Welcome Linden Hudson of ZZ Top Fame!

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Linden Odell Hudson, Oct 8, 2021.

  1. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    I know how Frank felt at the very instant that he found he was "eliminated" on the Eliminator album. I was at Franks house and sitting about feet from Frank and Billy when Billy first played the first song for Frank from Eliminator. Frank jumped up in Billy's face with his fists clenched "who's that ****ing drummer?" he yelled. I left the room.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2021
  2. frank3si

    frank3si Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Castle DE USA
    Welcome to the forum here, Linden. I'm sure you have some interesting thoughts.

    For those who may not be familiar with Linden: 'In early 2013 Billy Gibbons began to break his silence about Linden's involvement with ZZ Top. In an interview with rock journalist Joe Bosso of MusicRadar-Dot-Com, Billy Gibbons said: "We had befriended somebody who would become an influential associate, a guy named Linden Hudson. He was a gifted songwriter and had production skills that were leading the pack at times. He brought some elements to the forefront that helped reshape what ZZ Top were doing, starting in the studio and eventually to the live stage. Linden had no fear and was eager to experiment in ways that would frighten most bands. But we followed suit, and the synthesizers started to show up on record." '

    And that's the tip of the iceberg.
     
  3. 99thfloor

    99thfloor Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    Welcome to the forum Linden! :cheers:

    I think I am not alone in wanting to hear as much as you are at liberty to tell about your work with the band!

    What you describe there is pretty much the same story that is told in David Blaney's Sharp Dressed Men book, that Frank didn't know he wasn't on the record until he heard the finished album, which is hard to understand, how does that situation happen...?
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2021
  4. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    I can answer as much as folks want to know (a little at a time) it's late and Im old, I'll write tomorrow and so on. You are correct that it seems to be strange. But real life is strange, especially around Gibbons and company. I can only tell folks up to the release of Eliminator, as I had to leave after that album was released. Yes David Blayney interviewed me many times for his book, but he knew them well himself as he was their first roadie and was their stage manager for 15 years. RIP Dave. At the time of El Loco and preproduction of Eliminator I lived at Franks house and built a demo recording studio there. There where months were spent pre producing Eliminator then Terry Manning redid some of our demos and finished some others for the final recording in Memphis. I just one point of view, but I was inside the situation for a few years. The Eliminator project was bizarre in so many ways and I got the shaft. I was Eliminated and so was Frank, but Frank thinks I caused him to be Eliminated, however there's lots of confusion and so forth when in close proximity to Gibbons. More to come.
     
  5. marklamb

    marklamb Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC
    I remember reading many years ago that Billy had commented to someone that he thought Franks drumming on El Loco was sloppy in places. Don’t know if that counts for anything regarding the Eliminator sessions or not. I always thought Franks drumming on El Loco was fantastic.
     
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  6. JulesRules

    JulesRules Operational, partially functional

    Location:
    Germany
    Welcome to the forum from me too! We actually have several ZZ Top discussions around here, like this one.
    What I'm most interested in - how much did you write on Eliminator? We know about "Thug", and from what I read of your postings, you also talk about "Got Me Under Pressure", "Sharp Dressed Man", "Legs", "Dirty Dog" and "I Got the Six" (with the lyrics apparently by all four of you). Is it fair to assume you had a hand in creating every song on the album? It does sound cohesive and different from the types of songs on the previous albums.
    I think it's a step down from his previous work (and all the percussion over the songs probably helps to obscure it a bit), but the live performances from the tour show that he was still a good drummer.
     
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  7. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    Well, I don't want to spend every talk session here talking about Frank, because the whole story was weird and complicated. One thing that bothers me was that Frank and I were best friends. Then after all this trouble went down he turned against me, I was to blame. It's hard for me to understand especially since his band suddenly were superstars (I don't take all the credit, only what's mine) and Frank got rich and had a job for 50 years. His ego couldn't handle being replaced (to a great degree) by drum machinery. Management (Bill Ham) didn't even know at first what was going on, or it would have never happened. When management realized Frank was not on the album (mostly) they freaked out and threw me under the bus. Management wanted the band and management to have all the credit and all the money. I'll also say, about Terry Manning, he's a genius and a nice guy, but he's in a non-disclosure position on these topics and he was part of the ZZ Top team and loyalty and he's been urged to keep secrets (trust me on that). So, although Terry is my hero and I was proud to be in a workstream with him, he has to some degree helped to cover up my story. Back to Frank, think of a big rock star ego, suddenly get embarrassed (blame Gibbons for guiding the situation) and just one little point about Frank: what about the tons of drum endorsements he could lose if the truth was known. And, yes Frank is a fantastic drummer, but that ZZ thing was a mesh of what I call flavored slushiness, it's artistic but some studio peeps would just tend to clean things up to help commercial quality. That's just a discussion, who really knows. Just sayin and trying to answer questions, and I try to paint the story well for people to help solve confusion because there are two stories, mine, and theirs. Although Billy has felt guilty in recent years and said some nice things about me, but it's all his fault, I got used by him and thrown under the bus. I'm 73 now, it still is a problem in my mind, Billy could have been real and not created a mess (for me and Frank and whoever else got hurt).

