• Willems Vincent

Albums | Billy F Gibbons, Hardware


Tijd om de kids eens te leren wat een sterke sound is! Geen poppy tunes, maar sterk gitaarspel in combinatie met een doorleefde stem. Haal de luchtgitaren en whisky maar boven want hier is Billy F Gibbons met Hardware. En wie geïnteresseerd is in het verhaal achter Hardware, kan bij 'lees' terecht voor een interview met Billy F Gibbons.


In My Lucky Card voel je meteen de vibes van dit album: tijdloze rock rechtstreeks uit de woestijn. Met She's On Fire kunnen we volop genieten van de dirty love sound die Billy F Gibbons ons presenteert. Rauwe, diepe vocals die "She's All Right" in je oor fluisteren. More-more-more brengt meer van dit maar dan met hardere lyrics. Shuffle, step & slide is een meer ingetogen nummer met een gratis meegeleverde uitleg hoe te dansen wanneer er veel familie aanwezig is. Ook een slow jam vinden we terug op Hardware, onder de ronkende titel Vagabond Man. "You gotta get down if you want to get high", met stomende zinnen zoals deze kan de titel niet minder zijn dan Spanish Fly. Laat de boxen maar knallen terwijl je geniet van je avondritje in de wagen. Back to the 60's samen in de mix met surftunes en rock, damn nice sound. Ook de videoclip van West Coast Junkie kan me bekoren. Een diepe sound bij de start van Stackin' Bones feat. Larkin Poe die een meerwaarde brengen tijdens deze song. Damn, ik zie zo de lady's in strakke leren rokjes voor me. I Was A Highway vertelt het verhaal van een vrouw die haar man verlaat om te sterven op een eenzame, verlaten weg. Een leuke rockin' blues song krijgen we met Hey Baby, Que Paso. Dit is de enige song die niet door Billy F Gibbons zelf werd geschreven.

Het album sluit af met Desert High, een gedicht dat op mysterieuze tonen wordt gebracht. Hoe dan ook genieten we volop van dit buitenbeentje als afsluiter!


Releasedatum: 4 juni 2021


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Andy Langer:

I'm Andy Langer. The new Billy F. Gibbons record is Hardware, and he's Billy F. Gibbons.


Billy F Gibbons:

(00:52) That's right, Andy. Thank you for joining me on this fine excursion right here on film coming to you on these screens around the planet. Good to be here with you.


Andy Langer:

So, so much of your history, of the band's history, and your solo work, is tied to Texas, but this is a desert record, this is a California record, a record you made in the desert during the pandemic, away from everything. How important was it to disconnect and do something different in the dessert?


Billy F Gibbons:

(01:31) Good question, and you're quite right. Hardware being a step from Texas into the desert did have a unusual beginning, and that it started with a simple phone call. Matt Sorum, who everybody loves as the drummer from the Cult, he was with Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver. And in the background, I heard the voice of left-handed guitar player, your friend and mine, Austin Hanks.


And this was back in June, and they had just about had enough of staying at home, and wanted to get back into action, and they said, "We have discovered a recording studio, out near Joshua Tree." And I said, "Yeah oh yeah, that must be Rancho de la Luna." And they said, "Well, it's close." I said, "Well, I work with Queens of the Stone Age at Rancho de la Luna." They said, "No, it's close. It's just across the street." And they said, "We're going to come pick you up, and we'll take you by." I said, "Great, great. I kind of know that part, it's very close, it's in the middle of the desert." What they didn't say was just across the street, and 20 miles into the back of the desert. But that's basically an interesting way that we got Hardware started, and once again, you're absolutely correct. From Texas, to the desert, and then into rock and roll madness.


Andy Langer:

The desert has its own vibe, its own mindset, and you took to that, and incorporated that real quickly in this record.


Billy F Gibbons:

(03:24) Indeed, the desert can be talked about, you can probably pick up some references, you can read about it, even study photographic references to the desert, but there's something magical, something mystical, there is an energy that will take over. And once you're in the desert, you can make of it what you will. We found it to be quite stimulating, and it was very supportive to uplifting and get that creative process started. So there's a lot to be said about the desert. I know that there's a lot of folks that have been to the desert, and when you're there, something does take over. It's very interesting.


Andy Langer:

Do you head to the desert with songs, or you get there, and that is the origin point of this record?


