ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons Opens Up About Dusty Hill’s Death: “I’m Just Glad He’s In A Good Spot”

During a recent interview with Variety, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons opened up about the tragic death of his bandmate Dusty Hill. The frontman says that he is “just glad [the bassist is] in a good spot.”

Gibbons said the following when asked about Hill initially leaving tour due to a “hip issue”:

“He did the first two [shows]. 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%, he was the first one to kind of say, ‘Gee whiz. Let’s go take care of this.’”

He continued when asked if he noticed anything that made him think that Hill was seriously ill:

“Well, 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”

Gibbons also added the following when asked if there is an official cause of death or if he just “really fell asleep and didn’t wake up”:

“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 also commented on the emotional toll that Hill’s death has taken on him:

“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.

But knowing that we can take his wishes forward and give him all due respect… You 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.]”

Gibbons also discussed moving forward with the band’s longtime guitar tech, Elwood Francis, on bass:

“Well, it was a direct directive from Mr. Dusty Hill. When he grabbed my arm and said, ‘I think I’m due to go visit the physician to see if I can bounce back,’ he said, ‘In the meantime, I want you to grab our guitar technician, Mr. Elwood and take him out of that tech station and strap him up with my guitar and make him carry on with every single note.’ And I said, ‘Well, if that’s your wishes, I’ll respect that.’ And sure enough, we’ve been very, very fortunate to have a stalwart standby to fill in.”

You can read more from Gibbons over at Variety. ZZ Top played their first show since Hill’s death at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater in Tuscaloosa, AL last night (July 30). You can see some fan-filmed footage from that concert below:

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