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Author Topic: The Big ZZ Top thread  (Read 72090 times)

stevieeastend

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2005, 02:22:24 am »

I can?t believe what you guys are stating here!!!!! Is this really true that all the great original stuff has been removed, replaced, destroyed??? You are kidding, aren?t you?
ZZ-Top IS one of THE inventors of our common understanding of rock?n?roll that we got today. I cannot believe that the record industry has destroyed one of their roots... This is really a bad thing!!!!

I wasn?t aware of this as I still always listen to the vinyl stuff on my longplayer and I never felt to replace all my vinyl stuff with CDs as I know what sometimes happens to the masters. I thought in america this would be different and they would care a lot more!!! Sad, sad, sad....


cheers
steveeastend

thomh

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2005, 05:32:02 am »

Speaking of vinyl, Terry. Did the original vinyl releases do justice to what was on the master tapes or did compromises have to be made when cutting?

Thanks,
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Thom

Radd 47

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2005, 01:38:39 pm »

That mexican dinner on the inside of the Tres Hombres album used to make me hungry until I found out that it sat there for a couple of hours before the photographer took the picture!

There's nothing like a good cardboard enchillada.

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compasspnt

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #33 on: March 01, 2005, 03:49:22 pm »

I LOVE that photo!  It always makes me hungry.

I have been to the actual restaurant where it was set up and photographed (forgot the name of it now) and the food was indeed as good as it appears to be.
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Bill Mueller

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #34 on: March 01, 2005, 07:27:11 pm »

For a few shows on the Tres Hombres tour we had a caterer who laid out spreads like that for the whole band and crew. I almost only eat Mexican whenever I go to LA or Houston. In a few days, I am going to Austin and I am going to eat myself unconscious.

Best Regards,

Bill
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Brian Kehew

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #35 on: March 01, 2005, 10:01:02 pm »

Bob Olhsson wrote on Mon, 28 February 2005 13:04

Brian Kehew wrote on Mon, 28 February 2005 12:53

...Bill Ham was a genius, as ZZTop OWN their own masters since 1970 (which was rarer than a horny Racquel Welch then)...
Not nearly as rare as people seem to assume!


You have some experience with Racquel we ought to know about???
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compasspnt

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2005, 07:31:36 pm »

strawberrius wrote on Tue, 15 February 2005 11:17

terry -

are u saying you played the drums on LEGS? 1 @ a time O.D. style? or a kit?
that is insane - whenever i work with drummers, there is a fill that has become known as the "zz topper"  which is any snare fill that ends with the last 2 16th notes of a bar (all over LEGS).

if this is true, then u r the creator of the famous "zz topper" fill. and although this is not a revolutionary drum fill, it has been mentioned by name in just about every rock session i have done in the last 18 years.

kudos!!!!

-john fields


Hi John,

Long time, no answer...sorry!

Well, I guess it can now be told, as long as you promise not to pass it on, but yes, I played the drums on "Legs," and in fact, almost the whole album.  As mentioned, this song was recorded in my attic, except for Billy's lead guitar and vocal, which came from a previous studio version which was unsatisfactory.  (Oh, if I could tell the whole, real story!  Maybe someday...)

