ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons Says New Album ‘Raw’ Is a ‘Fitting Tribute’ to the Late Dusty Hill

by Samantha Whidden

Prior to the release of ZZ Top’s new album “Raw,” bandmate Billy Gibbons revealed that the album is a “fitting tribute” to the late bassist Dusty Hill, who passed away in July 2021.

During a recent interview with ABC Audio, the ZZ Top frontman revealed more details about the new album. “I think nothing could be a more fitting tribute [than] to release something that was so telling of how ZZ Top actually came about,” Gibbons explained. 

“Raw” is notably an 11-track album that was recorded live at the historical Green Hall in New Braunfels, Texas. It is alongside ZZ Top’s 2019 documentary “The Little Ol’ Band From Texas.” The album features the legendary music group’s classic line-up, Gibbons, Hill, and Frank Beard. They play versions of various songs from their back catalog. This includes hit tracks including “Legs” and “Gimme All Your Lovin’.”

While speaking about the performance, Gibbons noted it was all unplanned. He also said the film’s director had invited ZZ Top to Gruene Hall for what they thought was a photo shoot. “Upon arrival, we discovered that some wires had been crossed. The ZZ Top equipment crew had not been told it was just a photo session. They set up the entire backline. We had guitars, amps, drums, the works.”

Luckily, ZZ Top members were able to think quickly on their feet. They proceeded to play various songs while the footage of the performance was featured in the documentary. Gibbons still maintains that he was not away that the audio of the full set was recorded. At least not until a sound engineer informed him a few months later. “Upon listening to it, we all took a shine. And [we] said, ‘Gee whiz, this sounds like the ZZ Top we’ve always known. That’s how we started.’”

ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons Opens Up About the Loss of Dusty Hill 

While speaking to the Los Angeles Daily News, ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons opened up about losing Dusty Hill last summer. 

“It was quite sudden,” Gibbons explained. “And we remained under the assumption he’d rally, recover, and rejoin us. There was no anticipation mental or other. We just had to deal with the reality of departure and quick turnaround helped reinforce ‘the show must go on’ ethos. Our crew, our friends, fans, and followers have been a huge source of comfort.”

Gibbons also spoke about the chemistry he, Hill, and Beard experienced when they originally first played together. “Funny thing, our first, I’ll call it a jam session together, Dusty was in line to pick up the bass guitar and throw his hat into the ring. And what was going to start up as a three-minute shuffle in C turned out to be a three-hour jam session. We knew something was cooking.”

As previously reported, Dusty Hill passed away a couple of months after his 72nd birthday. The ZZ Top bassist had notably been struggling with a hip issue at the time.