It is ironic that one of the least popular albums in the ZZ Top catalog, Tejas, nevertheless came out during the legendary “Worldwide Texas Tour “1976-77 tour, which resembled not so much a rock concert tour as a Lone Star version of Noah’s ark on wheels. “The buzzards were tethered to the backline amps on either side of me,” drawls ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard,” so when Billy (Gibbons) and Dusty (Hill) fired up the amps on the first song each night, all the buzzards started pukin’.” When the lengthy extravaganza concluded and the longhorn steers, buffalo, and rattlesnakes were rounded up for the last time, Billy, Dusty, and Frank holed up in Memphis’ Ardent Studio for the better part of 1979 making Deguello, which permanently established tonemeister Billy Gibbons’ legend among his guitar brethren everywhere.
Deguello (“dee GWAY oh”, Sp. for “no quarter, no mercy” ) contained the timeless “Cheap Sunglasses”,”I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide“, the sublime blues “A Fool for Your Stockings“, the jump blues “She Loves My Automobile” featuring the mysterious Lone Wolf Horns (!), and a whole jar of ear candy in ZZ Top’s cover of the Sam and Dave Memphis Stax standard “I Thank You“.
In this classic rock interview, Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard discuss why Dusty thinks that being a trio contributes to ZZ Top’s longevity, all the while retaining the same personnel which continues to this day, a record unsurpassed by any working band; what Billy saw as the challenges of superstardom after Eliminator; and why Frank Beard is the only member without one.
As to their fifty year legacy, Billy Gibbons says,”There’s a lot of luck, to start with. Some of these things you would like to prophesy, to plan this going a certain way. And yet it it’s always unpredictable, always probably exactly opposite what you think you’re going to d. But the first few notes that you’re rippin’, the first few chops that you’re stabbin’ at, you just don’t really know where you’re going.” –Redbeard