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, using an AMS DMX, and very carefully manually trimming the input volume to catch every beat properly.  The hat was a sound from the Oberheim mixed with some sampled things and some white noise, then gated and triggered from an arpeggiated spike.  Then I one-at-a-time overdubbed certain other drums, some toms, and definitely cymbals.  On some of the tracks of the album, I added to the tom sounds with a Simmons electronic kit, just barely mixed under the real ones, for tom 'fatness.'  For the rest of the music track, a lot of it was programmed (step programming!) in my MemoryMoog.  There was just barely enough memory in it to get a few things, then I'd have to re-program and punch in.  I remember on one arpeg-16th sound, there was enough memory to do the whole song, but not to add any chord changes.  So I would use a cassette case to hold down the tonic key (wedged in place using the F# black key as a 'holder') and then make the temperament changes with the detuning wheel.  Not very easy, with the high technology available back then, but it forced you to be creative!  I had to set the amount of detune for one change, then record the two passages, then re-set it for another change, start from the beginning every time, and punch in on the right spot.  It took forever!  The bass I played manually on a bass instrument, then doubled it in the manner mentioned above with the Moog.  The rhythm guitar I played normally with a guitar, run into a Marshall head, then into my Harbinger speaker-booth-box (Ronny Montrose design out of SF).  The pads and angel voices came from a Yamaha DX-9...I didn't want to spring for the whole cost of a '7'!  The background vocals were done by me and Jimmy Jamison (who is now lead singer for Survivor, and can be seen on a new ad on TV, I think for Gateway or something like that).  Jimmy did a lot of great BV's for me over the years.  He can sound like whomever you put him with!

I mixed "Legs" from my Soundcraft 2" 24 track, through my Soundcraft 1200 console, onto my MCI 1/2" two track...I still have and use that 2 track today.  Works like a hay baler, but actually records well...it's the tranformerless electronics version.  The Soundcraft stuff I sold to Sun Studios, who put it into the famous old building.  U2 recorded "Angel of Harlem" on it!

As for the drum fill, I would hate to take any credit as an inventor of a fill!  Billy and I worked out most of the fills together...we were very into what type of fills would work in what places.  We were expecially fond of the one you mention, and also were trying to find places where a fill could extend into the first couple of beats of the next bar, after a normal fill would have ended.  I don't remember if we actually executed this or not...I'll have to listen to the whole Eliminator album now, just to see!

Anyway, that's some of the story.  Thanks for your interest!

Regards,

Terry
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Norwood

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2005, 07:44:27 pm »

Bill Mueller wrote on Tue, 01 March 2005 16:27

For a few shows on the Tres Hombres tour we had a caterer who laid out spreads like that for the whole band and crew. I almost only eat Mexican whenever I go to LA or Houston. In a few days, I am going to Austin and I am going to eat myself unconscious.

Best Regards,

Bill


Bill you have to check out Papasito's when you are in Austin, amazing tex-mex, also Rudy's is about the best barbecue in the world.  I could go on forever, I don't miss much about Texas(I moved to LA from Houston about 6 months ago) but I do miss the food!
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Michael Norwood
Wood Bros. Productions

Bill Mueller

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2005, 06:09:28 am »

Michael

Excellent! Thank for the tip.

Bill
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"Don't take it personally. But this shit is a science." J.J.Blair

“The Internet is only a means of communication,” he wrote. “It is not an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights. There is nothing in the criminal or civil law which legalizes that which is otherwise illegal simply because the transaction takes place over the Internet.” Irish judge, Peter Charleton

jimmyjazz

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #39 on: March 07, 2005, 10:54:01 am »

compasspnt wrote on Sun, 06 March 2005 19:31

strawberrius wrote on Tue, 15 February 2005 11:17

terry -

are u saying you played the drums on LEGS? 1 @ a time O.D. style? or a kit?
that is insane - whenever i work with drummers, there is a fill that has become known as the "zz topper"  which is any snare fill that ends with the last 2 16th notes of a bar (all over LEGS).

if this is true, then u r the creator of the famous "zz topper" fill. and although this is not a revolutionary drum fill, it has been mentioned by name in just about every rock session i have done in the last 18 years.

kudos!!!!

-john fields


Hi John,

Long time, no answer...sorry!

Well, I guess it can now be told, as long as you promise not to pass it on, but yes, I played the drums on "Legs," and in fact, almost the whole album.  As mentioned, this song was recorded in my attic, except for Billy's lead guitar and vocal, which came from a previous studio version which was unsatisfactory.  (Oh, if I could tell the whole, real story!  Maybe someday...)