    Recently I found this story and it illustrates who Gibbons is and shows there were drum machines used (right from Billy's mouth, although drum machines were used):
    As Al Jourgensen tells Dave Everley in the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, he was in Houston, Texas in 1990 to play a club called Numbers with his side band Revolting Cocks when he received word from the club owner that Billy Gibbons wanted to meet him.
    “Gibbons pulled up in a 1934 Mercury, wearing a white suit,” recalls Jourgensen. “Me and Mikey [Scaccia, RevCo guitarist] got in and we were just flabbergasted: ‘It’s Billy ****ing Gibbons, in a white suit, with the beard, in the middle of the day.’”
    Gibbons told the pair that he was a fan.
    “I love what you’re doing,” he said to the astonished duo. “I want to take you out to dinner.”
    As Jourgensen remembers, Gibbons took Scaccia and himself to an Italian restaurant, with the RevCo duo still in disbelief as to how their day was unfolding.
    “I finally asked him: ‘Why are we here?’” says Jourgensen. “And he goes: ‘Well, I figure I owe you a dinner, because my career kind of hit a rough patch there, but now we’re selling records hand over fist. The reason is because we switched over to programmed drums, and all the drum samples we got were from Ministry and Revolting Cocks songs’.”
    “We just freaked out,” Jourgensen admits, “it was such a rock-god moment. With all the egos and lawyers in the music business, it was pretty ballsy of him to say: ‘Yeah, I just ripped off all your ****, I’m gonna buy you dinner.’ That was good enough for me.” ++ (There you go, Billy Gibbons chose to tell people he uses a drum machine, and where he got the drum samples, jeez).
     
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  8. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    And please understand, there's a difference between "great live drumming" and "great studio drumming". It has to sink in, but it's simply true. And core fans learned to love ZZ by seeing them live, and, core fans are sure they own the soul of their favorite band, but the band wants to be BIG.
     
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  9. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    Were the ZZ boys equal? : I'll comment on that since I was in the middle of it all for awhile. Let me get more specific: I lived at Franks house, built a demo recording studio in his house and manned it, went on the road sometimes at the invite of Billy, and helped Billy with material (although I was not a ZZ employee, never signed a non disclosure form, Ham didn't know what I was up to nor did I, I never heard the word Eliminator until the album hit the streets) . So, from my point of view: Frank and Dusty were not as important as Billy, he was their little "in the spotlight" star. But they tried to act like equals. However, Frank was always in fear of doing something wrong and getting reprimanded or worse. Billy could do mostly what he wanted to (that's why he was secretly manipulating the Eliminator projects in lots of ways). Billy had to play tricks on Ham (and everybody) in order to move in directions. He played tricks on me, it's dishonest and caused problems Billy never even dreamed of. So, bottom line: they were not all created equal. Billy was the favorite child, the center of attention, special one.
     
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  10. Stillin Rockville

    Stillin Rockville Forum Resident

    Location:
    a farm in Iowa
    Billy always comes off as a guy who likes it when people don't quite understand him. I can see where that would make him awfully difficult to deal with at times.
     
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  11. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    I'll try to throw light on another question: How much of Eliminator did I write or co-write? : Well, some writers have given me too much credit and it's reflected badly on me I something think. In my mind the album was really pushed along by Billy, me (Linden) and Terry Manning. I was involved in helping Billy with 5 songs (I think, it's been a long time), we wrote with drum machine and bass synth. I manned the studio gear as well (that was easy) but I found myself helping with lyrics and guitar sounds etc. It was easier for Billy to get writing and invention done by just working with me rather than trying to get the band together (which happened on occasion). Reality is: You're a rock star who wants badly to a superstar, you just got signed to Warner Bros, you have a deadline for an album (a blockbuster hopefully) , it's hard to get your own band interested (road weary), there's this guy living at Frank's swimming in the pool and he's an ex radio DJ and a pretty good recording engineer, that's the natural place to settle for Gibbons. It was working, Billy used me, Frank even used me but he thinks I caused trouble (confusing? it's because Ham blamed Frank for the Thug problem). Isn't it funny when things finally "blow up multi platinum" everybody is on the rag and they gotta blame someone for something. People panic when big success hits and some goes under the bus. I was a threat, someone is going to steal some of our glory and money, he's a traitor a spy what's he doing around here? It's confusing, everyone is correct, this doesn't make sense, and guess what, it doesn't make sense. Billy knows it but he's hungry for spotlights.
     
