LINDEN HUDSON’S FAMOUS CONTRIBUTIONS
- Linden Hudson once wrote a song on the ZZ Top “Eliminator” album (the song title was: “Thug”, Linden had to sue ZZ Top for his money). In reality, he did more for the album than just write that song. The incredibly famous ELIMINATOR album went on to be one of the biggest musical releases of all time, in fact it’s sales are listed as “diamond”. ”Diamond” status for a record album starts at ten times platinum, a massive number of record sales. As for Linden’s involvement with the entire “Eliminator” album project, here’s a quote from David Blayney (15 years as ZZ Tops stage manager), in his book SHARP DRESSED MEN, David Blayney wrote this: ”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)
- “Eliminator” was ZZ Top’s biggest selling album (by far). The song Linden Hudson wrote for the album, as mentioned earlier, was titled “Thug”. Then, sadly, Linden spent three years suing ZZ Top for his money, even though he had a US Library Of Congress copyright (WTF !). This was a tough time in Linden’s life as he had a newborn son and was having trouble paying the bills.
- After Linden’s “Thug” lawsuit became public, ZZ Top was no longer able to deny that Linden wrote the song, or that he had been involved in the “Eliminator” project, and they had a hard time explaining what they had done to their friend Linden. Rolling Stone Magazine published an article about Linden in which there was a quote from a member of ZZ Top’s management (JW Williams) about Linden’s lawsuit against ZZ Top for the song “Thug”: “It’s an unfortunate situation, here’s a guy (Linden) who was a friend. It’s hard to explain…”
- So, as you can see, the band’s management even told Rolling Stone Magazine “it’s hard to explain”. And, ZZ Top management continued to deny the facts of Linden’s larger, general involvement in the entire “Eliminator” album project (forever). Linden Hudson’s treatment in these dealings left him speechless (to say the least). And, the fact that ZZ Top management had called Linden a “friend”, after the way they treated him, was strange (and sad). Revelations of Linden’s involvement in the album project was, apparently, an embarrassment to ZZ Top band and management.
- Please read the articles and book excerpts listed below, all written by reputable and even famous authors and writers (writers from Rolling Stone Magazine, The London Times, etc). Plus, see Linden Wikipedia articles and follow the web links. If you find this story interesting, then please pass it on.
- 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. In fact, it’s easy to say that the “Eliminator” album elevated ZZ Top from Stardom to Super-Stardom. Most rock critics would agree. Any time your record sales increase twenty-fold overnight, then we think anyone would have to admit that something drastic has changed in the creative process (duh). However, ZZ Top management chose to cover up Linden’s involvement in this project. Welcome to the depressing side of the music business and say hello to a story of misery.
- After Linden realized what the boys had done to him, he painfully started his “Thug” lawsuit and walked away from ZZ Top forever. He decided to sue only for the song “Thug” and didn’t pursue the other matters, as he was warned by older and wiser friends that lawsuits are extremely difficult and emotionally draining. The lawsuit for just the song “Thug” proved to be a really tough experience. It’s a David and Goliath story, a poor guy fighting a team of rich, famous guys. And, this is the true reality of the justice system (in America or most anywhere). Rich people rule and poor people come out on the short end of the stick. Also, if you’re fighting for justice against famous people, it’s an uphill battle (you become the bad guy). The public hates it when you dis their heroes.
- ZZ Top was never again able to create an album that matched the record sales of “Eliminator”, not even close (just a fact). Some reputable sources state that the “Eliminator” album sold half of all the records that were sold in the band’s entire career (out of 15 albums). And, the way Linden was treated, certainly, had the appearance of being illogical, strange, and deeply sad for Linden Hudson (and ultimately, some folks might agree, a bad move for the band). Linden Hudson walked away into obscurity and was disavowed by ZZ Top management from that point on. Some journalistic writings have suggested (as pondered previously) that Linden’s influence on the “Eliminator” album project was an embarrassment to ZZ Top management. But, that’s truly not what Linden wanted or expected. It’s impossible to convey the pain he felt as all this unfolded. To this day, it’s remains surreal. To be buried and banned for having such a positive effect is really hard to understand (forget the money as well).