Terry, this may get into the part of the story you can't tell, but I always wondered why Frank Beard seemed curiously absent on ZZ Top records as they started going ga-multi-platinum.  It was blindingly obvious, even to the barely-ZZ-Top-fans such as I, that the drums were pretty much electronic.  What happened?  I never felt the drums on earlier releases were anything but good, so it doesn't seem to me to be an issue of talent.  Was "Eliminator" really just a Billy Gibbons vanity record?
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jimmyjazz

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #40 on: March 07, 2005, 10:57:11 am »

Bill, here are a couple of different options for ___-Mex and BBQ:

*  Nueva Onda -- best breakfast tacos & migas in town
*  Fonda San Miguel -- upscale interior Mexican food, truly outstanding
*  Nuevo Leon -- best TexMex in town, in my opinion.  Cheese heaven.

*  Artz Rib House -- best pork ribs in town, bar none
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compasspnt

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #41 on: March 07, 2005, 11:11:25 am »

jimmyjazz wrote on Mon, 07 March 2005 10:54



Terry, this may get into the part of the story you can't tell, but I always wondered why Frank Beard seemed curiously absent on ZZ Top records as they started going ga-multi-platinum.  It was blindingly obvious, even to the barely-ZZ-Top-fans such as I, that the drums were pretty much electronic.  What happened?  I never felt the drums on earlier releases were anything but good, so it doesn't seem to me to be an issue of talent.  Was "Eliminator" really just a Billy Gibbons vanity record?




Definitely not a vanity record.  It was an attempt to reach ga-multi-platinum status.

However, this is indeed part of the story about which I should not speak.
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Level

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #42 on: March 07, 2005, 12:49:29 pm »

T, How is Billys health? I heard he had a rought time of it not in the too distant past... (if you don't mind)


PS:

I brought up the drum issues (first thread) on tres a while back and I thank you for your postings...we are on the same page for sure.
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compasspnt

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #43 on: March 07, 2005, 02:21:05 pm »

Level wrote on Mon, 07 March 2005 12:49

T, How is Billys health? I heard he had a rought time of it not in the too distant past... (if you don't mind)



I haven't heard anything in the past few months, so I shouldn't comment past the fact that there were some health issues at one time.  I wilkl try to follow up.
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Bill Mueller

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Re: The Big ZZ Top thread
« Reply #44 on: March 07, 2005, 07:14:29 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Mon, 07 March 2005 11:11

jimmyjazz wrote on Mon, 07 March 2005 10:54



Terry, this may get into the part of the story you can't tell, but I always wondered why Frank Beard seemed curiously absent on ZZ Top records as they started going ga-multi-platinum.  It was blindingly obvious, even to the barely-ZZ-Top-fans such as I, that the drums were pretty much electronic.  What happened?  I never felt the drums on earlier releases were anything but good, so it doesn't seem to me to be an issue of talent.  Was "Eliminator" really just a Billy Gibbons vanity record?




Definitely not a vanity record.  It was an attempt to reach ga-multi-platinum status.

However, this is indeed part of the story about which I should not speak.


Terry,

Obviously there have been some fireworks over the years. I also made a comment about Bill Ham in an earlier post that on further review seemed a little harsh. you were a gentleman and left it alone.  I appologize if I put you in a bad position. I also want to make sure that you know that I always respected Bill, more than most anyone else and on a par with Dee Anthony.

As someone who knew the band and Bill, I always wondered about the studio dynamic in the studio, if that is a more diplomatic way of putting it. Thanks for the illumination of Eliminator. I would love to learn more (within bounds) about Tres Hombres as that and Rio Grande mud were the albums we were pushing when I worked for Heil and ZZ.

Thanks again.

Bill
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“The Internet is only a means of communication,” he wrote. “It is not an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights. There is nothing in the criminal or civil law which legalizes that which is otherwise illegal simply because the transaction takes place over the Internet.” Irish judge, Peter Charleton
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