Following the news of Dusty Hill‘s death at age 72, many fans have been mourning through music: looking back at his finest moments as bassist and occasional singer in ZZ Top. But Hill was quite a character even away from their songs, generating headlines both hilarious and fascinating.
For the below list of Our 10 Favorite Dusty Hill Stories, we combed through our archives and recapped 10 of our favorite Hill-centric stories. And most of them, naturally, are tied to his famous blues-rock band: finding a loophole to a manager’s two-drink-per-night limit, the classic lineup debuting onstage to an audience of one, stirring up playful trouble on the set of Back to the Future III, jamming during soundcheck to spark one of their most beloved songs, even encouraging his bandmates to carry on with a new member after his death.
A few memories do fall outside the band umbrella: a lifelong passion for professional wrestling (one he happened to share with guitarist Billy Gibbons), an early stint in a fake Zombies group, his own journey while working at an airport during ZZ Top’s late ’70s hiatus.
“We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top,’” Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard wrote in a statement. “We will forever be connected to that ‘Blues Shuffle in C.’ You will be missed greatly, amigo.”
He will indeed. And to honor that presence, we present UCR’s 10 Favorite Dusty Hill Stories.