ZZ Top Aiming to Release New Music for First Time Without Dusty Hill
Dusty Hill passed away unexpectedly in July 2021 and instructed his ZZ Top bandmates to continue with guitar tech Elwood Francis in his place, according to Ultimate Classic Rock. In fact, it looks as though Francis will be recording with ZZ Top in the future as Billy Gibbons revealed in an interview with UCR.
ZZ Top are releasing a new live album called Raw on July 8. It was recorded at the longest-running live music venue and dance hall in Texas, Gruene Hall, that was built in 1878. Billy Gibbons describes the historic venue as a "grand resonating speaker box." Gibbons says that the transition the band has made with Francis as its newest member is all because of Dusty, "Not only was he a great performer and a great friend, he had a thread of wisdom."
"When he was feeling a bit out of sorts, he requested going 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.'" Hill spoke fondly of Francis describing him as "more than a family member. He's been a solid standby for over three decades."
When asked if he was looking forward to new music beyond Raw, Gibbons commented, "Oh, yeah. In fact, this would be an interesting excursion into the unknown - particularly with Elwood holding down the bottom end. We've got the makings of a band that is partially the tried-and-true longstanding experience with something so fresh, and [there's] kind of uncharted territory that's being broken. We find it rather intriguing. It's a calling that has us grinning from start to finish."
ZZ Top are on tour this summer until the end of August with some of the dates pairing them with the legendary Willie Nelson. Check their full itinerary and get ticketing information here.