- To further illustrate: ZZ Top had released seven albums (before “Eliminator”) the best of which only went as high as gold (gold=half a million units sold). Then, Linden became heavily involved on the eighth album (Eliminator) and it sold far more than 10 times platinum (20 times greater than gold). As stated before, it went ”Diamond” in the US (it even went ”Diamond” in Canada) and multi-platinum in many other countries. Then, Linden Hudson got the shaft and was sent into the void. After that, there were seven more albums released up to the year 2012 with ever diminishing record sales. ZZ Top never even came close to matching the “Eliminator” record sales. Say what you want, but it doesn’t take a detective from Scotland Yard to get a gut feeling about the substance of this situation. Linden doesn’t want to take all the credit, never did, but he was obviously a very important element in the chemistry that came together for that short time. But, you can be the judge.
- The “Eliminator” album was chosen by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the top 500 albums in history. Linden was part of that.
- This article is the result of what Linden calls constructive anger. He finally got so mad about it all that his anger motivated action to tell this story (to the world, until he dies, no matter what, no more being timid, no more fear). So, this web posting is about Linden claiming what he believes, in his heart and in his mind, to be his rightful credit. If Linden succeeds in getting his story saturated to the world, it would be too late for it to do him any good financially, but screw it, he’s decided to carry on with this mission anyway (wouldn’t you?). In this world you can either stand up for yourself, or lay in the dirt and let everyone screw you. Make the choice.
- Linden eventually received a settlement for the song “Thug” ($600,000, well documented in many very reputable publications) but most of it went to lawyers and expenses and taxes. Also, the guy who partnered with Linden to finance the lawsuit (lawsuits are not free) took far more than his share from Linden’s settlement (adding insult to injury), but that’s just another totally sad, but typical, story from the wonderful world of music. Music is often not a business, but rather a parallel universe filled with pain (for some). After all these things went down, Linden walked away with little, and spent decades in depression.
- In the recent decade the internet has provided Linden Hudson with the power to communicate his personal story. The internet is so powerful that even governments are afraid of it (small AND large governments). Yes, and the internet gives power to many people, and, the best part, it even gives power to the little people (“not fair” say the rich and powerful). And: THE INTERNET NEVER FORGETS. This internet thing has given Linden a chance to say it and tell it.
-Here’s a hard, cold fact that Linden has learned and understands all too well: Small time rock journalists (and some well-known rock journalists as well) are very unlikely to ever fully tell Linden’s story. Why? Here’s what a world famous rock journalist once told Linden: “if a run of the mill rock journalist tells the Linden Hudson story in detail, then that journalist will lose access to ZZ Top for future interviews”. Yep, that’s the way rock journalism works. It’s simple, and true, but not readily admitted by those journalists because they don’t want to admit to that. Always remember this when you read stories and articles about famous rock stars, movie stars and other celebs. It’s part of that potentially corrupting and magic thing called “star power”. An every day rock journalist can not go around pissing off rock stars, it’s the “kiss of death” for that journalist. This effect could be called the “losing access” thing (and, it can often be an “end of career thing” as well for a rock journalist). The other side of that effect is that Linden Hudson does NOT have access to those journalists. He understands that, it’s a no brainer. This is what Linden refers to as ”old school communications 101″. By the way, a famous rock journalist sent Linden a personal email in the late nineties that went into detail about Linden’s situation with respect to ZZ Top. But, the important two sentences in that email to Linden were: “You don’t have to justify your involvement with ZZ to me. I know, as do most other insiders, what you did and what you weren’t credited for.” (end quote) Linden still has that email in his extensive archive. But, here’s the interesting thing about the guy who wrote Linden that email: that famous journalist (who will remain un-named) has only written fluff pieces about ZZ Top over the years. Why? We’ve just explained why. Again, ”Old School Communications 101″. By the way, when that journalist referred to himself (and his fellow journalists) as “INSIDERS’, you DO know what that means, right?
- Please take a few minutes to read Linden Hudson’s story, and please, please, please never forget it. These writings may feel like a rant, but that makes it even better, and more organic, because it’s not a fancy book with a fancy editor manipulating the slant or the tone. It’s just a man’s simple story of how it felt to be crushed. Why sit and read fiction, or watch fake reality TV (yes, reality tv is fake), when you can read a true story that will make you scratch your head and wonder. This illustrates that truth is often stranger than fiction (or at least, more interesting). Again, Linden has vowed to tell his story for the rest of his life (or until someone shows up at his door and whacks him). Does anyone have the right to delete another person from history? No person or group is important enough to modify history.