Billy F Gibbons:

(04: 23) We started out making the trip into the desert with nothing more than the thought of maybe inspecting the studio, and as far as instruments, the guitars, drums, you name it, all we had was a pen, and we were looking for paper, so in answer to that question, we literally started from scratch. We started from nothing, and when we speak of nothing, you're out there in the desert, the most you could really write about would be a lot of sand, some rocks, there's cactus trees, and a lot of rattlesnakes, so with nothing, the way to get the ball rolling is to start something, and basically that's what we took the energy and ran with it.


Andy Langer:

These are not songs about rattlesnakes and sand, the imprint of the desert is musical. We hear it in the tone. Can we pinpoint sonically where that imprint is?


Billy F Gibbons:

(05:42) Yes. You ask about the imprint of the desert, and most folks have a visual imagery of the aridness, the dry, hot, dusty, place we call the desert. When we arrived, of course, we had really only planned to spend 30 minutes looking around. Those 30 minutes turned into three months, and while we awaited the delivery of our favorite instruments, drums, you name it, we looked around in the studio, and we decided to pick up what was laying about.


The guitar was a very old Fender Jazzmaster, which was plugged into a very old Fender Reverb Tank, which was plugged into a very old Fender amplifier, and I looked across Matt, and he was smiling because Austin was playing upside down and backwards as he usually does, but Matt found a fairly decent set of drums, so off we went, but the sound was quite the antithesis of being in the desert. The sound of the guitar was pure surf, and we were looking for the water, but at least we had the sound, so the imprint of the desert showed up in a very unpredictable manner, in that the surf sound showed up in the very first track which was “West Coast Junkie”. I'm a West Coast Junkie from a lonesome Texas town. And it was enough to bring a smile to our face, we were really having a good time from the very start, so we just picked up sticks and pressed onward.


Andy Langer:

You're a guitar player, there's a left-handed guitar player in this group, and a drummer, the bass parts come from where?


Billy F Gibbons:

(07:46) Well, yeah. When you think of Billy F. Gibbons and the BFGs, it's a trio, two guitars, and drums, but the bottom end is certainly present, and we do that in a rather unusual fashion on the live performance stage. In the studio, it became a race to get into the control room, and grab the one Fender bass guitar, which fortunately got passed around. Now, I can speak about Austin Hanks, I call him the inside out and backwards guitar player, but he plays a fine upside down and backwards bass, which got passed over to the two engineers, Mike Fiorentino, Chad Shlosser, and surprise, surprise, onto Matt Sorum, who plays great drums, and he also plays great bass guitar. So it was quite a roundabout provision, bringing in that support of bottom end.


Andy Langer:

We think Sorum as this big, bombastic, drummer behind Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver, there's some really subtle playing on this record. He's a real versatile drummer, and I don't think he gets the credit for that.


Billy F Gibbons:

(09:12) Matt Sorum is definitely that as you point out. That is a great word, versatile. Being beyond the expected bombastic battering ram that he can be, the subtle surprises really added a texture to these recordings, that started off pretty raucous with “West Coast Junkie”. And then toward the conclusion of the sessions, we ended up getting close, I wouldn't call it a ballad necessarily, but we were winding things up, and the next to last day was a list of elements that we had all felt and gathered up from the experience of being in the desert.


And we decided to lay these reference words against this music track, a sound which probably should be used in a cowboy film, but I said, "Well, let me take a shot at it to see if these lyrics will fit," and I said, "I don't have a melody picked out yet, I'll just talk my way through it." And through one take, both the engineers, Chad and Mike, came in, waving their arms, they said, "You got it, you got it." And I said, "Yes, but I was talking, we were not singing." And they said, "The message has been delivered." With that one take, we kept it. That was a nice way to near the conclusion. I know you were asking earlier about just that, the conclusion. As we were waiting for things to wind up, we were each playing DJ, and it came around, and I started playing a song which had been familiar from both the Sir Douglas Quintet, and later the Texas Tornados, was a composition by the keyboard player, the famous Texas Vox organist, Augie Meyers the song being, “Hey Baby, Que Paso”.


