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“The wheels were turning, the scenery was changing, and we were having a field day playing around with these crazy machines that were making wicked sounds. The funny thing was, we had no training at all; these instruments were popping up, and we just took to them.
“That’s really the best way you can discover new sounds anyway. The first thing we did was throw away the instruction manuals, and then we started twisting knobs until we said, ‘That’s what ZZ Top should sound like.’
“Eliminator also marked the point when we paid serious attention to timing and tempos. This became a benchmark that we aspired to. Once the groove was laid down, we learned how to stand on it. That’s one of the elements that makes Eliminator stand out in a classic sense; all of those tracks were timed and tuned very tight.
“Legs and Sharp Dressed Man started with their titles – they were concepts. Gimme All Your Lovin’, which was really the first single that made it off the record, started with the music. It went through a bunch of different titles and themes; over the course of three months, we had five or six versions going on before we figured it all out.
“The heaviness of the synthesizers created a nice platform that allowed the guitar to stand on its own. I think it’s because synths could play an octave below a bass guitar; there was a nice full bed of sound that contrasted with any of my guitar parts.
“Bands like Depeche Mode were leading the synthesizer charge at this time. What’s interesting is, Joe Hardy and I received an invitation from them recently to remix one of their new songs, Soothe My Soul. Dave Gahan told me they were looking for a little ‘Texas mud’ to go with the electronica. Funny how things go around in circles sometimes.”