Billy Gibbons: My Life in 15 Songs

ZZ Top's guitarist on how the Stones, Devo and a backwoods cathouse inspired some supercharged Texas-blues classics

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"Groovy Little Hippie Pad" (1981)

I saw Devo doing a soundcheck at a Houston club, a country & western bar, of all places. I had heard their first album and kind of dug it. One of the guys in the band was playing a Minimoog, and he did this figure on it [hums a bouncy robotlike riff]. He was just noodling around. But it was enough.

What came out of that was "Groovy Little Hippie Pad" — same figure. It was a direct derivative of punk. Devo was a big influence on that album — and the B-52s as well. They had that song "Party Out of Bounds." Our song "Party on the Patio" was an extension of that. [The critic] Lester Bangs played it for some punks in New York, and they dug it. It proved we weren't just a boogie band. We had this New Wave edge.

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