(11:31) And it just so happened I had a copy of the original single. It preceded the Texas Tornados, which preceded the Sir Douglas Quintet, this was something very interesting, and everybody jumped at the question, "Where did you get that version? We've heard other bands do it many times, but we've never heard this version." I said, "Well, this is Augie Meyers's original track of the song." And they said, "We really like it, but we can't quite figure out the second verse, could you play it again?" Well, after many playbacks, we still couldn't figure out the second verse which prompted the call down to San Antonio.


We tracked Augie down, and he was actually delighted to know that we were playing the original version, but when it came time to answering the question, "What's the words in second verse?" He said, "Well what do you think it is?" And I said, "Well, we've been playing it for the better part of an hour." And he said, "Well, when we were looking for a Spanish line to rhyme with San Antoine," he said, "We couldn't quite conjure up the las palabras, the words." I said, "So, I will give you credit if you can make up your own second verse, but it has to be fake Spanish," I said, "Would that be Spanglish?" He said, "No, that would be slanguish." So there you have it, that was actually, we went from “Desert High”, to close it out with “Hey Baby, Que Paso”.


Andy Langer:

“Hey Baby, Que Paso”, by being a quintessentially Texas song, and tying back to your history, growing up, listening to border radio, this is the piece of Texas that finds its way into the desert, and it's the most Texas part of this record.


Billy F Gibbons:

(13:38) Definitely, so. And what we've found is being so remotely located away from Texas. When we played back our version of “Hey Baby, Que Paso”, we found it very interesting that no matter where we were, everybody picked up immediately on that opening line. There's something so infectious about what it says, and then, of course, what it has come to mean, and no matter where you are, you can claim to being a part of The Lone Star State when you sing “Hey Baby, Que Paso”.


Andy Langer:

You've made solo records that stray further sonically than the ZZ Top blueprint that we know. This one though, may be the most diverse collection, sonically. There are pieces that might have been ZZ Top songs, but there are pieces that are way out there in the other direction, and they're all in one record.


Billy F Gibbons:

(15:17) Yes. The content within Hardware does stray from a kind of referential, even reverential, expectation of what a ZZ Top sound would deliver. When the studio doors swing open, of course, in comes a bit of the blues, in comes some of that familiarity with ZZ Top, and at the same time, being in a songwriting creative mode with basically something so new and different, the report turned out to be identifiable as a little bit of that ZZ, a little bit of that blues, with a lot of this new thing. And, we kind of enjoyed the familiarity of what a ZZ Top production, a ZZ Top composition, would come to mean, but this went off in such a radical new departure. It wound up being a statement that was overall quite pleasing. It's still loud, it's still rock, and I think when you set the needle in the groove, you'll hear it.


Andy Langer:

Is there a piece of you that thinks, "I've played guitar so long, and done so many different things on it, that there might not be anything left to do." Do you have to worry about whether you've played that solo before, when you're playing a solo that you know is going to be on record?


Billy F Gibbons:

(17:20) Yes. When it comes to delivering the guitar part, a lot of it seemingly would be thought better off worked out in advance. And, in so doing, you could say, "Oh well, if we want to get something new, let's work it out." And at the same time, the excitement that was surrounding us in the studio, by and large, was quite the opposite. We were just diving in, and letting it fly, and I believe that Austin Hanks's influences, combined with Matt's backbeat, led me into new fields. And, at the end of the day, we had gone into some very unusual spots. It had enough feeling that could be identified as maybe a ZZ sound, but here we are, off into this new place, but again, you'll feel it when you hear it.


Andy Langer:

There's a handful of people, and you're one of them, where you make a record, and even people that don't care about equipment, that aren't gearheads, care about what you play. So there's that basic set-up that's out there in the desert, and then do you bring your own gear on top of that? What did you play on this record that people might be surprised by?


Billy F Gibbons:

(19:08) Yes, the challenge was to get the ball rolling. We were stuck in this remote location without our familiar gear. We were picking up sticks, and laying them down from stuff that was in the corner, just kind of making do with what was around us. The good news is that within the second week, we started reaching out for the gear that we had ordered up, I guess you could call it some of our favorite stuff, in fact, it would be fair to say that I'd be kind of lost going through a series of sessions without the presence of the cornerstone sounding guitar, Pearly Gates, the 1959 sunburst Les Paul. And sure enough, after the delivery truck started the unloading process, here came Pearly. Matt had his favorite Gretsch drums, Austin was, believe it or not, he was happy with what he had found in the corners, so it was a little bit of that. And we finally found our way, but the opening moments found these new sounds becoming, they were very magnetizing, we found it quite appealing, so we didn't leave it behind, we just embraced it all.


Andy Langer:

Hardware, the name itself, is a tribute to Joe Hardy, who for years and years, you would work with in the studio, and is as close of an associate as anybody has been across your career. Talk to me about Joe Hardy.


Billy F Gibbons:

(21:08) Yes. Joe Hardy, our engineer of many years. A lot of folks knew him as Joe “Party” Hardy, and when you flip through the liner notes on the record itself, we didn't pass up the opportunity to make that very reference, Joe “Party” Hardy. He was a great engineer, he was a great songwriter, his influences can be heard from throughout when we first arrived in Memphis, way back in the early 70's. We drew upon the presence of John Hampton, engineer, Terry Manning, engineer, and of course, Joe Hardy. Those three engineers were the backbone at Ardent Recording in Memphis.


And, through the years, I think Joe's humorous sides, the control room was never an antiseptic experience, it was quite lively. And I think that Joe's very being, whether he was working with ZZ Top, or on our solo projects, or even other bands that would come in, they found it quite uplifting to be back in a place that could be kind of foreboding, kind of chilly, but it would soon warm up when Joe arrived, and got it underway. So yes, the title of the record, Hardware, is in a righteous respect in memory of Joe “Party” Hardy.


Andy Langer:

You're a wanderer by nature, a traveler, somebody who can't sit still. In the pandemic, you disappear for three months to make a record in the desert, “Vagabond Man” seems like it's as close to an autobiographical song as you've written. Is that true?


Billy F Gibbons:

(23:41) Yes. “Vagabond Man” tells the story, not only of our personal experience, but it reaches out and touches every traveling, not only traveling musicians, but those that have been struck with wanderlust and have to get out. The word vagabond itself can easily be tagged on a wide range of individuals. And I like the way you put it Andy, "You can't sit still." And “Vagabond Man” is a poignant statement that comes the feelings were erupting, and we fortunately got it down. And I believe it's fair to say that it sums up decades of just wandering about, and we still like it. And believe it or not, during this shut down, the mind was still able to wander. And well let's play “Vagabond Man”, you can hear it.


Andy Langer:

“She's On Fire” is built around this tightly wound riff. Tell me more about “She's On Fire”.


Billy F Gibbons:

(25:41) “She's On Fire”, it's one of the interesting tracks that I want to use the word, well 'unfolded' is mild compared to the explosive nature behind it. As we mentioned, the studio was a full 20 miles back to the nearest point of civilization. However, we found with fortune, a little Mexican restaurant that was the first stop from down the hill. And we met the young lady that was the owner, she was the cook, she was the bookkeeper, she was the everything of this great Mexican restaurant. We were six weeks into the project, and we came down as we were doing daily, and when the door opened to the restaurant, we noticed it was on fire. And we jumped back, and luckily we caught sight of the young lady, came dashing around the corner, says "Don't worry, I'm not burning up your breakfast, I'm going to get this under control in a minute." So needless to say, we left having enjoyed great Mexican food, and now we had a great idea for a song, literally, “She's on Fire”.


And with that enthusiasm, it took us right back past the control room, into the performance room, and it started off with this really interesting guitar riff, and Matt fell behind Austin and I, and it became one of the truly upbeat, up tempo numbers from the record, but it's also one of our favorites, we all got to sing on it, and we were fighting to see who was going to be able to sing “She's On Fire”, because we all knew her, and she was literally on fire. But that in a nutshell, is a good sliver of what transpired through a lot of the compositions.


Andy Langer:

“More-More-More” and “I Was A Highway”, both hinge on women that may or may not be into you. They're women that are hard to get, selective, smart, it's a different kind of woman than we typically see depicted in rock songs. That seem fair?


Billy F Gibbons:

(28:28) Yes, it is fair. The title itself, “More-More-More”, is exactly the opposite of love lost, which I guess we could actually call it less, less, less. And at the same time, we enjoyed kind of the up-temponess of what would usually be called a very sad song. But there again, we're about having a good time, so there you have it. On that note, you do get more, more, more.


Andy Langer:

Larkin Poe joins you on “Stackin' Bones”. You met them, how?


