ZZ Top guitarist Billy F. Gibbons gave a long and heartfelt interview to Variety, talking about the events leading up to bassist Dusty Hill‘s recent death. Hill had started on the band’s recent tour, but stepped back after only a couple of dates, before dying in his sleep on July 27th at age 72.

Gibbons, who along with Frank Beard — the band’s drummer for over 50 years — is carrying on, per Hill’s wishes with his bass tech taking his place, 30-year-band veteran, Elwood Francis.

Billy F. Gibbons spoke about how he was dealing with the loss of his closest music partner for over five decades: “Passing through the grieving process, I can tell you it’s no less than anyone else that loses a good friend or a close associate. And at the same time, knowing that this came up so suddenly — going to bed and not waking up. . . That was the luck of the draw. He was in, and he was out.”

Regarding Dusty Hill leaving the band’s current tour, Gibbons said, “He did the first two (concerts). And then he requested dismissing himself. He said, ‘Yeah, let me go check this out.’ And of course I said, ‘Hey, man, health is number one. Go do your thing.’ And I could tell through those first two valiant attempts, if he’s not giving it 110 percent, he was the first one to kind of say, ‘Gee whiz. Let’s go take care of this.'”

Gibbons went on to say, “It’s no secret that over the past few years he had a pretty rough go with a broken shoulder, followed with a broken hip. And he had some problems with some ulcers. So he’s been kind of tiptoeing through keeping himself ship-shape, best he could. But I think that this was a real challenge. And by throwing in the towel, it might’ve caught up with him. Who knows? I’m just glad he’s in a good spot.”

When pressed about Dusty Hill passing away in his sleep, Gibbons said, “That’s about all they can determine. Let’s face it, you don’t necessarily pass away from a broken shoulder or broken hip. Although the attending physician had earlier warned him that bursitis was not uncommon, even arthritis, and they said it’s not a very comfortable place to be. And I could tell that he was moving a little slow. He said, ‘Boy, this shoulder and hip are really starting to become a problem.’ But, as of this juncture, yeah, it was off to dreamland and beyond.”

He was asked if the finality of the situation has finally hit him: “Yeah. I had a couple of moments with the waterworks coming and going, and I really felt a sense of relief. I said, ‘Gee whiz, maybe I am human after all,’ This is coming from a very deep and glorious place, with respect to knowing that after 50 years with the guy, we were all joined at — no pun intended — joined at the hip.”

Billy Gibbons went on to talk about how fiercely Dusty Hill did not want the band to fold in his absence: “But knowing that we can take his wishes forward and give him all due respect. . . Y’know, he was adamant. He said, ‘I’m going to go down and see what’s up. In the meantime,’ he said, “the show must go on. Don’t forget it.” And he was pointing his finger and shaking it (laughs.)”

As far as Elwood Francis — now sporting his own ZZ Top beard due to the pandemic — being able to tackle Dusty Hill’s legendary bass parts, Billy Gibbons said it was a no-brainer: “I don’t think it took 30 minutes with a coffee table rehearsal, and he kind of rolled his eyes. He said, ‘Yeah, you may remember, I’ve been on the side of the stage for 30 years. I think I know it.'”

