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ZZ Top, Eliminator



Blues, Brushes, and Beards: ZZ Top and Artistic Inspiration


In junior high, while the thought of enduring math and physics classes filled me with dread, there was one place I eagerly looked forward to escaping to: the art room. Stepping away from the rigid confines of chairs and blackboards, I found solace in a space alive with the aroma of fresh paint and the promise of creative exploration. Here, amidst spacious tables adorned with brushes, canvases, and endless possibilities, I felt truly at home.


Led by our empathetic and effortless cool teacher, Rafael, a great artist turned renowned painter, this class was where kindred spirits (mostly) gathered. Yet, our mischief sometimes overshadowed our creativity, especially when Rafael stepped out, and we turned the classroom into a canvas. One particular project tasked us with painting portraits of our classmates. Next to me sat Alex, a self-assured character who saw art class as an easy escape and was there just to pass the time and distract us. Reluctantly, he joined us on the project despite his lack of skill, drawing Rafael's attention. With a few expert touches, Rafael transformed Alex's work, much to his delight, smiling at those of us around him with eyes that clearly said “fuckers!”. However, when the school director unexpectedly visited, Alex's pride was on display. After looking at the portraits, the director commented about Alex's work, which made him smile with pride. In a moment of impulse, I publicly revealed Rafael's hand in Alex's masterpiece. Silence fell, and I found myself speechless. To Alex, if you're reading this, I sincerely apologize; that moment haunted me for years and taught me a lot. 


ZZ Top’s Eliminator album cover captivated me; it was permanently displayed in my bedroom. When Rafael asked us to choose your project, the choice was made. I brought the album to school and asked Rafael if he thought it was possible, as I deemed it unachievable. He encouraged me to try it. The work was progressing but getting messy quickly; Rafael saw that, mixed a few colors, and did a few strokes, making the projected light of the headlight perfect! Then he told me, you do the other side. That very moment showed me possibilities for art and hooked me for life, a journey that hasn’t finished and that, to this day, I am thirsty of techniques and perfection. That painting was on display on my walls until I got married. ZZ Top didn’t make it for Marilu. 


ZZ Top, the iconic American rock band, established its place in music history with a unique fusion of blues-infused rock and captivating guitar riffs. Their evolution led to the release of "Eliminator" in 1983, a pivotal moment marked by the band's embrace of synthesizers and polished production while preserving their blues-rock essence. This album expanded ZZ Top's reach, captivating loyal fans and newcomers alike. Hits like "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs" became instant classics, propelling the band to global fame and cementing their legendary status.


"Eliminator" by ZZ Top is a timeless rock masterpiece that epitomizes the spirit of 1980s music. Each track showcases the band's mastery, from electrifying guitar solos to irresistibly catchy grooves. The album's iconic cover, featuring a sleek red car and ZZ Top's trademark beards and shades, perfectly encapsulates their larger-than-life persona. With its undeniable energy and universal appeal, "Eliminator" remains essential listening for rock enthusiasts of all ages, offering a sonic journey that continues to captivate audiences worldwide.


As the years passed, I reflected on that pivotal moment from high school, haunted by its lingering impact. The incident taught me valuable lessons about honesty, empathy, and the power of our words. While the memory still resonates, it also serves as a reminder of growth and forgiveness.


As I continue trailing the journey as an artist, this experience serves as a poignant reminder of the complexities and nuances inherent in creative expression. Discovering ZZ Top's timeless classic, "La Grange," within the depths of the iconic "Eliminator" album reinforces the profound lesson that true artistic resonance transcends time and trends. It underscores the importance of delving into the depths of musical history, embracing the classics alongside the contemporary. As I navigate the twists and turns of my artistic path, I carry the invaluable insight that inspiration can be found in unexpected places.


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