- If anyone tries to sue Linden to shut him up, he’ll probably go broke hiring lawyers, as so many people do. But, that’s ok, the story will just get bigger. News media is funny that way. The news media is hungry, hungry, hungry for stories and drama, especially stories about little man versus big man. There is nothing worse for the media than a slow news day. So, if someone wants to sue Linden, that’s fine, again everyone will spend money and the story will just get bigger. Ponder this: Imagine having to worry about getting sued by folks because you helped them succeed (somehow causing them embarrassment and bringing them 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 wants his son Bryan (Linden’s greatest friend), his family and his friends to know, in the final, standing version of this story, that he did something outstanding and noteworthy in his life, something that touched millions of people around the world and gave them entertainment. If this article is the only way to get that message out, then: “it is what it is”. Plus, this story may help someone else avoid pain and pitfalls, who knows. This story is all Linden has. He’s not trying to rain on the parades of any rich folk (God knows rich folk have suffered enough, oh, the suffering). He’s not trying to destroy anyone here, it’s not Linden’s nature, but focusing on his own story.
- When Linden Hudson was working on the “Eliminator” album project, 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 he thought he was working for friends. Little did Linden know how much success was ahead for the team. And, little did Linden know just how much misery was ahead for him.
-Yes, the “Eliminator” album totally went through the roof right from the start. It blew up. It was literally the biggest thing on the planet for a space in time. Please read all the Linden Hudson press clippings below and listen and learn. Then think about the other people in the music world who have had the same thing happen to them (there are many, 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). Linden is well versed in some of these other sad stories, and you should be too. Just stop, and think, and feel their pain for a moment, keep it in the back of your mind, then go about your day.
- Linden’s effort to tell this story is generating a few results. Some well known rock and roll magazines around the world (UK, etc) are beginning to mention Linden when discussing the famous “Eliminator” album (in blogs too), and a large number of radio stations (around the world) are mentioning Linden on their ZZ Top reference pages. So, it’s happening. The details of the story of this legendary work of pop art (Eliminator Album) are now changing, as they should. Linden is proud of his contribution to this work. Again, he doesn’t want all the credit, just whatever belongs to him. Linden Hudson knows first hand that the ZZ boys worked hard out there on the road, and, Linden had some interesting times working in their space. But, Linden did some hard work too. The truth should always be there for those who want it or need it. Linden Hudson, sound engineer and songwriter (yes, famous songwriter), lives alone in a suburb of Houston, Texas USA.
- (please keep reading)
PRESS EXCERPTS (BELOW):
ACCORDING TO THE BOOK “SHARP DRESSED MEN – ZZ TOP” (HYPERION BOOKS)(BY DAVID BLAYNEY, ZZ TOP’S STAGE AND PRODUCTION MANAGER OF 15 YEARS): sound engineer Linden Hudson co-wrote much of the material on the album (Eliminator) as a live-in high-tech music teacher to Beard and Gibbons.
FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: “Got Me Under Pressure” Billy (Gibbons, ZZ’s lead guitarist) and Linden Hudson wrote and recorded this on a demo tape in one afternoon without Dusty or Frank around. (Dusty and Frank are the bass player and drummer for ZZ Top).
FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: (page 227): “Legs” Linden Hudson introduced the pumping synthesizer effect.
FROM THE BOOK: “TRES HOMBRES — THE STORY OF ZZ TOP” BY DAVID SINCLAIR (WRITER FOR THE LONDON TIMES): “Linden Hudson, the engineer/producer who lived at Beard’s house (ZZ’s drummer) had drawn their attention to the possibilities of the new recording technology and specifically to the charms of the straight drumming pattern, as used on a programmed drum machine. On “Eliminator” ZZ Top unveiled a simple new musical combination that cracked open a vast worldwide market”.
FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: “Linden remained at Frank’s (ZZ Top drummer) place as ZZ’s live-in engineer throughout the whole period of “Eliminator” rehearsals, and was like one of the family… …as he (Linden) worked at the controls day after day, watching the album (Eliminator) 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 the recording studio gadgetry that 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”.
FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: “Linden found himself in the position of being Billy’s (Billy Gibbons, ZZ TOP 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.”
FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: “ELIMINATOR went on to become a multi-platinum album, just as Linden had predicted when he and Billy were setting up the 124-beat tempos and arranging all the material. Rolling Stone eventually picked the album as number 39 out of the top 100 of the 80s. 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.”
THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE: Feb 1984: “Houston songwriter and producer Linden Hudson has joined Broadcast Music Inc (BMI) as a songwriter affiliate. The former University Of Houston student had his song “Thug” recorded by ZZ Top on their recent ELIMINATOR album.”
FROM THE BOOK: “ZZ TOP — BAD AND WORLDWIDE” (ROLLING STONE PRESS, WRITTEN BY DEBORAH FROST): “Eventually they decided to use the song (“Thug” by Linden Hudson) on “Eliminator”. They (ZZ Top) and Bill Ham (ZZ’s manager) refused to discuss the question of royalties or album points with him (Linden). They didn’t deny he wrote the song”.
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.”
FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: “He (Linden) 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.”
FROM ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE (Late 80′s): “It’s an unfortunate situation,” added J.W. Williams, a spokesman for the band (ZZ Top). “Here’s a guy (Linden) who was a friend. It’s hard to explain…”
FROM THE BOOK: “ZZ TOP – BAD AND WORLDWIDE” (ROLLING STONE PRESS, WRITTEN BY DEBORAH FROST): “Linden was always doing computer studies. It was something that fascinated him, like studio technology. He thought he might understand the components of popular songs better if he fed certain data into his computer. It might help him understand what hits of any given period share. He first found out about speed; all the songs he studied deviated no more than one beat from 120 beats per minute. Billy immediately started to write some songs with 120 beats per minute. Linden helped out with a couple, like “Under Pressure” and “Sharp Dressed Man”. Someone had to help Billy out. Dusty and Frank didn’t even like to rehearse much. Their studio absence wasn’t really a problem though. The bass and drum parts were easily played with a synthesizer or Linn drum machine.”
FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: “After his quantitative revelations, Linden informally but instantly became ZZ Top’s rehearsal hall theoretician, producer, and engineer.”
FROM THE BOOK: “ZZ TOP – BAD AND WORLDWIDE” (ROLLING STONE PRESS, WRITTEN BY DEBORAH FROST): “Linden Hudson didn’t mind paying for his own spareribs but he wasn’t credited for his contributions to El Loco, when ZZ Top used the recording he had engineered of “Groovy Little Hippie Pad” because the Memphis version wasn’t as good as the demo cut in Frank Beard’s home studio. He took Billy’s word that they hadn’t been able to get his name to the printer’s on time. It seemed a bit strange, given that Gibbons had plenty of time to check and approve anything so important as cover art and credits. After all, Hudson was part of the family.”
THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE: (1992 article): “In 1986, Hamstein Music settled out of court on a dispute over ownership of the song “Thug,” said a Houston attorney, who represented songwriter Linden Hudson. The song was recorded on ZZ Top’s multiplatinum ELIMINATOR album.”
FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: “Is anybody out there looking for a songwriter/producer/engineer with ghost credits for a platinum album behind him? If so, I know just the man to recommend to you. 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”.
FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: “the boys (ZZ Top) were trying to explain to Bill Ham (ZZ Top Manager) that Linden was the studio architect and integral to making the whole electronic concoction (ZZ’s Studio) work properly. He had built it; moreover, it was his direct technical assistance that had produced what “Eliminator” was proving to be.”
FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: “Probably the most dramatic development in ZZ Top recording approaches camed 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 (Linden) for the album, unknown to the world at large and at first even to Dusty and Frank.
FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: (page 200): There was also a song entitled “Thug” which was entirely Linden’s baby, top to bottom, and unfortunately this was to become an issue that permanently ended Linden’s association with ZZ Top. Linden wrote the song when nobody else was around. Billy heard Linden playing it when he arrived at Frank’s one day and thought it was pretty hot.
FROM THE BOOK: “SHARP DRESSED MEN — ZZ TOP” BY DAVID BLAYNEY: (page 199): “The next day, when Frank and Dusty were actually in the studio instead of out and about, Ham arrived just to hear “Under Pressure” played in the flesh by ZZ Top. When he asked them to play it, Frank and Dusty looked at Ham like two bulls at a bastard calf. What in the hell did he mean, play under pressure? ZZ Top always played under pressure! Neither of them had the faintest idea what Ham was talking about until Billy and Linden filled them in later. It was quite a while before Ham discovered that Frank and Dusty had not been around for the demo recording of “Under Pressure”, if he ever learned the true situation.
