ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill: Remembering the Late Rock Legend’s Epic ‘King of the Hill’ Cameo

by Amy Myers
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Since ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill’s tragic passing on Wednesday, July 28, the music world is honoring his every contribution to entertainment. While his irreplaceable role on stage will always be his legacy, he also had a shining moment on a popular animated sitcom.

When King of the Hill became popular, the ZZ Top bassist was among some of the show’s biggest fans. Coincidentally, the voice behind the main character and creator of the show, Mike Judge, was just as big a fan of Hill. Like the late musician, Judge grew up in Texas and played the bass in a band when he was younger. Naturally, Hill had to guest star on the show. So, in 2007, Judge asked the famous ZZ Top member to do a cameo on King of the Hill. To make the feature even better, Judge made Hill’s animated cameo the cousin of the main character, Hank Hill.

“Great and/or twisted minds think alike,” Hill told UCR. “I’m from near Dallas, where the show is set, and I told my wife they should ask me to play a relative since the last name was already there.”

“I kind of already had the role down, so to speak, the ZZ Top member said.

Outside of the well-fitting last names, Hill explained that there was no show he could relate to quite like King of the Hill. The series seemed to portray what life was really like for him as a kid.

“I mean, I know those characters as real people who I grew up with, including Bobby. You know: ‘That boy just ain’t right.'”

‘Behind the Beard’ of ZZ Top’s Late Bassist

In the famed Season 11 episode, “Hank Gets Dusted,” the story revolved around the ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill and how the main character and cousin Hank didn’t like to mention their familial relationship. At the start of the show, Hill’s cameo rolled into Arlen with a reality TV crew in tow. Like an inception of animated shows, the King of the Hill version of the bassist was the star of his own reality series, “Behind the Beard.”

As Hill’s visit with his cousin continues, he repeatedly pranks Hank as his producer requests. Apparently, to the network, Hank’s angered reactions were a hit among viewers. One of the pranks featured ZZ Top rehearsing on top of Hank’s bed while he slept. Where there weren’t guitars and microphones, there were guys with cameras on their shoulders.

According to Hill, the show’s antics weren’t a far cry from how life actually was with the members of the band.

“The animated version is pretty similar to the real thing,” Hill said. “I mean, we’re a rock ‘n’ roll band, and that’s predicated on everybody having a good time. My philosophy is that you gotta smile and enjoy yourself. That’s the rock band sensibility that attracted us to this in the first place.”

Dusty Hill will be missed by both music and King of the Hill fans everywhere.

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