but he’s a songwriter who’s written and co-written a few of the worlds most famous songs. And, yes, Linden Hudson has been in “Rolling Fucking Stone Magazine”. And, yes, Linden has been written about in books. And, yes, Linden will keep fighting to tell his story. Linden says: “Hey Billy, I’ll tell this until I die, I’m not going away. Meditate on that”.
- (please keep reading)
(ZZ TOP ELIMINATOR)
(This section is work in progress, therefore, rambles a bit, but it is
real and true information. It contains details about the album
beginnings, writing, and Linden Hudson’s involvement)
- The ZZ Top “Eliminator” album was the biggest album on earth for a while (the 80′s). There are many stories in blogs and interviews about the making of this blockbuster album. Most of those stories are totally untrue. The lack of accuracy about everything surrounding the writing and making of the “Eliminator” album is mostly a result of typical public relations BS invented by the band’s management. Plus, there are the fanciful “yarns” that have been spoon fed to gullible journalists during the many interviews (given out by a certain “cartoon character” band member). Linden Hudson was deeply involved in the making of this famous album. He has nothing to gain by decorating this story with BS, so here are just the facts man. The thing that makes Linden’s viewpoint interesting is the fact that he never signed a non-disclosure agreement with regard to the pre-production of the “Eliminator” album, nor was he asked to. Linden Hudson was brought into the “Eliminator” project by Billy Gibbons, not management, through the back door (so to speak). Here is an accurate description of the developmental phase of the ZZ Top “Eliminator” album as told by Linden:
- (LINDEN SPEAKING FROM THIS POINT ON): Many record albums are a methodical process which involve phases (at least the highly successful albums involve a process). The “Eliminator” album was just that, it was a process. I (Linden) was involved in the developmental part of that process. I was the pre-production engineer for “Eliminator” and worked with Billy Gibbons for a year on its development and planning. As time went along, I became more creatively involved, it just happened that way. However, I wasn’t hired by ZZ Top management, I was just brought into involvement through direct invitation by Billy Gibbons with his casual promises to the effect that I would be rewarded. I was dumb enough to believe him. Anyway, Billy just said “Hey Linden, I need help”, so I helped. I went beyond the call of duty and I put my heart into it. I lived at Frank Beard’s house (ZZ Top’s drummer), and Frank and I were best friends. Frank had gotten me to build a little recording studio in the front room of his house (a space that had once been a standard double garage). The little studio was semi-pro in it’s equipment, but perfect for proto-type recording. Me (Linden) and Billy (Gibbons) used Frank’s new 16 track Tascam tape recorder to experiment with song ideas in the new studio space. This Tascam 16 track tape recorder was not good enough for final product production as it was only about one fifth the price of high end studio recorders. But, the Tascam was plenty good enough for making good quality test recordings. We were just mocking up songs (writing and making demos) for the “Eliminator” album. Billy Gibbons and I (Linden) tested guitars, tested riffs, tested lyrics, tested sound effects, and constructed most of the tunes in that comfortable little space at Frank’s house. I clearly remember the moment I put a telephone filter effect on Billy’s voice in “Sharp Dressed Man” when he simply said “yea”, and another word or two between lyrics. “Cool, that’ll work” he said. I remember yelling at the mic “get that dog outta my yard” as we cut the dirty dog proto-type. He liked it and it stayed. Those effects (and everything else) were reconstructed the same way in the album rebuild. The synthesizer parts were conceived, tweaked and developed right there in that Houston suburb by me and Billy, by ourselves, and technically generated by me on the proto-types. This is all contrary to some of the bullshit stories that Billy has told the press about the synthesizer genesis, however, Billy finally admitted to MusicRadar Dot Com that I (Linden) introduced the synthesizers to the ZZ Top sound. It took him 30 years to admit that (he admitted it in 2013). I was a nerd and had a good bit of experience with analog Moog and ARP synthesizers and I had even built a few crude synthesizer modules myself from scratch. I had even made a sequencer out of a Radio Shack TRS-80 computer that manipulated a second-hand ARP synthesizer. I was mostly a broke son-of-a-bitch at the time, most of my stuff was second hand. Even my car and my clothes were second hand.
- I (Linden) still have the mixes of most of the early versions of the “Eliminator” songs and have posted a few pieces of them to the internet for interested music geeks (links are towards the top of this article). We (me and Billy Gibbons) generated demo tapes week by week. Those finished pre-production tapes were played weekly for ZZ’s manager (by Billy Gibbons), and the manager was excited and wanted the final “Eliminator” song productions to sound musically like the prototypes. The prototypes that were used for patterns had digital drums (not real drums) and synthesizer bass (not real bass). This is the way the final album turned out as well. If I remember correctly, Billy’s manager didn’t know that the “Eliminator” proto-type tapes he was listening to used digital drums (who would? they sounded real). I do have some “Eliminator” proto-type recordings on which we tested Frank and Dusty, but the finished product turned out to be based on quartz perfect, clocked tracks.
- AFTER HOUSTON, ON TO MEMPHIS: A copy of the “Eliminator” pre-production tapes was sent to the brilliant Terry Manning in Memphis who worked at Ardent studios. I (Linden) believe that Terry Manning is one of the best recording engineers on the planet and I was honored to be in the flow of a famous project with him. The flattering quotes about me (Linden) in books, about my skills, are over-blown and embarrassing when I consider the experience and skills of Terry Manning. Terry has engineered recordings for some of the worlds most famous artists (Joe Cocker, Joe Walsh, James Taylor, Led Zeppelin, Leon Russell, Jimmy Buffett, Al Green, Sam And Dave, and so many more). Yo Terry, I am not worthy. Anyway, Terry’s the guy who took the “Eliminator” blueprint tapes from Houston, effected the re-build, and made it shine. Terry Manning and Billy Gibbons re-constructed the tunes in Memphis without my help. However, I found an internet post by Terry Manning on which he apparently states that some of the original Houston vocals and other parts were laid into the final album tracks (in Memphis), rather than re-doing them (something else I didn’t get credit for). Someday we’ll have the full “Memphis phase” of the story from Terry (maybe, maybe not).