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”
THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE (By Marty Racine / Rick Mitchell, 1992): In 1986, Hamstein Music settled out of court on a dispute over ownership of the song “Thug,” said Houston attorney David Showalter, who represented songwriter Linden Hudson. The song was recorded on ZZ Top’s multiplatinum “Eliminator” album.
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.
THE HOUSTON PRESS (Feb 1996): “Linden Hudson started in the music business in 1970 as a rock and roll disc jockey and went on to work as a studio engineer and develop a friendship with ZZ Top’s Beard. Hudson also occasionally wrote a few songs, one of which, “Thug,” found its way onto Top’s 1983 album Eliminator — without Hudson’s being credited as the author.”
CONTACTMUSIC.COM: ”In 1983, they released ‘Eliminator’ which garnered much success with singles ‘Gimme All Your Lovin” and ‘Legs’ becoming top 40 hits and the album selling 10 million copies; however, there was also much controversy when their former stage manager David Blayney alleged that their sound engineer Linden Hudson co-wrote many of the songs from the album and, even though ZZ Top still deny the extent of his involvement, they were forced to pay Hudson $600,000 due to his copyright of song ‘Thug’. It is also thought that their single ‘Under Pressure’ was written entirely by Gibbons and Hudson using a synthesizer instead of a bass guitar and a drum machine without Dusty or Frank’s knowledge.”
FAMOUS101.COM: “Eliminator” is a studio album of the American rock band ZZ Top. It was released on March 23, 1983 and topped the charts worldwide. Its lyrics were co-written by the band’s sound engineer Linden Hudson while the band denied it. After a five-year court battle, Hudson proved that he held the copyright to the song “Thug” included in “Eliminator.”
HOUSTONEAGLE (dot Com): Eliminator garnered widespread critical acclaim. Praise centered on its songwriting and use of synthesizers. Often considered ZZ Top’s most popular release, the record has been featured in several publications’ best albums lists.
Rolling Stone: “With 1983′s Eliminator, ZZ Top made a quantum leap from best-kept secret to massive stardom”.
Interesting Note: A 300 word article/review was released by Rolling Stone in 2008 in which the writer praised Frank Beard for his drumming on “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Give Me All You Lovin”, both songs were on the Eliminator album. It’s strange to see an article like this from Rolling Stone. Inside track journalists all know full well that Frank did not play on those songs, we repeat, it was a digital drum machine. Frank was only allowed to do tom tom overdubs. This was known decades ago. Linden was in the room when Frank Beard discovered that he had been replaced on the Eliminator album by digital sampling. It resulted in a near fist fight. Just trying to keep history straight. For those who do not believe Linden, that the drums on that album are digital, read further and you’ll find that it’s easy to prove. In fact, there are many ways to pr oove it, both technically and by witnessed accounts. Why is this important? Maybe it’s not. But, it’s interesting and educational, if nothing else. Do you need truth, or do you just like to be spoon fed hype and fluff? Ignorance or knowledge?
LINDEN IS IN WIKIPEDIA
Linden is in Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliminator_(album)
Linden is also in Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legs_(song)
Linden is also in Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Got_Me_Under_Pressure
Linden is also in Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_plagiarism
Linden is also in Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Loco
RADIO STATIONS WHICH INCLUDE LINDEN IN THEIR
ONLINE ZZ TOP ARTIST BIO SEGMENT
(This is a few of the many):
94.1 CJOC (Canada): http://www.cjocfm.com/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
LINCS FM 102 (UK): http://www.lincsfm.co.uk/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
JACKfm 107.7 (UK): http://www.jackfmswindon.com/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
106 JACKfm (UK) : http://www.106jack.com/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
PULSE2 1530 am (UK): http://www.pulse2.net/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
Rother FM 96.1 (UK): http://www.rotherfm.co.uk/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
PEAK fm 107.4 (UK): http://www2.peakfm.net/music/artist/zz-top/bio/fm
Thewave 96.4 fm (UK): http://www.thewave.co.uk/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
ThePulse 102.5 fm (UK): http://www.pulse.co.uk/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
