ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons on ‘the Waterworks Coming and Going’ After Dusty Hill’s Sudden Death — and Why Band Will Go On

Entertainment

Variety 29 July, 2021 - 07:39pm 26 views

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

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ZZ Top Will Carry On After Dusty Hill’s Death, Billy Gibbons Says

Yahoo Entertainment 30 July, 2021 - 09:20am

Gibbons texted the statement to SiriusXM “Trunk Nation” host Eddie Trunk, who passed the sentiments along via Twitter.

Gibbons said, per Trunk: “As Dusty said upon his departure, ‘Let the show go on!’ And… with respect, we’ll do well to get beyond this and honor his wishes.”

Added the guitarist in his text to the satellite radio host, “Dusty emphatically grabbed my arm and said, ‘Give Elwood the bottom end and take it to the Top.’ He meant it, amigo. He really did.”

A spokesperson confirmed the band’s plan to carry on to Variety.

The “Elwood” in Hill’s reported quote is guitar technician Elwood Francis, who has been playing bass in Hill’s absence. The group’s most recent show with Francis filling in for the ailing Hill was July 25 in Kentucky, in a tour that had only kicked off July 16, with Hill on board as usual at the time.

Received this just now via text from @BillyFGibbons regarding passing of Dusty Hill @ZZTop . Billy told me okay to share w/fans: As Dusty said upon his departure, “ Let the show go on!”.and…with respect, we’ll do well to get beyond this and honor his wishes.

— Eddie Trunk (@EddieTrunk) July 28, 2021

Gibbons and the other remaining founding member of the trio, drummer Frank Beard, had announced Hill’s death on Wednesday. “We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX,” they said then in a statement. “We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top,’ We will forever be connected to that ‘Blues Shuffle in C.’ You will be missed greatly, amigo.”

The group had continued the tour after Hill was forced to leave right after it kicked off. The bassist played their July 18 show at Louisville’s Iroquois Amphitheatre, then canceled a show in Evansville July 21 before resuming on July 23 in the Chicago area without Hill.

Although Wednesday night’s show was canceled, the band is currently still slated to resume the tour with a Friday night show in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The outing is set to run through Dec. 22 in the U.S. and head into Canada next year. A list of show dates can be found here.

On July 23, five days before announcing Hill’s death, the other two members had addressed his absence, after concertgoers on the first few dates of the tour grew worried about his status. At the time, they ascribed his being MIA to a “hip” issue. “The members of ZZ Top, Billy, and Frank, would like to share that Dusty, their fearless bass player, is on a short detour back to Texas, to address a hip issue. They await a speedy recovery and have him back pronto. Per Dusty’s request ‘The show must go on!’ With that directive, ZZ Top has put the services of Mr. Elwood Francis, their trusted guitar tech of the past two decades, into play with his slide guitar, bass guitar and harmonica playing in full swing.”

No cause of death for Hill has been revealed.

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He definitely has the best celebrity collection we've seen in a long time.

Hill was with the trio for over 50 years.

That little ol’ band from Texas is now, sadly, littler. Dusty Hill, one-third of ZZ Top for the last 51 years, was revealed Wednesday to have died of indeterminate causes. On Thursday, remaining members Billy Gibbons announced that the tour they just began would resume Friday after a brief lull, with their guitar tech of […]

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Refresh for updates… ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill is being remembered by friends, musical colleagues, and even the governor of Texas paying tribute. “Rock and roll has been stopped in its tracks,” tweeted Martha Quinn, one of MTV’s original veejays whose tenure at the channel coincided with ZZ Top’s music video heyday. “Dusty Hill, you […]

Remembering the legacy of ZZ Top Bassist Dusty Hill

FOX 26 Houston 30 July, 2021 - 09:20am

ZZ Top still set to take the stage in Alexandria

KALB News 30 July, 2021 - 09:20am

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.”

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Our 10 Favorite Dusty Hill Stories

Ultimate Classic Rock 29 July, 2021 - 03:31pm

Following the news of Dusty Hill's death at age 72, many fans have been mourning through music: looking back at his finest moments as bassist and occasional singer in ZZ Top. But Hill was quite a character even away from their songs, generating headlines both hilarious and fascinating.

For the below list of Our 10 Favorite Dusty Hill Stories, we combed through our archives and recapped 10 of our favorite Hill-centric stories. And most of them, naturally, are tied to his famous blues-rock band: finding a loophole to a manager's two-drink-per-night limit, the classic lineup debuting onstage to an audience of one, stirring up playful trouble on the set of Back to the Future III, jamming during soundcheck to spark one of their most beloved songs, even encouraging his bandmates to carry on with a new member after his death.

A few memories do fall outside the band umbrella: a lifelong passion for professional wrestling (one he happened to share with guitarist Billy Gibbons), an early stint in a fake Zombies group, his own journey while working at an airport during ZZ Top's late '70s hiatus.

“We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top,’" Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard wrote in a statement. "We will forever be connected to that ‘Blues Shuffle in C.’ You will be missed greatly, amigo.”

He will indeed. And to honor that presence, we present UCR's 10 Favorite Dusty Hill Stories.

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