-Terry Manning very carefully (and rarely) gives out bits of information about the Eliminator album track construction (respecting confidential client procedures) because ZZ Top (and their manager) were his ”clients”. He would especially adhere to this protocol when discussing sensitive topics. Terry is being professional (and probably signed a confidentiality agreement). It has been widely announced that a Linn digital drum machine was used for the final rebuild of the Eliminator album (the band does not want people to know that, but that info was written about in books decades ago). So, in a carefully worded statement that Terry left on the internet he says (Terry Manning Quote): “On Eliminator I changed the drum approach pretty radically, for reasons that I shall not say at this point. There was no Linn product involved.” (end quote from Terry Manning) (Linden speaking again): So, here, you must read between the lines a bit. Nice try Terry (with all respect to you). Bottom line: it doesn’t matter what kind of drum machine was used to track the final cuts of “Eliminator” (Terry says it wasn’t a Linn, that’s cool, brand does not matter). However, I repeat, many engineers would get fired for publicly saying that one of it’s band clients had used a drum machine. In the early 80′s there was already a list of hit songs that had used drum machines : Billy Idol, The Cars, Devo, Hall & Oates, Prince, Steve Winwood, Paul McCartney, and so on. And, by 1982 there were a few drum machine brands available, such as the Linn. However, just remember, I was in Frank’s living room, looking directly at him and Billy when Frank discovered that he had been replaced on the Eliminator album by a drum machine (a near fight resulted, Frank was beyond angry, his fists clenched). However, for reasonable proof just put the Eliminator tracks in some software and measure the distance from one snare lick to the next, notice quartz precision on any Eliminator track, humans can’t play like that. Enough of my rambling. Anyway, Terry, you’re doing a great job of skirting the issue and it’s good client etiquette (I respect you for that). I hope you are well, Mr Terry Manning, and I hope life has been good to you. ***By the way, after I wrote the previous few paragraphs I found a more recent quote on the internet posted by Terry Manning: Quote: “I will make it clear that my preference is always to use the actual players, to not edit between takes extensively, to maintain the best “live” feel the band can perform, in general to not resort to trickery. But sometimes you do what you have to to get the best record. Also I will reiterate that this is not referring to Frank, ZZ’s drummer. I stated before that I will not talk about certain aspects of the ZZ recordings, out of respect for the band and management. Frank did a marvelous job on many records, and this reflects upon him as a great drummer.” (end quote from Terry Manning.) (Linden speaking again): Thanks Terry, nicely put. Being discrete, and professional. *** ONCE AGAIN: I (Linden) have found another set of comments from Terry Manning that he wrote in 2005 in a person to person blog and I hope Terry doesn’t get upset if I put excerpts of those quotes here. This helps tell my story and helps tell the very interesting story of the multi-layered process of the making of the “Eliminator” album (QUOTES FROM TERRY MANNING): The full story of the making of Eliminator (the politics, the chicanery, the technical aberrations, the high social drama, the exodus, the payback) is one that I cannot tell. Even if I could, there certainly wouldn’t be room for it here! It probably won’t even make it into “the book” (or the movie). Just don’t forget that truth is often stranger than fiction! (skip to..) However, I will address certain specific musical or technical issues (skip to..) Well, I guess it can now be told, as long as you promise not to pass it on, but yes, I played drums on “Legs”, and in fact, almost the whole album. (skip to..) (specific about the song “Legs”) The drums were a combination of things. There was programming, on my Oberheim drum machine, and then a multitude of samples triggered in over the snare as well…. (and on and on) (END QUOTES FROM TERRY MANNING 2005). (Linden speaking again): There you have it. From the end-chain engineer, the drums were synthetic. They started in prototype sessions as synthetic (Linn machine), and ended up in final sessions as synthetic (Oberheim machine). Any questions?
- (LINDEN HUDSON SPEAKING): I apologize, but let me say one more thing about the drum machine issue (to put the final nail in the coffin, so to speak): For anyone who still does not believe that the “Eliminator” album used a drum machine, just get a copy of the vinyl “Eliminator” album and hold it up at an angle in sunlight. BEHOLD, the perfect spirals that jump out to the eye. These are the perfect mathematics of the kick drum of a drum machine. Real drummers do not make perfect spirals on vinyl with their kick drum (no matter how hard they try, only God or a digital drum machine could do that). There’s no way around this reality, just give it up. If a forensic specialist was called in to a court trial to prove that digital drums were used on the “Eliminator” album, he could easily use this “drop dead” simple and crude vinyl/spiral demonstration to get the proof moving along. It’s probably one hundred percent compelling. This forensic expert would probably be allowed to walk away from the witness stand after that demonstration.
- (LINDEN HUDSON SPEAKING): A few questions that many people ask me (and Terry) were “what guitar and amplifier did Billy use on the Eliminator album”. When Billy and myself (Linden) mocked up and tested the “Eliminator” songs in the pre-production sessions, Billy used a Legend amplifier and a Dean flying V guitar (the Dean flying V was my choice because of it’s sound) (and an AKG condenser mic on the guitar amp). Terry Manning verifies that those were the devices that Billy used for the final tracking in Memphis. Billy hated that Dean guitar. One day when Billy and I (Linden) were writing in Frank’s studio, he broke a string on the Dean and set it down and picked up a custom made yellow guitar (Billy liked that yellow guitar but it sounded thin). I guess he figured the Dean was finished since it now had a broken string. But that night I put a new string on it, tuned it, and sat it in Billy’s practice chair. When he came in the next day, there was the Dean in his chair with six strings. That Dean was like an ugly girlfriend that kept coming back around. ”Oh man, it keeps comin’ back” he whined comically as he put it on to begin work. Almost every time Billy arrived at Frank’s house to work on the Eliminator album with me (Linden) he would pick up a different guitar hoping I wouldn’t notice. Later in the work session he’d ask me “what do you think about THIS guitar?” My answer was always “it doesn’t sound as cool as the Dean”. Then he’d look pissed and say “aw man, I hate that Dean”, then he would pick up the Dean and finish the writing session. But, in my opinion, the Dean was nasty, on the edge of feedback constantly, funky, gritty and sounded a bit crazy, untamed, crude, and wild, kind of like the way some guys want their sex and beer to be, untamed, wild. Hey, what can I (Linden Hudson) say, this is rock and roll and it needs to be a little nasty. However, Billy was tired of that guitar for several reasons. It was a flying V so it didn’t sit on his knee worth a damn, it needed constant tuning, and he wanted to move on to other guitars. But, all our pre-production demos in Houston had the Dean sound. ZZ’s manager insisted that the final tracking in Memphis sound just like our Houston proto-types. So, Billy was stuck with the Dean guitar, at least for recording purposes. In fact, when our pre-production phase was finished and it was time for Billy to go to Memphis for final production, he got a piece of paper and drew a diagram of exactly how the microphone was placed in front of his guitar amp and he wrote down all the settings on the guitar amp knobs and which mic we used on the guitar amp (as his guitar tech packed the Dean guitar and the amp for the Memphis trip). As Billy stood at the studio door leaving for Memphis he grinned slightly and said “I hope that Dean gets stolen on the way to Memphis”. Jimmy the guitar tech smiled and taunted Billy, saying “It won’t get stolen, I’ll make sure of that”. “Shit” said Billy with a painful grin.