  12. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    He goes out of his way to be a screwball. He tells stories a different way constantly. He says good things about someone but doesn't have his money where his mouth is (so to speak). In early 80s Frank often warned me about Billy, but I was young and not paying attention. As for Dusty, he was super nice to me always.
     
  13. Ryan Lux

    Ryan Lux Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, ON, CA
    Thanks for the fascinating insight!

    Moving away from the personal for a moment, how did you program those drums? I was stunned to find out they were programmed (usually not hard to tell). That couldn't have been easy, in 1982 no less!
     
  14. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    There are lots of questions that have built up over the years, questions from left and right and everywhere. And, Im attention deficit so trying to tell a complicated story in pieces is difficult, so I'm trying. Im not a bad guy in this story, but Ive been badmouthed, but mostly by Ham (when he was alive) and by Frank (who was my best friend, but is now my worst hater). I had fun in the situation right up until I got screwed then badmouthed and ejected from the kingdom. Something to alway bear in mind: Eliminator sold as many albums as all their other albums combined. It went Diamond (platinum times 10) in the USA right away. By now it has sold 20 to 27 million copies. I have no platinum or even gold hanging on my walls. Frank says "that whole thing with Linden was a dissappointment". Which part Frank? The part where suddenly one of your albums sold 20 or 30 times what the last album sold? At least you're employed Frank, and Im not. But, it's 2021.
     
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  15. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    Please note, on the final recording of Eliminator, the drums were programmed by Terry Manning. I just got the digi drums in on the pre-production/writing phase. We most just had to use digital drums if we wanted to write demos, it's better than no drums (sometimes way better). When Billy and I created a demo such as Under Pressure, I would make a drum track with a Linn drum machine, then Billy would do a first rough rhythm track which sometimes would be re done later, as the first guitar track was just playing along on top of drum machine (click track sort of). Then Id put a simple synth bass on that (basic, Id punch it together because Im not a keyboard play, programming synth sounds was easy because I was a technician (synths were reportedly new, but guess what, they've been around a long time, it was called organ). I did put the pulsing synth on with a technique by laying solid synth tone down and gating it with a high hat signal from the drum machine. It was quickie sequencing. Although I did have a sequencer that I made from a radio shack computer with machine language. But that was no fun, gating a tone was quick. I have posted some of the original tracks from Franks house and you can hear variations, rawness, etc. Look on Youtube under ZZ Top rehearsal tapes. Or: (1) ZZ TOP "ELIMINATOR ALBUM" ORIGINAL REHEARSAL TAPES - YouTube OR: (1) ZZ Top - "I Got The Six" Original Rehearsal Tape (Eliminator Song) - YouTube These samples were on a tape that I found in a junk box, an analogue cassette (a 2 buck cassette) and I was surprised at the quality in headphones. There are many people who say some of it sounds better than the final album. Its neither here nor there for me at this point, but it's gotta being at least interesting to hear.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2021
  16. Instant Dharma

    Instant Dharma Spray paint!!! Avoid breathing the vapors

    Location:
    CoCoCo, Ca
    Damn, its always seemed apparent they were all in cahoots, but as we now know things are not always as they seem. It does make a lot of sense now, sorry you got screwed Lindon. Your role in kinda (helping to) reinvent(ing) the wheel has not gone unnoticed by true fans.

    Its also interesting to note the parallel undertaking happening by Jethro Tull, who started moving in a similar pattern around the same
    Time.
     
  17. spice9

    spice9 Senior Member

    Location:
    New York, NY
    Hi Linden,

    ZZ's always been one of my favorite bands. Seen them going back to 1975. Genius band. So your insights are wonderful. I have a couple of questions if I may...

    1. Were you an employee of the band, and in what capacity?
    2. How could you not receive credit for helping write songs?
    3. When Eliminator exploded wasn't the band thankful for your help?
    4. Did you go on tour with the band?
    5. When you were working with Billy wasn't there any understanding about your competition?

    Hopefully you will continue to enlighten us with your memories! Sorry it didn't end well for you. I guess that's probably par for the course with rock stars.
     
