Sad news for the hard rock community today, as Dusty Hill, bassist for Texan rock act ZZ Top, has died. He was 72 years old.
ZZ Top members Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons confirmed Dusty’s death in a statement reading, “We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX. 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.”
ZZ Top played without Hill on Friday, July 23rd, at the Village Commons in New Lenox, Illinois, after Hill had to return to Texas to address a hip issue. Longtime guitar tech Elwood Francis filled in for him at the gig, and according to Wikipedia, will most likely step into the bassist’s role for the foreseeable future.
Dusty was a member of ZZ Top since 1969, playing on all of the band’s studio albums. He was also the band’s backing vocalist, and sang lead vocals on the track “Tush,” one of the Top’s most popular singles (and The Pit’s #3 greatest heavy song about asses). Dusty was also one of ZZ Top’s more recognizable members, appearing in several films as well as a much-loved episode of King of the Hill in which protagonist Hank Hill discovers that he and Dusty might be distant cousins.
In the wake of this monumental loss, ZZ Top have apparently decided not to call it quits. According to SiriusXM personality and longtime metal scene staple Eddie Trunk, Gibbons said that one of Dusty’s final wishes was that the band continue after his passing.
“Received this just now via text from @BillyFGibbons regarding passing of Dusty Hill @ZZTop,” said Trunk in a tweet. “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.”
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
Everyone at The Pit sends their heart out to Dusty’s family, friends, fans and collaborators during this time.
Words by Chris Krovatin