This has been an accurate overview of the “process” used in the pre-production of the “Eliminator” album. I (Linden Hudson) have told my part of the process very accurately, but I invite Terry Manning (rebuild engineer) to correct me if I reflected inaccuracies in any of his details. Terry added that extra stroke of sound quality when he re-built the Eliminator album tracks. Please understand that there was yet another engineer in the chain after Terry Manning, and that was the famous and brilliant mastering engineer Bob Ludwig. The mastering engineer is the guy who makes sure that the cuts sound like they’re from the same universe (for consistency) and he adds that final touch of perfection to the eq and tone of the album. Bob Ludwig has mastered records and CD’s for every major musical star there is. I (Linden Hudson) was blessed to be in the engineer chain with Terry Manning and Bob Ludwig, in this respect I was truly completely blessed. So, in the end there were four engineers in a row for “Eliminator”, each to do his job and perform his magic. The “Eliminator” album was perfect. Many journalists and reviewers over the three past decades have agreed, that album was perfect. That’s the part I (Linden Hudson) am so deeply proud of.
MORE REFLECTIONS BY LINDEN:
- A few more things about guitars (etc) with reference to Billy. I’ll address any, and every, topic that I can remember (whether folks like it or not, just laying out info). So, I’ll address a simple and silly topic that people have asked me about in the past. I never saw Billy Gibbons use a Mexican Peso for a pick. So, in the early eighties, that didn’t appear to be anything that was true. It was part of the BS factor (as far as I can see). But, I hear that in later years he had some made and he touted it to journalists, apparently trying to make the story real. Anyway, in the early eighties, I always kept a few picks in my pocket during my work stint with Gibbons (I had a guitar pick fetish). I’d find them on the floor in the rehearsal studio. The black hole (magic place) where picks ended up was: in my right pocket. Billy knew that. So, when Billy would ask me “hey, do you have a pick?” I was always proud to produce five or six from my pocket. The Mexican peso story was, at the time (in my opinion, as a close observer) just standard Billy Gibbons BS. Also: Amp cabin? I’m sure you’ve heard that Billy Gibbons BS story. Never saw that either. Ridiculous. Also, micing a guitar amp in a junkyard through a bunch of cars? Just (in my opinion) Billy Gibbons BS and musings to tell gullible people. Are some of you upset? If so, the joke is on you (of course). I feel embarrassed to even address these stories. And, of course, any recording engineer would know that all that kind of musing was bullshit because those things don’t work (or, are not practical). But they’re good Texas bullshit stories (if that’s what you need to get through the day). A certain Rolling Stone reporter, Deborah Frost, who was writing a book about ZZ Top interviewed me for a book (several times) and she was really pissed off when she found out that lots of those Billy stories weren’t true because she had reported them as fact in some of her articles. She was a serious writer (a good writer as well) and she felt betrayed. By the way, David Sinclair (writer for the London Times, also a serious writer) was interviewing me for his ZZ book as well, and he thought that people generally knew that rock and roll stories were partly (or mostly) bullshit. What do you think? It’s amusing that so many people will believe anything that a rock star utters (oh well). In my opinion rock stars and politicians (I’ve worked professionally with both) are the last folks you should listen to. They live in the world of smoke and mirrors with a really high BS factor.
- Since we are discussing bullshit, if you see fanciful stories about how the synthesizer thing came into the realm of ZZ Top music, just let me repeat that I’ve posted some out take sound clips from the “Eliminator” pre-production proto-type sessions which show that the synthesizers originated in those sessions (in Houston, before Memphis).
- When Billy was sitting in that front room (pre-production studio) of Frank’s house he always had a guitar in his hands and even when we were talking, discussing, joking around, planning, taking a break, or whatever, his fingers were always playing licks. I’m sure that he plays guitar (mentally) even in his sleep. Guitar is muscle memory for him.
- Information Tidbit: I (Linden) just want to set the record straight about something. I notice on blogs and comment sections that people just go on and on about how great Dusty’s bass solo is in the song “Thug” (the song I fully wrote). Well, the truth is, that bass solo is played by Billy Gibbons. Yes, it’s totally true. Nothing against Dusty, just trying to give accurate information. Make a note.
- Another comment: During those prototype sessions for Eliminator (in Houston) I had asked Billy why he wasn’t doing much squank any more (squank is the squealing sound from the guitar when the pick hits the string at an angle, there was lots of it on “LaGrange”). “People love that shit” I said. Billy said “aw, I don’t know, some people think it’s just a cheap trick”. I strongly urged him to give a dose of that to some of these Eliminator songs that we were working on. To my delight, he really threw a pile of squank on some of the songs. The entire “Eliminator” album was blessed with more squank. Squank is fun like a cheap carnival ride.
- Last comments: I (Linden Hudson) do not blame Frank Beard (ZZ’s drummer) for what happened (for my being treated so badly) as he was my best friend. I lived at Frank’s house with him and his wife Deb, I went with Frank on family outings to hang with his parents on family occasions up in Northeast Texas. I went with Frank to his drug rehab meetings and did volunteer work with him for that organization. Frank did well with that program, both in getting himself straight and off drugs, and in helping the organization to help others. I was virtually part of Frank’s family. Frank did me no harm, as he was just a ZZ Top employee and a pawn in the game. Believe it or not, Frank was in constant fear of being fired himself (it’s weird, but true, although I believe it was managements strategy to keep him in line). I miss Frank and his wife.
- I (Linden) also do not blame Dusty as he meant me no harm, he was always respectful to me and fun to hang with. Just as we were wrapping up the pre-production of “Eliminator” Dusty said to me one afternoon (sincerely) “Thanks Linden, you’ve changed us”. It made me feel great.
- The fault falls on others (as to how I, Linden Hudson, was treated in the matter of the “Eliminator” album project). I won’t be too specific about some of those other folks (for several good reasons, fear being one). But, I’ll say: I (Linden) respect Billy Gibbons for his brilliant guitar talents but I also hold a lot of anger and hurt towards Billy Gibbons for my need to sue ZZ Top, and for the lack of writers credits and production credits for my large contributions. Not only was I (Linden Hudson) ignored as far as credits and royalties go, but I was treated with a great deal of dis-respect after the fact (by ZZ Top management), it’s unforgivable. What happened to me after the release of “Eliminator” was just wrong. Billy held a lot of weight with the organization (he was their star player) and, I believe, he totally could have caused it all to work out properly for me, but he didn’t. He mushed out and left me out in the cold, so to speak. My life could have been different from then on. Billy called me his friend, but he didn’t mean it. I helped him do what he dreamed of doing (big time). I’ll never understand it and I’ll never forget it. He strongly suggested to me that I would be credited and rewarded for my creative contributions. It didn’t happen. In fact, as “Eliminator” shot to the top, suddenly I didn’t exist. I was trusting. But, in the end, I was just another poor, dumb fool in the music business (if you can call it a business). I’ve thought about this every day for all these years (who wouldn’t?). If you ever run into Billy Gibbons somewhere, ask him about Linden Hudson. It’s likely that he’ll stutter a bit and act like he didn’t hear your question, and he probably will make no comment either. If he does, you can bet it’ll be carefully worded, measured, and in keeping with what his lawyers have told him to say. Billy and I (Linden) are one year apart in age, in our mid sixties, and I feel certain now that we’ll both go to our graves with this between us. I’m sure now that Billy Gibbons will never address this. It’s truly and forever sad. At this point I (Linden Hudson) expect nothing from you Billy, and you have ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to expect anything from me either. Again, the entire experience, for me, turned out to be about pain instead of celebration. Have a nice day Billy (wtf).
- There is no way for anyone to go back and change the past or change what happened in the past, it’s fixed in stone. Certain folks can spend as much money and effort as they want trying to change facts, but facts always remain the same (in all things). The publicity machine for organizations and companies (rock stars too) can only manufacture hype and BS to try to distract from the underlying realities. It’s a standard strategy. Have a nice day.
AS YOU’VE SEEN, DAVID BLAYNEY WROTE A BOOK ABOUT HIS 15 YEARS WITH ZZ TOP (FROM THE VERY BEGINNING WITH THE BAND). HE STARTED AS A ROADIE AND BECAME STAGE MANAGER IN LATER YEARS. DAVE TRULY KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON AND HE’S PROBABLY THE BEST SOURCE OF INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE ABOUT ZZ TOP’S FIRST 15 YEARS (for those pop historians an other interested parties). AFTER DAVE SPLIT FROM ZZ TOP, HE WROTE THE BOOK “SHARP DRESSED MEN” (HYPERION BOOKS, OUT OF PRINT, BUT AVAILABLE ON AMAZON AND EBAY). HERE IS A FULL SECTION FROM DAVE’S BOOK WHICH GIVES A PRETTY GOOD PICTURE OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LINDEN HUDSON AND ZZ TOP AS FAR AS THE STRATOSPHERIC “ELIMINATOR” ALBUM IS CONCERNED:
(From “Sharp Dressed Men” – from end page 195 to mid page 197)
- Probably the most dramatic development in ZZ Top recording approaches came about as Eliminator was constructed. What had gone on before was evolutionary; this change was revolutionary. ZZ Top got what amounted to a new bandsman (so to speak) for the album, unknown to the world at large and at first even to Dusty and Frank.
- When you’ve got a fairly serious pile of gold to sit on top of, as Ham and all the boys did after the turn of the 1980s, it’s possible to indulge a fantasy or two. Frank had bought a large home on the southwest side of Houston, and after everybody got to talking once about how ZZ Top needed a private state-of-the-art rehearsal facility, he more or less volunteered to have one built in a wing of his place. It was a nice gesture; he wouldn’t have to do any driving around to rehearse, and he probably got a nice tax write-off to boot.
- An old acquaintance of the boys, Linden Hudson, was hired to build the studio. Starting with El Loco, the band began using Frank’s place as their permanent rehearsal hall and test recording studio. Linden, as the electronic architect who had handled the studio’s assembly, slid naturally into the role of permanent rehearsal engineer.
- The facility’s equipment was good, if not truly state-of-the-art; enough so that some of the synth and percussion parts recorded at Frank’s turned up on the El Loco tune “Hippie Pad”, somehow without Linden getting credit as the recording engineer. Linden never raised a stink about this, as he might have. This was partly because he went back with the boys to 1970, when he was working as a radio disc jocky aliased Jack Smack. He was emcee for a show ZZ did around that time, and even sang an encore tune with the band, perhaps the only person ever to have that honor. The other reason Linden didn’t complain about not getting his due credit for “Hippie Pad” was that Billy had a little talk with him on the subject of “rewards down the road”. Shades of the promises to poor old Lanier Grieg over a decade earlier!
- Linden remained at Frank’s place as ZZ’s live-in engineer throughout the whole period of Eliminator rehearsals, and was like one of the family. He figured the El Loco sessions had been a test more than anything else, and anticipated receiving credit when Eliminator was produced. For a virtually unknown producer/engineer, working with a major band like ZZ Top could be a big break. As he worked at the controls day after day, watching the album take shape, his hopes for a big step forward in his production career undoubtedly soared.
- Eliminator marked the first time that ZZ Top was able to rehearse an entire album with all of the recording studio gadgetry Billy so loved. With Linden Hudson around all the time, it also was the first time the band could write, rehearse, and record with someone who knew the men and the machines. ZZ Top was free to go musically crazy, but also musically crazy like a fox. Linden made that possible too.
(end David Blayney excerpt)
TIDBITS FROM LINDEN
Well, since David Blayney told some of his stories in his book “Sharp Dressed Men” and nobody came to his house and whacked him, I (Linden Hudson) will tell a few stories as well (you’ll know who did it if someone whacks me):
- A little story from my memory banks: when I (Linden) had started my lawsuit against ZZ Top (1983) I was still living at Frank Beard’s house (ZZ Top’s drummer). It’s a bit bizarre, but didn’t really seem so at the time. The strangest part of this story is that Frank knew I was suing ZZ. Comically, one evening he sat down at the dinner table and smiled and said “well Linden, I guess it would be a good idea for you to move out before my manager finds out you’re still living here”. He and his wife (Deb) and I broke out laughing and I said “ok, I get it”. I moved out of Frank’s house after that and into a small apartment. I missed Frank and Deb a lot, plus I was really down in the dumps about the way ZZ management had treated me with regard to the “Eliminator” album. Anyway, a hurricane (Hurricane Alicia, Aug 18, 1983, 100 mph winds) blew in to Houston a few weeks after I moved out, and Frank Beard was on the road touring with ZZ, and his wife, Deb, called me at the peak of the winds and said “Linden, I think the roof is coming off and I’m worried”. The phone line went dead during the conversation, which is no surprise in a storm. So, I got in my car and drove seven miles through the hurricane, around broken trees and telephone poles, to their house to check on her, because we were still friends. All was well. She felt better and decided everything was ok, I had a quick glass of wine with her and then drove back through the storm to my apartment. Hurricanes often aren’t as bad as they sound from inside the house. I missed Frank and Deb. I missed their dog Gabby and I even missed their stupid parrot that use to bite the absolute crap out of me.
- I (Linden) want to go back in time and tell a story on Billy G: I was sitting around Frank’s house (in Houston) one morning, ZZ Top was out on the road at the beginning of a tour, and I got a phone call from Billy Gibbons. “We’ve got a problem with a piece of electronic gear and we’re in a little town in Kentucky and my guys can’t find anyone who can fix it, can you hop a plane and come fix this quick before the show tonight?” I said “sure, I’ll try” and I hustled to the airport quickly and hopped a jet (no clothes with me or anything). A roadie picked me up at the airport in Kentucky and I got to the auditorium and Gibbons was there to show me the electronic problem with a piece of gear. I re-seated the chips in the device as a start, and bingo, the thing was fixed in ten minutes (I’m not a great technician, but good enough sometimes). Gibbons smiled and said “cool, hey stick around for a few minutes, the pyro guy is about to test a pyro effect I want for the start of the show”. So we stepped up on the stage and Billy looked back at the pyro guy and said “ok, go ahead”. Suddenly there was a huge explosion up in the light grid and it blew my mind and my ears were ringing and I had spots in my eyes from the flash. It even blew a couple of paper cups off the stage, really, it was like a stick of dynamite going off. The pyro guy came rapidly walking up to the stage saying “Jesus, sorry, that was a little stout”. Billy grinned and said “no, that’s perfect”. I started laughing. (A roadie took me back to the airport, and I was back in Houston having a beer before midnight).