Billy F Gibbons:

(29:19) Yes. Larkin Poe came aboard after the track “Stackin' Bones” had taken shape, and we were just hanging around the studio, and we were talking about things we had enjoyed from the previous year, traveling about.


And the previous tour had the reward of working with a great blues player, Mr. Tyler Bryant, and every afternoon, I'd pass his dressing room, and there were two young gals that were quite attractive, and then I would see them not only in the dressing room, I'd see them backstage every day, sometimes in the catering room, and finally I got around to asking Tyler, I said, "I see these young gals hanging around your dressing room, they seem to be following the tour around. Are they wardrobe consultants? Are they designers?" He said, "Well, if you come to the soundcheck this afternoon, you'll see they're quite the talented performers. They actually have a band named after them, Larkin Poe." And it was at that moment when I decided to jump off the tour bus, I came in, and here they were, guitars in hand, laying it down like nobody's business, and I said gee wiz that's for me."


And they made the excursion way out to the desert when this is no easy task. And at the same time, there is a kind of alluring element to bringing somebody out to these remote spots, they jumped at the chance. So we put them to work, and “Stackin' Bones” kind of started stacking up with layers of Larkin Poe's talents. It was really good.


Andy Langer:

“Shuffle, Step & Slide” could be the name of your autobiography, but it's a song here.


Billy F Gibbons:

(32:26) Oh yeah. The notion of limiting ourselves to the famous three beats. Coming out of the ZZ Top camp, you'll hear Frank Beard, the man with no beard, and Dusty Hill, as well as myself, leaning on the shuffle, the cut shuffle, and the monkey beat. And as the sessions for Hardware continued to unfold, it was Matt that showed up early one day, and as we entered the studio, he was working out a badass Texas shuffle. And he was asking me, "Do we go around this corner? Do we come back around this corner?" And I said, "Well, let's just write something." And then we got underway, and as Austin walked in, he said, "Yeah," he said, "I'm going to slide on in." He was actually playing slide, and there you have it, shuffle, step in, and slide. But it's a fun tune, it's really, really something we like.


Andy Langer:

How has it taken this long for you to write a song called “Spanish Fly”?


Billy F Gibbons:

(33:49) What is “Spanish Fly”? That is the recurring question, and we're still not sure where to take it. Now, I've got a buddy in California just down the street here, that drives one of my favorite hot rod cars, it's a 1946 Ford, it's a two-door sedan, and emblazened on the door is the name he has graced us, fine ride with “Spanish Fly”. And I've always wanted to drive it, but he's never been around when I've gotten off the road, so I decided to write a song with the title, in hopes that one day I'd slide behind the wheel. So it can be a reference to Bobby Walden's '46 Ford, and then of course, if you get down by the La Frontera, the Mexican border, it takes on an aphrodisiac quality, as well. So, there's some fun to be had within the lyrics of “Spanish Fly”. Go figure that one out.


And easy for me to say, speaking of figuring it out, we come to one of the tracks which was directly inspired from another power trio, one of our favorites, when Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, and Eric Clapton joined forces to start Cream. And one of the peculiar numbers was, “S-W-L-A-B-R”, and it's hard to pronounce using just those consonants and vowels. We got as far as some women like, and we decided to make that a stepping stone toward... I'll let the listeners learn to figure out what's behind the rest of it.


Andy Langer:

But some guys like?


Billy F Gibbons:

(35:49) Some guys like, some gals like. I guess we could go, yes, yeah. Dual gendered number.


Andy Langer:

I am what I am, it is what it is. That's the key line in that song.


Billy F Gibbons:

(36:09) Yes. I am what I am, it is what it is. I guess that still leads to the question, "Go figure."


Andy Langer:

A couple years ago, it's The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Now, there's a Billy Gibbons tribute concert, a star-studded affair in Nashville. Do you think about legacy? Is this the point where you think, "They're paying tribute to me in a hall of fame." How much do you think about that?


Billy F Gibbons:

(37:13) Yeah. Having been tiptoeing through this crazy world for now over five decades, the old saying is, "Long as we're in there somewhere." And you look up, and you say, "Gee, where did five decades go?" We've got fond recollections of a starting point, obviously, up until the present, and we like the fact that it's continuing to snowball, and we're more than delighted to keep moving in a forward motion. So yeah, we dig it.