DearneFM 102 & 97.1 (UK): http://www.dearnefm.co.uk/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
Absolute Radio (UK): http://www.absoluteradio.co.uk
TowerFM 107.4 (UK): http://www.towerfm.co.uk/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
WireFM 107.2 (UK): http://www.wirefm.com/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
Revolution 96.2 (UK): http://www.therevolution962.com/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
HoustonsEagle FM (Texas USA): http://www.houstonseagle.com/
3 FM (Isle Of Man) : http://www.three.fm/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
Rock 104.5 (Alberta Canada): http://www.rock104.ca/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
Touch FM 102 (UK): http://www.102touchfm.co.uk/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
Rugby FM 107.1 (UK) : http://www.rugbyfm.co.uk/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
Hot Radio 102.8 (UK): http://www.hot1028.com/
Signal 1 102.6 fm (UK): http://sig1.uk.gmstaging.net/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
Planet Rock Radio (UK): http://plrk.uk.gmstaging.net/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
Rock 6070 (France): http://www.rock6070.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=67
Wish 102.4 FM (UK): http://www.wishfm.net/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
Signal 2 1170 am (UK): http://www.signal2.co.uk/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
Juice FM 107.6 Liverpool (UK): http://www.juicefm.com/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
CKFM 96.5 (Canada): http://www.ckfm.ca/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
The Breeze 96.6 (UK) : http://northdorset.thebreeze.com/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
The Breeze 106.4 (UK) : http://andover.thebreeze.com/artist/zz-top/bio/
The Breeze 107.4 (UK) : http://newbury.thebreeze.com/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
Trax FM (South Yorkshire, UK) : http://www.traxfm.co.uk/music/artist/zz-top/bio/
Oak 107 FM (UK) : http://www.oakfm.co.uk/music/zz-top/bio/
LINKS TO INTERNET ARTICLES WHICH MENTION OR DISCUSS LINDEN HUDSON
(search each page for Linden)
MORE ABOUT THE PRE-PRODUCTION PHASE OF THE “ELIMINATOR” ALBUM
(This section is a work in progress and, therefore, rambles a bit, but it is still real information.)
(Details About Linden’s Involvement With That Album)
- Since the ZZ Top “Eliminator” album was the biggest album on earth for awhile, there are lots of stories about its making (most are untrue). Linden Hudson was deeply involved in the making of this album and many of Linden’s friends have the details of the story wrong as well. 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 process which involve phases. The “Eliminator” album was a process. I (Linden) was involved in the developmental part of the process. I was the pre-production engineer for “Eliminator” and worked with Billy Gibbons for about a year on its development and planning. I lived at Frank Beard’s (ZZ drummer) house and he had gotten me to build a semi-pro recording studio in the front room. Me (Linden) and Billy (Gibbons) used a 16 track Tascam tape recorder, which was not good enough for final production, and we knew that what we were doing was “mock-up” or “developmental” (or R&D) for the “Eliminator” album project. Billy Gibbons and I (Linden) tested guitars, tested riffs, tested lyrics and constructed the tunes in Houston (except for “Give Me All Your Lovin” which was written later). For example, even the synthesizers in “Legs” were written and demo-ed by me (Linden) and Billy before Billy went to Memphis for the final recording process of “Eliminator”.
- I (Linden) still have the mixes of most of the early versions of the “Eliminator” songs and have played them for many of my friends (such as TV DINNERS which was originally called I’VE GOT PROBLEMS. I still have that recording in my archives). In fact, over the years many people have asked me to post those early Eliminator recordings on the internet for all to hear, and I won’t do it as I do not know what the legal implications of that would be (or the “dangers”, so to speak). However, the recordings I have from the pre-production and writing sessions in Houston will be retained by me in a safe place for whatever reasons (journalists have heard them, it’s not an unknown). And, again, as I’ve said, synthesizers and gimmicks for “Eliminator” were mostly worked out in Houston by me and Billy Gibbons ahead of time. Those finished pre-production tapes were played weekly for ZZ’s manager (by Billy Gibbons), and the manager wanted the final productions to sound like the pre-production versions, only with more polish (which would be the final phase).
- THEN: A copy of the pre-production mock-up tapes were sent to the very brilliant Terry Manning in Memphis. I (Linden) believe that Terry Manning is one of the greatest 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 way over-blown and embarrassing when I consider the genius and skills of Terry Manning. Terry has engineered recordings for some of the worlds most famous artists (Joe Cocker, Joe Walsh, James Taylor, Leon Russell, Jimmy Buffett, Al Green, Sam And Dave, and so many more) and Mr Manning is one of my recording studio heroes. I am not worthy Terry, full respect from me. Anyway, Terry’s the guy who took the blueprint tracks from Houston and made them incredible, both sonically and with musical improvements, and he (Terry) didn’t get the credit he deserved either. Terry Manning and Billy Gibbons re-constructed the tunes in Memphis without my help (using the pre-production tapes) in a second phase which was strategically implemented to improve and sonically perfect the album. I (Linden) want it made clear that I was not involved in the Memphis phase of the “Eliminator” album, although 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. 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. Think about it. Terry is being professional. Therefore, Terry keeps a somewhat secretive approach with regard to giving away inside information about the Eliminator project. The relationship between rock groups and their engineer is kind of like a doctor patient relationship in some ways. Some things are to be kept quiet, so to speak. For example, 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). So, in a carefully worded statement that Terry left on the internet he says: “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, there, you must read between the lines a bit. Nice try Terry (with all respect to you). I (Linden) usually feel a need to keep the business of my clients private too, but I was not treated well with regard to this Eliminator project, so I don’t mind talking about this. Bottom line: it doesn’t matter what kind of drum machine was used to track the final cuts of the album (Terry says it wasn’t a Linn, that’s cool, it doesn’t matter the brand). A drum machine is a drum machine. However, I repeat, many engineers would get fired for publicly saying that one of it’s band clients had used a drum machine. More about drum machines: In the early and mid eighties there was a list of hit songs that had been released that used drum machines (by famous artists): Billy Idol, The Cars, Devo, Hall & Oates, Prince, Steve Winwood, Paul McCartney, and on and on. And, in 1982 there were a few drum machine brands available, such as the Linn, but there were a good many Frankenstein units out there too (home made, back room digital drum computer rigs, similar to mini-mainframes made by geeks). All that reasoning doesn’t matter, there is no question on this ZZ Top drum machine matter with me. 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, it was nasty). 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’m sure you’re not mad at me for, for saying these things, in fact, you’re probably smiling. 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 by Terry): “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. It backs up what I (Linden) have already said, a hired recording engineer is a lot like a movie director who’s been hired by a big movie producer, if the producer tells his lowly director “make Tom Cruise look tall” then that freakin’ director is probably going to make Tom Cruise look tall AND that lowly director most probably will NOT give interviews to magazines about how he made Tom Cruise look tall. *** 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 HUDSON SPEAKING AGAIN): 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 guitar (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 (of the “Eliminator” album). Billy hated that Dean guitar. One day when Billy and myself (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 he was through with the Dean since it now had a broken string. But that night I put a new string on it, and 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” he whined comically as he put in on for another writing session. 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. 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 this pre-production phase was finished and it was time for Billy to go to Memphis, 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 knobs and which mic we used on the guitar amp (as his guitar tech packed the Dean guitar for the Memphis trip).
- I apologize, but let me make one more stab at the drum machine issue: When Billy and myself (Linden) mocked up the Eliminator album in pre-production we used an electronic drum machine instead of real drums and a Moog synthesizer for the bass parts. For anyone who does not believe that the “Eliminator” album used a drum machine, just get a copy of the vinyl 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.
- This has been an accurate overview of the “process” used in the pre-production of the “Eliminator” album. In the interest of accuracy, I (Linden) invite Terry Manning to correct me on anything that I’ve told incorrectly as I fully respect the man Terry Manning (he’s the best of engineers. that’s the truth). Terry added that stroke of awesome sound quality when he re-built the Eliminator album.
- A few more things about guitars and stuff with reference to Billy, I never saw him use a Mexican Peso for a pick (what a ridiculous thought, everyone just grow up). I always kept a few picks in my pocket (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. So, when Billy would ask me “hey, do you have a pick?” I was always proud to produce five or six from my pocket (his choice of red medium, yellow thin, or whatever). Without ever making a choice of which one he wanted, he’d just pick one out of my hand “thanks man”. The Mexican peso story is (in my opinion, as a close observer) just Billy Gibbons BS. Also: Amp cabin? I’m sure you’ve heard that story. Never saw that either. 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 reporters. There’s no tooth fairy either. Are some of you upset? If so, the joke is on you (of course). Any real recording engineer would know in a split second that all that kind of musing was bullshit because those things don’t work (or, are not practical) and they don’t help get a better sound. But they’re good Texas bullshit stories (if that’s what you need to get through the day, or what you want to believe). A certain Rolling Stone reporter, Deborah Frost, who was writing a book about ZZ Top interviewed me (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). When you hear a weird story, ask yourself, is this true? Believe what you want, or get smart and don’t believe those things. 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? Sadly, my opinion (based on some of the folks I’ve met) is that lots of people will believe anything that a rock star utters (oh well).
- 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, planning, taking a break, or whatever, his fingers were always playing licks. I’m sure that he plays guitar (mentally) even in his sleep.
- 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”. Well, the truth is, that bass solo is played by Billy Gibbons. Yes, it’s totally true. 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 with slight feedback, 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 “Give Me All Your Lovin” and ”TV Dinners”, which was originally working titled as: “I’ve Got Problems” (or some such title, working titles don’t mean much, things change). The entire “Eliminator” album was blessed with a bit 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 (in the business area of this thing) 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 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.
- 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. Billy held a lot of weight with the organization and, I believe, he totally could have caused it all to work out properly for me, but he didn’t. My life could have been different from then on. Billy called me his friend, but he didn’t mean it. 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. 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 act like he didn’t hear your question, and he probably will make no comment either. Billy and I (Linden) are one year apart in age, in our 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. 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 remains 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). DAVE KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON AND HE’S PROBABLY THE BEST SOURCE OF INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE ABOUT ZZ TOP’S FIRST 15 YEARS. AFTER HE 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:
(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)
REFLECTIONS, STORIES AND COMMENTS 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. And, 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 and I broke out laughing and I said “I get it”. I moved out of Frank’s house after that and into a small apartment. I missed Frank and Deb a lot. A hurricane (Hurricane Alicia, Aug 18, 1983, 115 mph winds, slowed to 90 mph as it hit Houston) 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 hurricane 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 she and Frank were still my friends. All was well. 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 a bit 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 yes and hustled to the airport. 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. Gibbons smiled and said “cool, hey stick around, 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 by 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 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 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. 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 said “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. We began working on the “Eliminator” album at 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.
- It’s true that Frank didn’t play drums on the “Eliminator” album. It ended up being a digital drum machine. He 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 to lay drums to a click track, which would later have more overdubs applied. In the end, I was actually sitting in the living room with Frank (at his house, where I lived as well) when Billy 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 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 really, super nice, custom made home stereo system (that I designed, 500 watts per channel, 200 pound Urei studio monitor speakers that I hung from the ceiling using block and tackle). 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?”. Billy stuttered, tried to explain. I left the house and took a drive. 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 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, 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. 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 by Billy (and me, Linden) was to make it dance-able in order to get a bigger audience. That sloppy, slushy, 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.
- 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 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 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 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. 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 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.
- 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. 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 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). 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 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 Dave 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 (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 (about 1979 I think). Then in 1982 me and Billy spent much of the year working on the “Eliminator” album. Billy G was hyping me every day saying “we’re just gonna kick some ass with this stuff man” (ELIMINATOR was then 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 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 out (and doing it 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? But again, nowadays I’m just trying to set the record straight. That’s all. I don’t really expect a miracle any more. 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 last month (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 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… and so on, so on, so on.
-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 he’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: Maybe Billy should invite “The Nightcaps” 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. Read further down on this page to see who “The Nightcaps” are. They were legendary Texas rock elders who were here doing this Texas rock and roll shit before most of us were, Billy was once a fan of theirs, confusing?).
LINDEN’S STORY IS NOT THE ONLY STORY OF THIS SORT
Doesn’t Linden’s story kind of remind you of the story of the song “Thunderbird” written by the legendary old Texas band called “The Nightcaps”? (link at bottom of page, read the article carefully and think about it, how do you feel about that?). Maybe it’s not a problem with you, who knows. Or, maybe it all reminds you of the Jake Holmes story (link at bottom of page, Jake why didn’t you get a lawyer long long ago? Things don’t just automatically get set right, we have to do something, talk about it, tell someone, get a lawyer, stop being afraid, whatever.) or the Anne Bredon story (link at bottom) or the story of “The Lemon Song”? Research these for yourself, there are so many more. These stories may, or may not, tend to cause some people to feel disappointment or anger. But then, on the other hand, some folks just don’t care.
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/
- Jake Holmes Story (eventual Jake Holmes vs Led Zeppelin lawsuit, wtf):
- Anne Bredon Story: http://www.warr.org/zep.html
THERE ARE MANY STORIES IN THE MUSIC BIZ LIKE THIS AND THEY’RE ALL SAD.
(Short sample list of songwriters in pain were: Willie Dixon, Howlin Wolf, Anne Bredon, The Nightcaps, Steve Perron, Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Johnson, Jake Holmes, etc.)