- Or, there was the time when we were in Frank’s rehearsal studio (front of his house) and all three of the ZZ boys were there working on a song composition. I was at the mix board (starting and stopping tape, adjusting headphones, making comments, cracking jokes). After a couple of hours Dusty said “shit, I could use a drink”. I knew Dusty liked bourbon (although I didn’t know just how much) so I said “well I’ve got a brand new, un-opened bottle of Jim Beam in my bedroom”. Dusty’s face lit up “well shit, go get it” he said with a smile. I went down the hall to my room and grabbed a paper cup and the new bottle of Beam (thinking maybe he’d just want a sip or two). When I came back into the rehearsal studio with the bottle in my hand Frank (drummer) was making a really weird face in my direction, like he was trying to tell me something. But, Dusty was reaching for the bottle as I walked in “you’re the man” he said. So… long story short, Dusty drank the entire fucking bottle of bourbon in a short amount of time. I couldn’t believe it (unreal). Then he said “I gotta go”. He got up, put his bass down (his bass amplifier was still on and volume knob still on), he went outside and we heard him burn rubber in every gear all the way down the street in his Delorean (as his bass strings started feeding back into the speakers). It was the weirdest thing, like a scene from some crazy movie. Frank looked at me and said “don’t ever give whiskey to Dusty”. I looked at Billy, as he sat on his stool and diddled on the strings of his guitar, and he just shrugged and said “uh huh”.
- One afternoon Frank Beard (ZZ drummer) said to me “hey Linden, I wanna put a ceiling fan in me and Deb’s bedroom, let’s do it ourselves, do you know how?” “Sure” I said “but you’ve gotta help me”. “Ok” said Frank. So, after dinner we got a couple of chairs and stood on them and opened the box and started putting in the ceiling fan. Deb (Frank Beard’s wife) sat on the floor with a glass of wine and watched. When we got through we stepped off the chairs and Frank said “let’s try her out” and he flipped the switch and the fan started spinning. “Cool” said Frank smiling. He then got a light bulb to put in the bulb fittings and stood up on the chair and stuck his head right in the spinning fan “blang” and it knocked him to the floor. Deb (his wife) and myself laughed so hard at him we had tears in our eyes. When he got up off the floor he started laughing too (and rubbing his head). ”Sheee-it” he said. It’s the kind of accident anyone could have. He had a lump on his head for a couple of days. I laugh every time I think of that.
- Frank Beard and I (Linden) laughed at each other equally when the occasions arose. A story on me: one evening me, Frank and Deb (his wife) were standing and talking (hanging out) in Frank’s kitchen. I was leaning on the kitchen cabinet and looked over and noticed a new, see through package of beef jerky so I opened it and started eating some of it. It was great. Frank got quiet and was watching me. Finally I said “wow, this is good, what is it” and I turned the package over and there was a picture of a dog on the front. Frank started laughing so hard he ended up sitting in the floor. “Oh” I said “ok, uh, ok dog jerky is good… I guess”. That explains why the dog was watching me too.
- Sometimes Billy Gibbons and myself (Linden) would be working long hours in Frank’s studio on song material (just me and Billy) and Billy would say “hey man, let’s go get something to eat”. We’d drive to a cafe or whatever and I would often get stuck with the check. Billy would usually say “oh, hey man, I forgot my wallet, can you cover me?” I’d mention it to Frank later and he would say “so what’s new?”. Frank and I would say (in unison) ”wut wrong wit dat boy?” Billy would never pay me back either.
- One funny note from memory: Frank Beard (ZZ Top Drummer) often fondly referred to Dusty as “Yosemite Sam”. It always drew a laugh from me. Frank never said it in front of Dusty as he and Dusty had a peaceful relationship and respected each other. After all, they had already been working together for many years by the early 80s. They had been working together for years before they even met Billy Gibbons. But anyway, hey Dusty, don’t get mad bud about this little story, it’s all in fun.
- Another thing about Frank Beard (ZZ Top drummer), at least at the time that I (Linden Hudson) lived at his house in the early eighties, he hated Billy and Dusty’s beards. He commented on a pretty regular basis about the beards (even though his name was Beard). Frank wanted the band to look sexy and he thought that the beards made the guys look like homeless hillbillys. However, the beards turned out to be something that set the band apart and made them hard to forget.
- The way I (Linden Hudson) became aware that people could not dance to ZZ Top music (in 1982) was: Frank Beard (ZZ Top drummer) and myself had been volunteering to DJ and Emcee dances for the Palmer Drug Abuse Program (Frank was working the program to stay off drugs, I was doing volunteer work for the program at Frank’s request). So, Frank and myself would emcee these dances together as a team. Frank was a star and we would get a big crowd when we did these dances (sometimes a hundred folks in the audience, sometimes several hundred folks in the audience). Frank and I would act silly on the PA system up on a stage and people would dance to records that we played (folks loved it). One night Frank and I were doing a dance and I said “hey Frank, let’s put a ZZ Top song on next”. He said “aw, ok, I don’t care, go ahead”. So, I played a ZZ Top song next. Everyone sat down and stopped dancing. I whispered to Frank “did you see that?” He looked a little puzzled. About an hour later I slipped another ZZ Top song on the turntable and played it. Everyone sat down again. I had a gut feeling that this stuff wasn’t dance-able already, but this proved it. I told Billy Gibbons about this a few days later and Billy freaked and exclaimed “what? you’re shitting me”!!! It’s amazing that the realization was never made in the previous ten years. Why did no one notice? Who knows. Life is strange. This entire story proves that life is strange. Anyway, the thought process to make the next album dance-able started from there. At that point I (Linden) performed the study of popular song tempos, on my own, and laid some data graphs on Billy. I pointed to the bump on the data graph and said “there’s the tempo sweet spot”. “Fuck, let’s do it” said Billy. I smiled. It was a no brainer. This tempo info was stuff that famous music producers already knew, that’s for sure. We began working on pre-production for the “Eliminator” album after that point. So, everyone, please notice one thing, you CAN dance to the “Eliminator” album (every cut, I think). Well shucks, what do you know. And, it worked (big time). I (Linden Hudson) know that there are certain people out there who will call me a liar, and they’ll say it happened another way and I even expect trouble at some point for telling this story (maybe even dangerous trouble, I don’t know, I don’t care). So, hey folks, just believe what you want to believe. You, the readers of this story are the jury.
