Was Dusty Hill touring with ZZ Top?
Hill had been enduring shoulder and hip issues for the past few years, and he departed the ongoing ZZ Top tour after just a couple of gigs to heal back at home. “Per Dusty's request the show must go on!” the band said at the time. Rolling StoneWatch ZZ Top Perform ‘Gimme All Your Lovin” at Dusty Hill’s Last Concert
29 July, 2021 - 09:00pm
ZZ Top will be in concert beginning at 8 p.m. Friday at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, 2710 Jack Warner Parkway. The band canceled a show earlier this week after the death of bass player Dusty Hill, but the Tuscaloosa concert will go on with a replacement bassist, according to the amphitheater. Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available through www.ticketmaster.com, or at the Amphitheater box office, for $89.50, $59.50, $49.50, $29.50, plus fees. For more, see www.tuscaloosaamphitheater.com.
The city's free outdoor summer concert series continues Friday at Government Plaza. Performers for this week will be the Jous Band, at 6 p.m., followed by the Locked Band at around 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. Government Plaza is at 2106 Sixth St. in downtown Tuscaloosa. For more information, visit Tuscaloosa.com/LatP.
Late July in Tuscaloosa means it's time for the annual bicycle race known as “the hottest ride in the South.” For the 19th year, the Tuscaloosa Mental Health Alliance will partner with the Druid City Bicycle Club to organize the Hot Hundred bicycle ride. The ride, which is expected to draw hundreds of bicyclists, is set to begin at 7 a.m. Saturday at University Church of Christ, 1200 Tutwiler Drive. Bicyclists can choose the length of their ride: 30, 40, 50, 70 or 100 miles. Proceeds from the Hot Hundred will be used to bolster efforts to improve mental health services in the community, organizers said.
Remembering Dusty Hill, by ZZ Top’s Longtime Publicist: ‘He Was a Star and Also Literally an Average Joe’
29 July, 2021 - 05:03pm
Yesterday’s passing of ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill took an emotional toll here, as my many encounters with him over the years were marked by his good cheer and almost mirthful nature. He was a great guy to hang out with whenever the opportunity to do so arose. He was a sweet man who really had no agenda beyond playing music to the best of his considerable ability, and to put on a great show for the throngs who came to see him and the group over the years. For want of another way to put it, Dusty’s aim was to please — not in an obsequious way, but in an honest, human-to-human way.
He was certainly a star but, at the same time, literally an average Joe; he was born Joseph Michael Hill. He was dutiful to a fault, and his work ethic belied his rock-star status. When the lobby call was for 4:45 you could count on Dusty to be waiting there at 4:30. He just loved what he did and was loath to miss a second of it. He was raised by a single mom in a working-class neighborhood in Dallas and never forgot where he came from; he was simply incapable of pretense — the real deal, if you will. It was my privilege to spend lots of open-ended “down” time with Dusty, a kindly man and always great company.
He learned a lot from the blues masters he idolized as a kid and into his adulthood. He and Frank Beard backed up Lightnin’ Hopkins in their pre-ZZ days which, in blues circles, is akin to touching the hem of the Lord’s garment. He told the story of their first encounter with the redoubtable Mr. Hopkins. Nervous about playing with Lightnin’ who, of course, abhorred rehearsals, Dusty offered, “Just let us know where the changes are, and we’ll follow you.” The mighty Lightnin’ responded dismissively, “Lightnin’ change when Lightnin’ want to change,” so Dusty bore down and did his utmost to follow the mercurial legend. He adored blues legend Freddie King, with whom he was long friendly, and was delighted to join his ZZ Top bandmates in inducting him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as they had done for Howlin’ Wolf.
When the band were, themselves, inducted in 2004 — by Keith Richards, no less — it was a high point for a kid whose original and abiding influence was Elvis Presley. He loved Elvis and delighted in singing lead on “Jailhouse Rock,” which ZZ Top often performed as a concert encore, and on “Viva Las Vegas,” a standout during their residencies at the Venetian. Yes, he was one of rock’s most puissant bass players but also a richly nuanced vocalist who delivered in no uncertain terms. “Tush,” written during a soundcheck at an Alabama venue in with a dirt floor, is evidence of his vocal appeal — the song would go on to be the band’s very first Top 40 hit. He explained to me that “Tush is like ‘plush’ — it’s luxurious, but also means ‘fine’ or ‘cool.’” However, he did allow, “I heard the Yiddish term in Dallas, so you can think of it as our first body-part tune.” For my part, I always thought of him as a real mensch.
Speaking of Elvis, at Dusty’s 2002 wedding to his beloved Charleen “Chuck” McCrory, directly after vows were exchanged and all in attendance expected the traditional bride and groom first dance, he grabbed the mic and serenaded her with a heartfelt and evocative rendition of “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
The spirt of the King truly lived in “The Dust.”
Dusty Hill was one of the three longtime members of ZZ Top and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his bandmates in 2004.
Hill co-founded the rock band with Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons in 1969.
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