The Weekly interview: ZZ Top bassist and co-vocalist Dusty Hill
Mon, Dec 3, 2012 (3:29 p.m.)
Photo: Scott Harrison
When you’re playing a club like House of Blues versus an arena, does it produce different results? When it’s a club, you can see people better. To me, that makes for a more fun show. I get off on seeing people have a good time. I’d like to do it in the middle of the crowd if I could.
Do you pick different songs for smaller shows like these? Sometimes, yeah. It depends on the mood. Being a three-piece, we have a lot of options, a lot of freedom for what we can play, versus a large band with a lot of people. If we want to change the song in the middle, you can just go—that’s the fun thing about it. Same thing with the set. The songs are arranged, but we can always change them as we go.
What was it like working with producer Rick Rubin on your new album, La Futura? We’ve been together a long time, and we’re kind of used to doing things one way, so it’s nice to shake it up a little bit. Putting Rick into the mix—you’ve seen him, he’s already got the beard—so, he fit right in already (laughs). It took us a little while to find a groove, but Rick is a very talented fella. He knows how to pull things out of you or when things aren’t going in a certain direction or aren’t working. I enjoyed it very much.
- ZZ TOP
- December 5 & 7, 9 p.m., $90-$180.
- House of Blues, 632-7600.
I read that you guys recorded it live … Yeah, we did a lot of it … I don’t know if you want to call it “old school,” but we definitely did some more basic stuff. … It’s not just three people playing live circled around one microphone, but it does have a strong element of an old-school type of recording. We used anything available or we don’t use things available, according to how it feels.
The latest video on your website has the tagline “New Video, Same Formula: Cars, Legs and Beards.” Have you ever toyed with changing up the formula? I promise you, if we did “Fly Me to the Moon” it would still sound like ZZ Top. It’s just the way we play. It just comes out sounding like that. I hope that’s a good thing. I don’t know what it is, but it is what it is. I’m talking in circles here, can you follow me? (laughs)
ZZ Top was just honored with the Living Legend Award from The Classic Rock Roll of Honour in the U.K. What do you think the band’s legacy will be? I’m not sure that’s for me to say. That’s like picking your own nickname; I think that’s against the rules (laughs). For our legacy, I hope people would listen to the body of the work and not just one segment. Most people have their favorites or don’t like us at all, and any of that’s cool. But I hope that people would listen to all of it. When I listened to Muddy Waters, I listened to early and later Muddy Waters. When I listened to Elvis Presley, same thing. When I listened to The Beatles or whoever, I try to listen to the body of work before I start thinking of their legacy.
Have you guys ever thought of approaching the Movember charity about becoming spokesmen? Oh yeah, we got a head start on everybody on that (laughs). I’ll tell you, if I don’t think about it or walk past a mirror, I’ll forget I even have it—it’s just so much a part of me. There’s a show on TV called Duck Dynasty, these guys in Louisiana, and its a hilarious show. They call themselves rednecks and say, “That’s like shaving my beard, I’d never do that.” I would have this thing, with or without the band. My wife has never seen me without it. I’m not sure I’d wanna take that chance.