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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"Tush" (1975)

We were in Florence, Alabama, playing in a rodeo arena with a dirt floor. We decided to play a bit in the afternoon. I hit that opening lick, and Dave Blayney, our lighting director, gave us the hand [twirls a finger in the air]: "Keep it going." I leaned over to Dusty and said, "Call it 'Tush.'"

[The Texas singer] Roy Head had a flip side in 1966, "Tush Hog." Down South, the word meant deluxe, plush. And a tush hog was very deluxe. We had the riff going, Dusty fell in with the vocal, and we wrote it in three minutes. We had the advantage of that dual meaning of the word "tush" [grins]. It's that secret blues language — saying it without saying it.

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