Dusty Hill, the longtime bassist for Texas blues-rock legends ZZ Top, has died at the age of 72, the band has announced.
“We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, Texas,” said the band’s surviving members, Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard.
“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.”
No cause of death was revealed in the band’s statement. The band played their first performances without Hill in more than 50 years earlier this month, claiming that Hill had a hip problem.
“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 said in a statement. “They await a speedy recovery and have him back pronto.”
ZZ’s longtime guitar tech, Elwood Francis, deputised in Hill’s absence.
Born Joseph Michael Hill on May 19, 1949, in Dallas, Texas, in the late 60s Hill played with his brother Rocky Hill and drummer Frank Beard in several Texas-area blues rock bands.
Beard later joined Billy Gibbons’ band ZZ Top – the band had already released one single, Salt Lick – and when bassist Billy Ethridge, a one-time bandmate of Stevie Ray Vaughan, refused to sign the band’s first record contract with London records, Dusty got the call. The three played their first gig on February 10, 1970.
Together they recorded 15 studio albums. Their 1983 album, Eliminator, is certified Diamond in the US, with sales of over 10 million copies.
Back in May, Billy Gibbons revealed that that ZZ Top had been working on a new album, at the same time as he had been preparing his new solo album, Hardware. “The last laugh has yet to be heard,“ he said.
“I don’t believe in regrets at all,” Dusty Hill once told Classic Rock. “What’s the point? There are things I’ve done that, if I had my time all over again, I would do differently – or not at all. But I am the sort of person who, once something’s done, just brushes it away and gets on with life. If you spend your time agonising over the past, in the end you get badly beaten up psychologically.
“I think life is there for you to grab it and be positive. Just look for the good everywhere. If you walk around expecting shit to happen, then it will.”
More on this story as we get it.