-It’s a fact that Frank Beard (ZZ Top drummer) didn’t play drums on the “Eliminator” album. It ended up being synthetic digital drums on the album. Frank didn’t know about that until the entire album was totally finished and in print release. Frank had actually flown to Memphis early in the final phase of recording to lay drums to a click track, which would later have more overdubs applied. In the end, I (Linden) was actually sitting in the living room with Frank (at his house, where I lived as well) when Billy Gibbons arrived with a proof cassette of the finished “Eliminator” album. Billy didn’t offer to play it, he just said “it’s done, the records are being pressed, done deal”. Then Billy quickly turned to walk back to the front door to leave. Frank said “wait, put the tape on, I wanna hear it”. Billy stuttered, stammered and tried to get past it. But Frank took the tape from Billy’s hand and popped it in the machine of his sound system. The first song started and it was obviously not Frank playing drums. I already knew about all this, but I didn’t really want to be here for this confrontation. Frank jumped up from his chair with his fists clenched and got right in Billy’s face “who’s that fucking drummer?” yelled Frank. Billy stuttered, tried to explain. I left the house and took a drive. I didn’t want to be there. The only part of Frank’s drums that made it to the final record were his tom tom overdubs. Later that evening I was sitting in the living room with Frank and Deb. Frank was grumpy and he was bitching at me saying that “it’s mostly your fault Linden” (even though this album, and the strategy, ultimately made Frank a rich man, you’re welcome Frank, it’s true that you had an inner conflict, but you never said thanks). But, hey, Frank was playing golf most of the time when Billy and I were trying to come up with an album (the “Eliminator” album). Plus, he had stopped practicing between tours and his licks were sloppy. What are you gonna do? Frank was still my best friend, we were family, I lived at his house. He just liked playing golf more than working on record albums. Deep down, he knew that. The bottom line for that next album, as realized and imagined, was to make it dance-able in order to get a bigger audience. That slushy, slurred blues shuffle drum stuff that had been on the past recent albums wasn’t the target thing this time. Sorry Frank. Oh well. I still have good memories of our friendship. At least you still had a job and the band acknowledged your existence and YOU GOT RICH (and I got fucked).
- Billy Gibbons once asked me to build a stage prop for a tour (around 1980 I think) and I gave him an estimate of the cost and my labor. He kept talking me down on the price, and finally, I wasn’t going to make much on it but I said I’d make it. He wanted a tall, electronic looking unit with blinking LEDs and a computer screen with stuff moving around on it. Just a prop, but it had hundreds of LEDs on it and pixie tubes with numbers moving. Billy wanted it to look real. I built the deal, and I even cut a hole in the front and installed a computer screen and used a radio shack computer to drive the screen. I wrote some computer programs (in basic) to generate random number and screen patterns. it took weeks but it looked cool and they started using it on stage for the tour in progress. So, one weekend Billy invited me to see some of the shows when they were in the vicinity (I don’t remember where). After the show I was in the dressing room with the band and a journalist was there from Circus Magazine (a rock and roll mag as I remember). The journalist asked Billy what the big electronic device was and Billy said “it’s a custom designed and custom built auto-synthesizer and there’s the guy who engineered and built it (he pointed at me)”. The reporter started asking me questions and Billy disappeared. I stuttered. I didn’t want to say that it was just a prop and that Billy made up the story so I said “oh, hey, I gotta go to the bathroom” and I disappeared. What can you do? A further comment: Journalists, even rock and roll journalists, are serious when they’re interviewing rock stars. They’ve been hired, and expenses paid, to seek and go there, to get serious interviews with these rock stars (their job is on the line, they are under pressure to get interviews). The journalist is likely to, and probably will, take most things said to be truth. This point of view was once expressed to me by the famous Rolling Stone Magazine writer Deborah Frost. So, I’m not just saying this without knowledge.
- One week I went out with ZZ to hang with them while they did several shows in Las Vegas (Gibbons had invited me along). On a night off I went with Frank, Dusty and Billy to see Rodney Dangerfield at the Riviera and sat on the front row with them. Dangerfield constantly flipped sweat on us because we were so close. Occasionally, during the show, he would glance down off the stage at the ZZ boys. He didn’t know who they were but they caught his eye. Finally he gestured toward the bearded boys and said “what is this a cult?”
- A quick story: We had just hooked up the new 16 track multi-track recorder in Frank’s house (not a great recorder, but fine for writing and developing songs), and we were working a little bit on a song Billy called “Hippie Pad”. During a break Frank was casually singing “I’m gonna buy me… a groovy little hippie pad”. Billy got all pissy and sternly corrected Frank “It’s not I’m gonna BUY me… It’s I’m gonna FIND me a groovy little hippie pad, hippies don’t BUY hippie pads… they just FIND ‘em!!!” Frank looked surprised “jeez… ok” he said, as he glanced at me with a mischievous grin. He was just fucking with Billy. This of course caused me to break out laughing. And, for some reason, the recording we made of Hippie Pad in that room ended up on El Loco. And, of course, I received no engineering credit or synthesizer or percussion overdub credit whatsoever. I disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle again. The Bermuda Triangle turned out to be a place that I got to know well.
- A quick memory: In the early 80′s, ZZ Top had acquired a fellow named Steve Jander, the most ground breaking laser artist of the time, to perform a laser show with the band on tour. He sprang from the world of industrial lasers, lost his job and jumped into show business with big lasers. Steve Jander had been operating the laser show for Led Zeppelin (top show on the planet), but a member of Zeppelin had died, so Steve took up with ZZ Top. For some reason (I can’t remember exactly why) ZZ Top took me (Linden Hudson) on the road a few times and persuaded Steve Jander to give me a few training lessons on the powerful green argon laser system. I believe Billy had the idea (if memory serves me) that maybe I could do some of the laser work, and be a backup man, if Jander ever needed time off. Although, a license was required to operate this badass laser because it was lethal. The heart of the system was an argon industrial laser that was about four or five feet long and it made me nervous to get my face close to that freaky, green glowing laser tube when it was on. It looked like a death ray or something out of a Flash Gordon movie and it was truly a dangerous beast. But, I’m a nerd, so I was fascinated. The main part of this story is: Frank Beard (ZZ Top drummer) was talking to me one evening about this argon laser. He said that he had been trying to talk Jander into putting a mirror on Billy’s hat so a laser beam could reflect off his hat. Jander lectured Frank on the danger of this laser. Later that evening Frank got on the stage and sat at his drums, and there, sitting on his snare drum, was a drumstick with Frank’s name burned into the wood (burned in by the laser). It was Steve Jander’s way of making a point. Point taken. The green argon beast was a bad bitch.
- Some of the other fun I (Linden) had while living at Frank’s house (Frank Beard, ZZ Top Drummer): Once, the famous rock star Fabian (from the late 50′s) came to stay with us (at Frank’s house) for a week (from California). He was a nice fellow, but he seemed a little uneasy at first (Texas scares some folks from LA, I guess they’re afraid there might be Republicans around, or that we carry guns and spit tobacco or something). We made bar-bq in the back yard several evenings by the pool, a great visit and interesting. One day Fabian jammed on vocals with ZZ Top for about an hour in Frank’s rehearsal studio with me at the mixer console. I recorded it all on cassette just for kicks. I still have those recordings. ZZ Top meets Fabian. It was all in fun. Another famous visitor we had at Frank’s house was Carol Burnett’s daughter Carrie. She came from LA to live with us at Frank’s house for several months (when she was 15). She was a sweet kid and was always nice to me. I was very saddened to see that Carrie passed away in her mid thirties of lung cancer.
- One last blast from my memory banks: Let’s jump back in time, a little over a decade, to the beginnings. When ZZ Top did their first gig (1970), I (Linden Hudson) was a crazy hippy DJ named Jack Smack at a highly regarded rock radio station, KLOL-FM in Houston. One of the best parts about being a DJ at a rock and roll station was that I got to emcee big rock concerts in front of thousands of people and I met lots of famous people. One night, after a show, I played cards with Alice Cooper and his band till sunup. I emceed a Ry Cooder show, a guitar hero of mine, and John Mayall. I emceed a Captain Beefhart show once, and what a nice guy. To continue with the main thought, in that general span of time, although it was not a big show at that time, I emceed ZZ Tops’ first official concert (if memory serves me well) and I actually sang a song with them that night on stage. Of course, there were only about fifty people in the audience, they had just released their first album. Yep, in fact David Blayney (ZZ Top road manager for 15 years) describes that event in his book “Sharp Dressed Men”. Dave was a ZZ Top roadie at that time, maybe the only one. During those days (about 1970) Billy Gibbons was into Transcendental Meditation (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi style meditation, guru to the Beatles) and he (Billy Gibbons) would take me (Linden) to the meditation meetings and he talked me into getting a mantra and being initiated. I’m not sure how great meditation really was other than the fact that it kept you away from drugs and booze, and when you’re in a band or working at a hippy radio station, getting a break from those substances is all good. I lost track of Gibbons shortly thereafter and didn’t see him or work with him again for almost ten years (re-uniting with him in about 1979 I think). I became gradually involved with ZZ Top at first and contributed a few ideas on El Loco, and added some technical tidbits towards the album. Then, in 1982, Billy and I spent much of the year working on the “Eliminator” album as we decided to make a great album to help their status with their new label Warner Brothers. Billy G was hyping me every day saying “we’re just gonna kick some ass with this stuff man”. “ELIMINATOR” was released in 1983. The album immediately went through the roof, was a massive hit, at which time they gave me the shaft (suddenly I was metaphorically in the Bermuda Triangle, I fell off the face of the earth, they performed a dirty little magic trick and made me disappear). I suddenly found myself living in a teeny apartment in a really bad neighborhood, working odd jobs and trying to pay the rent, all the while watching the ”Eliminator” album stay in the Top 100 for YEARS. All this was my reward for helping (and doing it really well). Sometimes friends suck, that is if they turn out NOT to be your friends. What a weird, strange trip.
- Again: How could I make this stuff up? If I did make it all up, several famous writers somehow wrote about it in several books. One of the writers who wrote one of those books had been the band’s stage manager for many years and had been working for ZZ since the very beginning. If my story had been untrue there would have been a shit-storm of lawsuits against book authors flying around twenty years ago. But those writers didn’t get sued. What da ya think? Huh? But again, nowadays I’m just trying to set the record straight. That’s all. I don’t really expect a miracle any more. Billy’s never going to send me money or give me credit for my co-writing or my help on “Eliminator. He’s already spent his money on his mansion in Hollywood and his other mansion in Houston (he desperately needed all those million dollar homes). As for my wishes, I do hope that the next time some folks hear a song from the “Eliminator” album that my name pops into their mind. This has already happened to complete strangers who’ve emailed me. It’s a small comfort, very small, but appreciated. This chronicle is my therapy, I pray that it serves me well. I also pray that it may serve someone else well, such as some poor fool who tries to make it in the so-called music business. To that person, I pray that your story ends better than mine did. Here’s hoping that the people who claim to be your friends are truly your friends. Anyway, with regard to these writings, what else can I say or do?
-I noticed recently (March 2013) that the “Eliminator” album turned 30. There were big press releases bouncing all over the place, to radio stations, to journalists, to magazines and the like. During all that hoopla I (Linden Hudson) didn’t receive: 1) Any congratulations 2) No mentions of me that I could find 3) No money in the mail 4) No platinum record to hang on my wall 5) No messages from anyone that it was even the 30th birthday of Eliminator. I didn’t even know about the Eliminator 30th birthday hoopla until a month after it was recognized. All I saw in the interviews with the band (about the Eliminator 30th celebrations) were the same old stories very similar to this abstract: well… we just woke up one day and started using synthesizers and we just started doing everything totally different… all of the sudden… it just happened… we had a wet dream about what to do… a voodoo mystic in Jamaica told us what to do… we saw a stain on a wall in a holey cave in Borneo that looked like a synthesizer… we saw it all written in the clouds above the mountains in Mexico as we meditated and grew our beards… and so on, so on, so on, and bullshit blah blah.
-Watch out everyone, because I (Linden Hudson) am about to rant a little more. Remember, this is my therapy and I’ve earned it. It’s 30 years in the making. Sue me Billy, for being pissed. THIS IS A RANT WARNING: I noticed that Billy Gibbons has invited (allegedly) his old band “The Moving Sidewalks” to go back into the recording studio with him. I, Linden Hudson, didn’t get an invitation like that. What happened? Maybe Billy’s having trouble finding my email address. I guess I’ll wait by the phone. It could happen any time now. Or… uh… maybe I should relax, after all, it’s only rock and roll. I’ve got an idea: Hey Billy, you should invite that old band called “The Nightcaps” into the studio. Yea Billy, you remember those guys, don’t you? Well, of course you do. Yea, hey Billy, you could take them into the studio, and take them to New York and all that upscale stuff, that is if any of them are still alive, maybe they’d like that… or… maybe not, as they are said to be, as of 2013 (according to a famous journalist and private source) still pissed off about what happened to them with THEIR song “Thunderbird” (WTF !). (read further down on this page to see who “The Nightcaps” are, for those who don’t know). Or, hey Billy, maybe you could invite Kurt Linhof to the studio. QUOTE: Here’s a quote from the book “ZZ Top Bad And Worldwide” by Deborah Frost of Rolling Stone Press: “that he (Billy G) appropriated the title and basis of the song “Arrested For Driving While Blind” from his friend Kurt Linhof, who says he came up with it. Linhof also says that Gibbons eventually did pay him $500 for his share of the song. The sum probably accounts for the most minute fraction of the royalties Gibbons himself has received for “Arrested.” (end quote). Or, hey Billy, there’s that song “Francine”. Francine was ZZ Top’s first hit. It put them on the map. QUOTE: Deborah Frost of Rolling Stone writes in her book: “It (“Francine”) was co-written by Kenny Cordray and Steve Perron… Steve Perron died shortly after the band (ZZ Top) recorded “Francine,” and Steve’s widow, Linda, says she’s never received royalties (as of 1985, well over a decade after the song’s release ). In fact (continues Frost), Billy’s actual contribution to the writing of “Francine” is debatable.” (end quote). Hear the original Francine demo version by Cordray/Perron (garage demo recording, recorded in 60′s) of ”Francine” at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB0jHiPH2Ds Well, I guess my rant is winding down. It’s just more stuff that’s so hard to understand. However, I swear to God, I’m trying to understand. Am I viewing all this in some wrong way? Huh? I do realize that sometimes folks like myself are just insignificant little humans, and, we’re just the little turd rustlers who get in the way of stars and the other important folks (you all know what I mean). We little people just get a little emotional about certain topics, and sometimes, we don’t understand how those “self-important” rich and famous folks run their thinking processes. Do you feel me? Again, to you Billy, I, Linden Hudson truly seek nothing from you except the full truth about what I did for the historical “Eliminator” album (of course, it will never happen, and everyone knows that). However, these writings and these reflections will remain here in the cloud.