Andy Langer:

You've made records with the same three guys, for 50 years, and these occasional solo excursions, are the solo excursions designed to sort of reset you creatively so that you could return to the other thing, refreshed?


Billy F Gibbons:

(38:27) The solo excursions do present an opportunity to enter that netherworld of places that we've not experienced or gone through. It does offer a bit of refreshment, you kind of go back to square one. What I like about the balancing between a ZZ Top experience, and a solo excursion in another direction, there's a value in latching on to that which is familiar. It brings us back to the square one, we call it, and yet on the other hand, in that balancing on the other side of the vortex, is another square one. And you put it all together, and it seems to work out. I like the fact that Frank and Dusty are very supportive in saying, "Hey yeah, you go to work." And I say, "Well, I'm working. I'll send you some ideas." And they said, "Great." So in essence, the clock keeps ticking, and we still find our ways into enjoying that balance.


Andy Langer:

What are the similarities between Texas and the desert? What do they share in common aesthetically, that then influences you creatively? Is there a crossroads?


Billy F Gibbons:

(40:08) There's enough Texas to take in all of the desert. And in as much as you go through the Southwest, now when we speak of the desert, we're not talking about one confined geographical spot, it runs the gamut of desert experiences around the planet, but in particular, the great Southwest which really starts in Texas, and moves West all the way to the coast, I think that I would be hard pressed to put it into words as we move through the different locales, where deserts exist. We're still Texan through and through, and that part of the desert experience still waves The Lone Star State Flag is still flowing.


Andy Langer:

Do you feel like it's going to be different onstage post-pandemic, because people missed that experience, and you missed being able to play so much? How do you think that will be different?


Billy F Gibbons:

(41:36) Yes. This great slowdown, this great lockout of things that are so familiar has really lit the fuse, and started the kettle boiling, and I think as we see the excitement percolating, we're only happy to step back, take the stage, and present what we're best known for, come on out, and have a good time. And the phrases, "Sooner than later," and that's where we're headed.


Andy Langer:

The album opens with “My Lucky Card”, why?


Billy F Gibbons:

(43:15) The opening track, “My Lucky Card”, as you point out, has a very interesting twist from a very personal standpoint. As mentioned, it was Matt Sorum, Austin Hanks, piling into the hot rod, picking me up, and when we arrived in the desert, we decided to stay, and light the fuse there. Matt's lovely sweetheart, whose name is Ace, happens to be a kind of always-present presence, and she is Matt's lucky card, as well as bringing a joyful experience to this trio of mad scientists working away in the studio, so Miss Ace became our lucky card. She was there shortly after our arrival, and it was then and there, "Gee, wiz, we got to write a song about just that, our lucky card."


Andy Langer:

When you're isolated, the way you are in the desert making this record, the inspiration becomes the people that are there, the only restaurant within driving distance, I mean, you end up taking in the things directly around you because you're so isolated?


Billy F Gibbons:

(44:52) Yes. The total isolation is broken by the small group that either tiptoes through, or gets an invitation to come pay us a visit. The tight-knit group, of course, is the five individuals socked away in this locked environment, and that in itself, it gets real interesting. To be totally isolated prevents you from having any kind of exchange, so opinions start to really count. We're all entitled to an opinion, but without a sense of balance, by bouncing it around the room with others present, it stays rather flat, and that's what we really enjoyed by, despite the fact that we were few and far between others, we were getting that fierceness, the ferociousness, was never too far out of reach. It was right there.


Andy Langer:

This is the second record you've made with that group of gentlemen, was it easier this time in that you have a record together under your belt? Is there that much more of a connection, or is it starting over each time, creatively?


Billy F Gibbons:

(46:39) Yes. This was the second outing with Matt taking the percussion part, that big back beat. Austin Hanks is not only a great guitarist, but his singing is just stunning, but it was absolutely much harder this second time which left us all quite by surprise, thinking we'd just walk in, and let the cards fall as they may. When I say, "What part made it harder?" The novelty of being in the desert had us all looking for grounding, whereas before, we were in familiar surroundings, we had been to the studio, the same studio many times, which allowed us to kind of get down to business quickly. This time, we were in amazement, we were struck with a sense of awe, and it was more difficult, I guess, from the get-go. And then as things started to fall out, things started to speed up, and then once we got into gear, it was full speed ahead. But I liked the challenge all the way around, all of us did.