ZZ Top singer and guitarist Billy Gibbons talked in an interview with Variety about the death of his bandmate, the bassist Dusty Hill at the age of 72. Gibbons already confirmed that the band will continue as Hill wanted.
ZZ Top singer and guitarist Billy Gibbons talks about Dusty Hill’s death:
“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.”
Was it just the first two dates of the tour that Dusty did with you, before he had to leave?
“He did the first two. 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.”
So it wasn’t anything where you had partly expected it or thought, boy, he’s seriously ill, and he might have a real problem on his hands?
“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.”
Is there an official cause of death now, or is it just he really fell asleep and didn’t wake up, and people don’t know?
“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.”
What’s it been like for you emotionally? Is it helping to know that you’re going to be out there celebrating every night regardless? Or is it pretty tough to deal with right now?
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.”
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.]” ZZ Top singer and guitarist Billy Gibbons said.