  • ZZ Top 2021 / 2022 tour dates (subject to change):
    August 3 – Little Rock, AR – First Security Amphitheater
    August 4 – Alexandria, LA – Rapides Paris Coliseum
    August 6 – Camdenton, MO – Lake Ozarks Amphitheatre
    August 7 – Washington, MO – Washington Town & Country Fair
    August 8 – Bonner Springs, KS – Azura Amphitheater
    August 11 – Sturgis, SD – Buffalo Chip Campground
    August 12 – Casper, WY – Casper Events Center
    August 14 – Reno, NV – Reno Ballroom – Silver Legacy Casino
    August 15 – Grande Ronde, OR – Spirit Mountain Casino
    August 17 – Jacksonville, OR – Britt Pavilion
    August 19 –  Maryville, WA – Tulalip Amphitheater
    August 20 – Lewiston, ID – Clearwater River Casino
    August 21 – Missoula, MT – KettleHouse Amphitheater
    August 24 –  Englewood, CO – Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater
    September 11 – Milwaukee, WI – Summerfest – Henry Maier Festival Park
    September 12 – Cincinnati, OH – PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center
    September 14 – Huber Heights, OH – Rose Music Center at The Heights
    September 15 –  Cedar Rapids, IA – Alliant Energy PowerHouse
    September 17 –  Council Bluffs, IA – Stir Cover at Harrah’s Casino
    September 18 –  Pryor, OK – Born & Raised Festival
    September 19 – Memphis, TN – Orpheum Theatre
    September 21 – Charleston, WV – Charleston Coliseum
    September 22 – Doswell, VA – Meadow Event Park
    September 23 – Frederick, MD – Frederick Fairgrounds
    September 25 –  Watertown, NY – Watertown Fairgrounds Baseball Diamond
    September 26 – Bethel, NY – Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
    September 28 – North Charleston, SC – North Charleston Performing Arts Center
    September 30 – Macon, GA – Macon City Auditorium – The Macon Centreplex
    October 1 – Tupelo, MS – BancorpSouth Arena
    October 2 – Lake Charles, LA – Golden Nugget
    October 4 – Fort Worth, TX – Dickies Arena
    October 8, 9 – Las Vegas, NV – The Venetian Theatre
    October 10 –  Scottsdale, AZ – Talking Stick Resort
    October 13, 15, 16 – Las Vegas, NV – The Venetian Theatre
    November  6 – Key West, FL – Key West Amphitheater
    November 9 – Tampa, FL – Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
    November 11 –  Orlando, FL – Hard Rock International
    November 13 – Fort Myers, FL – Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
    November14 – Jacksonville, FL – Florida Theatre
    November 16 – Melbourne, FL – King Center for the Performing Arts
    November 17 –  Savannah, GA – Johnny Mercer Theater
    November 20 – Wilmington, NC – Cape Fear Community College
    November 21- Durham, NC – Durham Performing Arts Center
    November 23 – Chattanooga, TN – Tivoli Theatre
    November 27, 28  – Lubbock, TX – Buddy Holly Center
    December  3 – Biloxi, MS – IP Casino Resort and Hotel
    December 4 – Shreveport, LA – Municipal Auditorium
    December 5 – Wichita Falls, TX – Memorial Auditorium
    December 7 – Abilene, TX – Taylor County Coliseum
    December 11 –  El Paso, TX – Abraham Chavez Theatre
    December 12 – Midland, TX – Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center
    April 23, 2022 – Abborsford, BC – Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre
    April 24, 2022 – Penticton, BC – South Okanagen Events Centre
    April 26, 2022 – Kamloops, BC – Sandman Centre
    April 27, 2022 –  Lethbridge, AB – ENMAX Centre
    April 29, 2022 – Saskatoon, SK –  SaskTel Center
    April  30, 2022 – Enoch, AB – River Cree Resort  & Casino
    May 3, 2022 – Brandon, MB – Keystone Centre
    May 4, 2022 – Niagara Falls, ON – Fallsview Casino Resort
    May 8, 2022 – Laval, QC – Place Bell
    May 10, 2022 – Halifax, NS – Halifax Scotiabank Centre
    May 13, 14, 2022 – St. John’s, NL – Mile One Centre


  • Out now on DVD and Blu-ray is ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas. Guitarist Billy F. Gibbons said of the doc which premiered nationwide earlier this year.
  • According to the press release for the film, “Buoyed by candid band interviews, never-before-seen archive, animation, celebrity fan testimonials from Billy Bob Thornton and Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme and an intimate performance at the oldest dance hall in Texas, historic Gruene Hall in New Braunfels.”
  • Alongside the film, the DVD / Blu-ray also includes two live performance segments featuring 18 minutes of the Gruene Hall performance, along with the Ham Estate Archive, which spotlights rare pre-Eliminator ZZ Top concert footage from 1976 and 1981.

CHECK IT OUT: The trailer for ZZ Top – That Little Ol’ Band From Texas: