Sturgis Motorcycle Rally: ZZ Top Still Plans to Perform Despite Dusty Hill Recent Passing

by Clayton Edwards

ZZ Top and their legions of fans are still mourning the loss of Dusty Hill. The master of the blues shuffle in C died in his Houston, Texas home last week. Before that, he had to step away from the band’s current tour due to a hip injury. However, the band is taking things in stride and carrying on. In fact, they’re still on the road rocking stages and bringing the classic sound to many excited fans.

ZZ Top was slated to play the Buffalo Chip on August 11th, during the upcoming Sturgis Motorcycle rally. Many fans worried that the show would be canceled. It would be understandable. However, the show must go on. The band will, in fact, appear at the Buffalo Chip as planned, according to the Argus Leader. Their long-time guitar technician, Elwood Francis will carry the band’s bottom end in Hill’s place.

In fact, Elwood Francis will replace Dusty Hill as ZZ Top’s bassist for the foreseeable future.

Dusty Hill Wanted ZZ Top to Go On Without Him

Dusty Hill joined Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons to form ZZ Top over fifty years ago. Since then, they have released fifteen albums and toured the world several times over. They brought their Texas roots to the forefront of popular music. Over the decades, the band became more than a rock band from Texas. They became a cultural touchstone. The band’s name is still shorthand for someone with a gloriously long beard. Hill may have known the end was coming for him. However, he didn’t want the band to end with him.

Duty Hill didn’t just tell his bandmates he wanted them to go on without him. He also named his replacement. Elwood Francis has worked with ZZ Top behind the scenes for over two decades. He isn’t just an employee. He’s also a friend to the band. More than that, Francis is a talented musician. Because of this, Hill wanted Francis to take his place in the band.

 Last week, Billy Gibbons announced the future of ZZ Top through SiriusXM radio personality Eddie Trunk. Gibbons texted Trunk who then shared those messages with the world. Before leaving the tour to nurse his hip injury, Dusty told Billy that the show must go on. Then, he told him that he knew who he wanted to take his place. “Give Elwood the bottom end and take it to the top,” Hill urged. About this, Gibbons said, “With respect, we’ll do well to get beyond this and honor his wishes.”

On Friday, Gibbons and ZZ Top made good on that. They took the stage at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater and rocked the crowd with Francis on bass. Throughout the show, Gibbons praised Francis for “Tearing up the bottom for Dusty.”