The momentum launched by Eliminator propelled ZZ Top through the rest of the ’90s. The next several years found the boys digging deeper into the new technology. And with a bigger budget, the trio’s live shows became Vegas-worthy extravaganzas.
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"One of the key pieces to [ZZ Top’s] sound is the fact that as musical instrument manufacturers starting inventing new contraptions to play on, we embraced them with a sense of experimentation,” remembers Billy Gibbons with a laugh. “Of course, as the old saying goes, we instantly threw the manuals out the window. So a lot of that stuff was purely experimental, and at the same time we didn’t hesitate to embrace it. It was really interesting.
Changes ahead: There was a new decade underway and a new musical wave, with clothes and haircuts as electrified as the tech-heavy songs being played — or programmed. There was also a new TV channel that played music-video clips all day and night, so those clothes and haircuts became that much more important. How could three boogie blues players already in their thirties (and wearing that long facial hair) find a place among the slickly presented and produced musicians of this new generation?