ZZ Top icon Billy Gibbons recently spoke to Ultimate Classic Rock and said that Dusty Hill wanted to secure the band’s future after his passing by offering a name that would replace him.
The classic lineup of ZZ Top consisted of Billy Gibbons on vocals and guitar, drummer Frank Beard, and Dusty Hill on vocals and bass. The band managed to keep the same personnel for more than five decades until Hill’s passing on July 28, 2021. Before his passing, the rocker had various health issues, including a dislocated shoulder, broken hip, and ulcers, all of which hindered him from some of the band’s shows.
However, because the bassist always wanted the band to continue touring during his absence, he appointed ZZ Top’s long-term guitar technician Elwood Francis to play in his place. Losing a member who served the band for 51 years was pretty challenging for the remaining band members. Yet, they decided to move forward. Francis has continued as Hill’s replacement in the band’s upcoming gigs.
In a new interview, Billy Gibbons credited Dusty Hill for ZZ Top’s future after his passing. When Hill once went to see his physician, he told Gibbons that he could trust Elwood Francis to replace him if he was late for the show. The late bassist also said Francis was more than a family member since he was always there whenever they needed him. Thus, Gibbons listened to the order that came directly from Hill, which he didn’t regret. For the rocker, the balance and chemistry are still there with Francis.
Here is why Billy Gibbons credited Dusty Hill for ZZ Top’s future:
“I credit Dusty. Not only was he a great performer and friend, but he also had a thread of wisdom. When he was feeling a bit out of sorts, he requested to go to see his physician. He said, ‘Listen if I’m late getting back to the gig, make sure that Elwood, our guitar technician, wraps his hands around my guitar.’ I said, ‘Okay.’
He said, ‘Look, he’s more than a family member. He’s been a solid standby for over three decades.’ He is adding to five decades of a rather serious side of making loud sounds. He falls right in. It’s an interesting twist, but the balance remains. We’re crazy characters, almost cartoon-like, but at the bottom of it, we’re all very dedicated and serious on the musical level.”
Currently, ZZ Top has been hitting the road for their ‘Raw Whisky‘ tour. The tour’s first leg kicked off on May 27 in San Diego, California. The band will be on the stage across North America until their last scheduled show in Pikeville, Kentucky, on August 28.