Dusty Hill, the quiet, bearded bass player who made up one third of ZZ Top, amongst the very popular rock bands of the 1980s, has actually died at his home in Houston. He was 72. His bandmates Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons announced the death on Wednesday through Facebook and Instagram. They did not say or offer a cause when he died.Starting in the early 1970s, ZZ Top racked up dozens of hit records and packed hundreds of arenas a year with their powerful mix of boogie, Southern rock and blues. The band actually took off in the 1980s, when Mr. Gibbons, the lead singer and guitarist, and Mr. Hill grew their signature 20-inch beards and the band released a series of albums that added New Wave synthesizers– often played by Mr. Hill– to their hard-driving guitars, producing MTV-friendly hits like “Legs” and “Sharp-Dressed Man.”The band matched their grungy sound and innuendo-filled lyrics with a knowing, often comic stage act– Mr. Hill and Mr. Gibbons, in matching sunglasses and Stetson hats, would swing their hips in unison, spinning their instruments on installs connected to their belts. (Despite his name, Mr. Beard, the drummer, sports simply a mustache.) Their phase sets might include crushed vehicles and even livestock.Though in public Mr. Hill and Mr. Gibbons were frequently incorrect as twins, their musical designs varied– Mr. Gibbons a showy virtuoso, Mr. Hill a grinding, accurate musical mechanic.Mr. Hill seldom provided interviews, choosing to let Mr. Gibbons promote the band. And he happily accepted his supporting function for his bandmates masterful lead guitar playing.”Sometimes you do not even see the bass,” he stated in a 2016 interview. “I hate that in a way, however I love that in a manner. Thats a compliment. That indicates youve filled in everything and its ideal for the song, and youre not standing out where you dont need to be.”Joseph Michael Hill was born in Dallas on May 19, 1949. He began his musical profession singing and playing cello, however he switched instruments at 13, when his sibling, Rocky, who played guitar, said atrioventricular bundle needed a bassist. One day Dusty came house to find a bass on his bed; that night, he signed up with Rocky onstage at a Dallas beer joint.”I started playing that night by putting my finger on the fret, and when the time concerned alter, my brother would strike me on the shoulder,” he stated in a 2012 interview.In 1969, Dusty was living in Houston and dealing with the blues vocalist Lightnin Hopkins when Mr. Beard, a good friend from high school, recommended that he audition for an open spot in a trio, called ZZ Top, just recently established by Mr. Gibbons. They played their very first show together in February 1970. The bands humor was evident from the start: They called their first album “ZZ Tops First Album.” Real success was available in 1973 with their 3rd release, “Tres Hombres,” which split the Billboard leading 10. That very same year they opened for the Rolling Stones in Hawaii.Many of their early songs leaned greatly on sexual innuendo, though sometimes they set the innuendo aside totally. “La Grange,” their huge hit on “Tres Hombres,” had to do with a bordello.In 1976, after a string of hit albums and nearly seven years of continuous touring, the band took a three-year hiatus. Mr. Hill went back to Dallas, where he operated at the airport and attempted to prevent being determined by fans.”I had a brief beard, regular length, and if you take off the hat and shades and wear work clothing and put Joe on my work shirt, individuals are not expecting to see you,” he said in a 2019 interview. “Now, a number of times, a couple of people did ask me, and I just lied, and I stated: No! Do you believe I d be sitting here?”The band reunited in 1979 to release “Degüello,” their very first album to go platinum, and the very first time Mr. Gibbons and Mr. Hill grew out their beards. It was likewise the very first indication that they were surpassing their Texas roots by adding a New Wave flavor to their sound, with Mr. Hill likewise playing keyboard.They attained super star status in 1983 with “Eliminator,” which included hit singles like “Legs,” “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Give Me All Your Lovin.” It sold 10 million copies and remained on the Billboard charts for 183 weeks.In 1984, Mr. Hill made headings when he accidentally shot himself in the stomach. As a sweetheart was taking off his boot, a. 38 Derringer slipped out, went and hit the floor off.The bands success continued through the 1980s, and while later albums– in which they returned to their Texan blues roots– didnt climb the charts, the trio still packed stadiums. And regardless of their obscene stylings, they started to draw grudging regard from critics, who frequently singled out Mr. Hills discreetly skillful bass playing.”My sound is huge, heavy and a bit distorted because it needs to overlap the guitar,” he said in a 2000 interview. “Someone when asked me to explain my tone, and I said it was like farting in a trash bin. What I indicated is its raw, however youve got to have the tone therein.”ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock & & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Mr. Hill wed his longtime sweetheart, Charleen McCrory, an actress, in 2002. He also had a daughter. Info on survivors was not immediately available.In 2014 he injured his hip after a fall on his trip bus. He needed surgical treatment, and part of the trip had to be canceled. On July 23, he left their newest tour, mentioning problems with his hip. It is uncertain whether that had any connection to his death.Contrary to their image– and the tough partying that their music seemed to encourage– Mr. Hill and his bandmates kept a low, fairly sober profile. And they remained buddies, even after 50 years of near-constant touring.”People ask how weve stayed together so long,” he told The Charlotte Observer in 2015. “I state different tour buses. We got different trip buses early on, when we most likely couldnt afford them. That way we were constantly happy to see each other when we got to the next city.”Alex Traub contributed reporting.
The band really took off in the 1980s, when Mr. Gibbons, the lead vocalist and guitarist, and Mr. Hill grew their signature 20-inch beards and the band released a series of albums that added New Wave synthesizers– often played by Mr. Hill– to their hard-driving guitars, producing MTV-friendly hits like “Legs” and “Sharp-Dressed Man.”The band paired their grungy sound and innuendo-filled lyrics with a knowing, in some cases comic phase act– Mr. Hill and Mr. Gibbons, in matching sunglasses and Stetson hats, would swing their hips in unison, spinning their instruments on mounts connected to their belts. Their phase sets may consist of crushed cars and even livestock.Though in public Mr. Hill and Mr. Gibbons were frequently incorrect as twins, their musical styles varied– Mr. Gibbons a showy virtuoso, Mr. Hill a grinding, exact musical mechanic.Mr.”I started playing that night by putting my finger on the fret, and when the time came to change, my bro would strike me on the shoulder,” he stated in a 2012 interview.In 1969, Dusty was living in Houston and working with the blues singer Lightnin Hopkins when Mr. Beard, a friend from high school, suggested that he audition for an open area in a trio, called ZZ Top, just recently established by Mr. Gibbons.”The band reunited in 1979 to launch “Degüello,” their very first album to go platinum, and the first time Mr. Gibbons and Mr. Hill grew out their beards.