ZZ Top isn’t a band we tend to look to for innovation and change; they do one thing, and they do it very, very well. But the Texas trio can still surprise us sometimes, as evidenced by their recent collaboration with the British synth-pop veterans in Depeche Mode.
The Top/Mode teamup comes in the form of a remixed version of ‘Soothe My Soul,’ the most recent single from Depeche Mode’s latest album, ‘Delta Machine.’ Released last month, ‘Soul’ received the remix treatment from a number of artists; in fact, the CD maxi-single includes no fewer than six rejiggered versions of the track — one of which was put together by ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons with producer Joe Hardy. It’s an unexpected pairing to say the least, but one that makes perfect sense in Gibbons’ eyes.
During his recent album-by-album look at the first 10 ZZ Top records, Gibbons reflected on the synthesizer-assisted sound of 1983′s ‘Eliminator’ by saying, “Bands like Depeche Mode were leading the synthesizer charge at this time. What’s interesting is, Joe Hardy and I received an invitation from them recently to remix one of their new songs, ‘Soothe My Soul.’ [Vocalist] Dave Gahan told me they were looking for a little ‘Texas mud’ to go with the electronica. Funny how things go around in circles sometimes.”