Doesn’t this Linden Hudson story remind you of another story? We call to your attention the story of the song: “Thunderbird”, written by the legendary old Texas band called “The Nightcaps”? (link at bottom of page, read the article and see how you feel about that?). Maybe no one cares, maybe some one does. Or, maybe it all reminds you of the Jake Holmes story (info link at bottom of page, his song on Youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTsvs-pAGDc ). We say to you, Mr Jake Holmes, what happened to you is sad. Why didn’t you get a lawyer long long ago? Things don’t just automatically get set right, we have to do something ourselves, talk about it, tell someone, get a lawyer, stop being afraid. Jake, were you afraid of JP? Why? Afraid of the unknown? What could happen? Afraid someone might show up at your door and do you harm? Of course, stranger things have happened. I myself know all about those fears. Been there, done that. Hey Jake, maybe you thought JP was just paying TRIBUTE to you. And, when I say TRIBUTE, I’m just making a ridiculously sad joke. Sorry about that Mr Jake Holmes, no offense intended (you’re the real hero in this matter, I mean it). The tribute you SHOULD have received for writing one of the worlds biggest hit songs was 40 years of fucking royalties, plain and simple. Royalties, when paid honestly to the deserving writers and co-writers, could help send kids to college, keep a guy from getting evicted, pay a medical bill, put some food in the fridge, keep a god-damned poor, down-on-his-luck musician from ending up homeless and on the streets. To continue, Mr Jake Holmes (my hero), let me say that I read a story about you. I don’t know if it’s true, but it sounds very plausible. In this story, it’s said that in the early 80′s you wrote a letter to the all-self-important rock God (JP), and it was told that you politely asked him for some credit and royalties for your famous song. It’s said that you received no reply. What a surprise. Jake, I know this scenario well, as it’s exactly a scenario I (Linden) played out several times in the realm of my own personal situation. It’s very probable that once that money gets into a rock God’s bank account it’s never coming out just to set things right with some poor commoner. You know that now, don’t you Jake (bless you sir)? To illustrate just how some people in this world think: recently, I ran across a blog entry which was written by a moron responding to another blogger’s disgust of song plagiarism. The moron blogger said: “hey pal, this is the blues, there’s no such thing as stealing in blues, it’s called tribute” (end quote). Of course, those words are easily the droppings from the mouth of a dude who’s sitting in his own vomit after snorting one too many lines of coke. It’s been heard before, all too many times, “TRIBUTE”. Other examples: how about the Anne Bredon story (link at bottom) or the story of “The Lemon Song”? Research these for yourself, there are many more. When I hear a famous band say “well, we employed their music as a way of paying tribute” it’s similar to hearing a meaningless political speech from a dishonest politician. Just spin some words and make things sound all rosey and put lipstick on that pig of lies, then put the money in the bank and hope the poor songwriter doesn’t understand how to call a lawyer, or hope the poor songwriter is afraid of you. These stories may, or may not, cause some people to feel disappointment in their “Gods”. But then, on the other hand, some folks just don’t care about the plight of fellow human beings.
LINKS FOR REFERENCE TO SIMILAR STORIES
- Nightcaps “Thunderbird” Story (Nightcaps vs ZZ Top lawsuit. Read this story carefully and see how it makes you feel). See at: http://www.dallasobserver.com/1995-02-02/music/case-dismissed/
(Robert Wilonsky wrote in the Dallas Observer (Feb 1995) as he spoke of the Nightcaps lawsuit: “no legal ruling can deny what happened: ZZ Top claims creation and ownership of a song they did not write. The Nightcaps’ influence on a generation of Texas-bred blues performers has long been documented, whether it was Stevie Ray Vaughan recalling childhood days spent learning Nightcaps songs or Jimmie Vaughan naming his Fabulous Thunderbirds after the Nightcaps’ song. And yet ZZ Top, a band that also owes much to the Nightcaps, refuses to pay its debt, be it a financial or moral one.”)
more Nightcaps info at: http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F3/42/285/604418/
more Nightcaps info at: http://centraltrack.com/Music/3627/Songs-About-Dallas/The-Nightcaps-Wine-Wine-Wine
more Nightcaps info at: http://thediscography.org/discoDbDetail.php?req=783
- The Jake Holmes Story (eventual Jake Holmes vs Led Zeppelin lawsuit, wtf):
- “Whole Lotta Love”, recorded by Led Zeppelin: Very very similar lyrics written originally by Willy Dixon in his song “You Need Love” (Hey Zep boys, did you guys not think Willy Dixon needed any royalty money for HIS song, at least as a major co-writer? Just because he was sick and needed money in the seventies and eighties, what with getting his leg amputated from diabetes and all. Willy allegedly had to sue you guys to get any of HIS money. That Willy, he was just a mean guy. What’s wrong with Willy, insulting you English boys up in your castles? Yea JP, you Zep boys surely needed money worse than ole Willy did.)
- “The Lemon Song” allegedly taken from Howlin Wolf’s “Killing Floor”
- Johnny Cash Seven Dreams Album – “second dream: the conductor” was written by Gordon Jenkins (never credited or paid), Johnny Cash’s version was almost identical, just refined. It’s alleged that Jenkins sued 15 years after the record release and received a settlement close to a hundred thousand (you can bet that he probably deserved more): http://www.fairwagelawyers.com/most-famous-music-copyright-infringment.html and at: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=4903
SHORT LIST OF SONGWRITERS RIPPED OFF:
Willie Dixon (passed on), Howlin Wolf (passed on), Anne Bredon, The Nightcaps (still pissed off), Steve Perron (passed on), Lanier Grieg (passed on, which songs? Well here’s a clue: allegedly WFTB, MF, SL), Sonny Boy Williamson II (passed on), Bukka White (passed on), Robert Johnson (passed on), Tom Vickers (allegedly: reportedly still bummed out, making no comments), Billy Etheridge, Kurt Linhof, Jake Holmes (allegedly: “Dazed And Confused”, if there is any doubt just listen to his original, earliest dated, copyrighted version on Youtube, it took him 40 years to sue for this mega-hit), Linden Hudson (still here and still very pissed off, read the many press clippings and book excerpts if you have doubts), etc.