  18. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    More insight: Toward the end of El Loco writing, I got involved (finally getting the studio functioning) in Hippie Pad. Billy was thinking "we'll cut stuff at Franks then just take the 16 track tascam to Memphis and mix. I told him "this is a demo studio" and Memphis has real gear in the millions. "I don't know" was his attitude. I was surprised when I discovered that the tracks I recorded in Houston on Hippie Pad did get mixed and placed on El Loco. The percussion and simple synthesizer tracks were even played by me (I got no credit for anything, Frank even said he did the percussion, but I did, and I did those OD tracks when they were on the road for a few days). Gibbons came over when he returned and asked if Id noodled with Hippie Pad. I played it with my percussion and synth and he was overjoyed, it surprised me. I was hoping we were just going to be the demo folks and not the mastering peeps. I wasn't an employee, just a housesitter dog feeder pool swimmer. I wanted to be involved but hey "hire me, pay me, credit me, what's the deal?"
     
  19. JulesRules

    JulesRules Operational, partially functional

    Location:
    Germany
    I get that but as I said in another thread on here, Frank's drumming on Degüello is very good in a "studio" way (according to Terry, this was achieved by only keeping his drums from the first recordings and re-dubbing everything else).
    I guess "Gimme All Your Lovin'", "I Need You Tonight", "If I Could Only Flag Her Down" and "Bad Girl" came about without your involvement as a writer then... makes sense, these songs are in a somewhat different style. But excuse the pedantry ;) as that leaves seven songs which I've seen you talk about or being mentioned with:

    Got Me Under Pressure
    Sharp Dressed Man (though I've only read about that one in the Deborah Frost quote - maybe misattributed?)
    I Got the Six
    Legs
    Thug
    TV Dinners
    Dirty Dog
    Only on "Hippie Pad" or any other tracks too? There's percussion all over El Loco - masses of cowbells on one track, shaker on another, and so on.
     
  20. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    You asked: How could you not receive credit for helping write songs?
    Comments: Well, that's the hell of what actually happened. Gibbons (and probably Ham) have done this to folks several times. Such as Francine. Steve Perone and Kenny Cordray wrote it, both are deceased, Kenny lived long enough to fight for years for any money or credit (similar to my situation). I knew those guys and have voice interviews of Kenny Cordray telling me his story. That's not nice. There are other victims. So I ask the same question as you: How could I not receive credit? Well, I don't know, ask Billy.
     
  21. Gus Tomato

    Gus Tomato Stop dreamin’ and start drivin’ Stevie!

    Location:
    Cork
    Hey Linden, it’s an absolute pleasure to be reading your posts - it’s quite a treat having you here!

    Could I ask if you were involved in ‘Afterburner’ or the controversial ‘Six Pack’ remixes? Or did you finish working with the band (or Billy) after ‘Eliminator’?
     
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  22. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    I working to the get studio wired, so I only got in at the end of writing/pre-pro if Hippie Pad. Billy asked me about the other stuff (some of it) but that's all. Hippie pad got our feet wet and kickstarted some confidence in the home studio (especially for demos, that was what I was thinking).

    Frank was good on previous albums, but there were new things on the horizon when Billy got intense about Eliminator, El Loco wasn't doing well and he was now on Warner Brothers, he was concerned, If Eliminator hadn't done so incredibly well, they might have been a patio band at a steakhouse.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2021
  23. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    Billy (in private) would tell me how much I helped but I was not trusting him when the album came out and I realized I was left at the dock. Dusty once told me right as I was about to move out of the house "thanks Linden, you've changed ZZ Top". He was nice to me. Just part of the crew saying thumbs up.
     
  24. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    Ive been asked: why didn't you work on the whole Eliminator album? Billy left for Memphis after 6 or so were in the demo can. My gut answers: Billy had deadlines and there was his buddy Terry with open slots in his schedule. AND: I believe there were other partial songs in the can from previous Memphis sessions. Just remember, I was not an employee, just a musical/writer/demo playmate. I had no clout, I was apparently a secret, I was naive, was young. Guess what, because of the way Billy operates no one really knows whats going on sometimes not even him.

    Some people get the stuff that me (Linden) and Terry Manning mixed up or confused. So think of it like: I'm (Linden) was involved in Houston and Terry was involved in Memphis and everything else was happening in Billy's head and he had to be sneaky because of all the folks who were his boss (Ham, the label, etc)
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2021
  25. Linden Odell Hudson

    Linden Odell Hudson Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    sugar land texas
    I posted some of the demo/writer tapes to clearly illustrate that I was involved in writer demos. These tapes were pre-Manning, I helping to show who was who. The demos that I made are also Very interesting and informative.
     

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