Tony Marsico: When I was asked to pick my favorite album of all time I couldn’t help but choose my favorite moment in time that went hand-in-hand with it. It was the summer of ‘75 when I had just put in my time in high school, was finally free, and the road ahead was wide open. I didn’t have a plan. My future was uncertain. I was scared, but, more importantly, I was excited for what lay ahead. My only real responsibility that summer was to earn a few dollars, just enough to throw some gas in my tank and some tunes in the car stereo. The one eight-track tape that played 24/7 in my old Camaro that summer was ZZ Top’s Fandango.
My pals and I cruised many a hot summer night from Philly to the Jersey shore with that little ol’ band from Texas blasting as loud as the speakers could handle it. My older brother, Frank Marsico, had raised me right on Bob Dylan and the Band and Music from Big Pink which I’m grateful for, as I studied it hard and learned to play bass along with it. This would also prove to pay off some years later, when I did my stint with Dylan; but in ‘75 I found the sound I’d been looking for. I may have been late to the party as ZZ Top was already hitting it big, but at least I found it.
Fandango was a unique mix of live concert recordings and studio tracks. I always loved to hear a band live, in the raw, with a screaming audience, just as it went down, without any overdubs or gimmicks. If a band can pull it off live as a power trio- guitar, bass, and drums- well, that says it all to me. Their raw, hard-driving, kick ass sound- part Texas blues, part boogie rock- hit a nerve with me.
Most kids growing up in Philly heard the Beach Boys on the radio, and dreamt about what it would be like to live and surf in sunny Southern California. I, however, was more interested in Texas back then. Texas was exotic to me. In fact, everything about ZZ Top was exotic to me…the desert, the cattle, the cactus, and those beards on those fellas. Note: it would take me a few years to get to tour Texas with my band (Cruzados, in 1985) but it was worth the wait.
The song that was the soundtrack to my life that summer so long ago was “Tush.” From the opening guitar riff, I was hooked. What Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard were doing wasn’t really anything different than the simple blues and rock and roll I loved, but they definitely put their own glorious stamp on it. Their basic, no frills, perhaps even dumb-downed lyrics, hit home with me too, and set the mood for my summer of fun.
To this day, if I’m cruising along the 101 and “Tush” comes on the radio, I can promise you, the windows are coming down, the volume is going up, and I’ll be singing along to it at the top of my lungs no matter how stupid I might look to other drivers on the highway. “I ain’t askin’ for much, I said, Lord, take me downtown, I’m just lookin’ for some tush.”
Cruzados Man Wants to do the Fandango: New Cruzados album She’s Automatic is out August 13 via Scamco.
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