Billy Gibbons Considers ZZ Top As A New Band After Dusty Hill’s Passing
ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons recently joined an interview for the latest Ultimate Classic Rock magazine issue. Gibbons revealed that Dusty Hill‘s passing and the following lineup change turned them into a new band.
Dusty Hill contributed to ZZ Top by delivering the bass, some keyboard, and vocal parts for the albums. He initially appeared with the band on the debut album ‘ZZ Top’s First Album,’ which carried the influences of blues, hard rock, and boogie. He became a part of the band’s first charting single ‘Francine’ from the second record ‘Rio Grande Mud.’
The 1973 album ‘Tres Hombres’ reflected the band’s heavy blues style based on the Texas roots. ‘La Grange’ from the album became the group’s first hit. Two years later, Dusty Hill sang on the only single ‘Tush’ from their ‘Fandango!’ record. He was also on the lead vocal in the songs such as ‘Avalon Hideaway’ and ‘Ten Dollar Man.’
The following years were fruitful for Hill, but he also struggled with several health problems starting from the 2000s. He was initially diagnosed with hepatitis C and injured his hip during a tour in 2014. Following Hill’s request, the band took the stage with the guitar tech Elwood Francis. Unfortunately, Hill passed away on July 28, 2021, and Francis continued with the band as it was Hill’s final wish.
In a recent interview, Billy Gibbons stated that Francis’ style differed from ZZ Top as he was more into punk-rock. According to the guitarist, things went well with Francis, and their different styles combined increased the band’s energy. With the attendance of the new bassist, the band evolved into a new one, as Gibbons indicated.
Billy Gibbons talked about Elwood Francis joining the group:
“It’s interesting. Elwood’s background is steeped in the punk-rock world. We were curious if such a background would enter the ZZ Top world. But I must say that Elwood’s presence brings robust energy that boosts ZZ Top. You might even consider us being somewhat new as a band. Which we are! It’s entertaining; I’ll say that.”
Gibbons shared that it was a challenging process to accept Hill’s passing. He talked to his guitarist friend Steve Cropper who lost his friend Duck Dunn in the past. The pair shared their sadness of losing their musician friends. Gibbons noted that they lost not only a musician but also a friend.
The musician revealed his feelings after losing his bandmate:
“It took a moment for the reality to sink in. But, you know, he’s no different from the rest of us; unfortunately, we’re all going to go some time. We prefer to put it off, if you know what I mean. The day after Dusty passed, I spoke with a good friend, another guitar player, Steve Cropper.
And years before, when Duck Dunn passed away, I took note of Cropper’s remarks. He said: ‘I feel like I’ve lost a great friend. And that went well beyond another musician. He was well beyond that.’ And we felt that way about Dusty. We lost a great friend.”
Hill’s passing caused great sadness to the entire music world, especially his bandmates. They still express how much they love and miss him. Recently, Billy Gibbons has said how sad he is to lose his fellow musician. He also looked at the bright sight and revealed that ZZ Top could be considered a new band following Elwood Francis’ joining.