ZZ Top‘s Billy Gibbons mentioned the Texas trio feels “considerably new as a band” with the addition of longtime guitar tech Elwood Francis, who took over for bassist Dusty Hill following his death final July.
“It is fairly a visit having Elwood step in to assist hold the ball rolling,” Gibbons instructed Classic Rock in a brand new interview. “He is including an excellent little bit of enthusiasm. After I see [drummer] Frank Beard smiling for the primary time in 30 years, I do know one thing good’s occurring.”
Hill died final 12 months on the age of 72 whereas ZZ Prime was within the midst of a U.S. tour. He insisted shortly earlier than his demise that Gibbons and Beard proceed with Francis in his stead. The band canceled only one show earlier than soldiering on with its new member.
Regardless of their disappointment over the lack of their lifelong buddy and bandmate, Gibbons and Beard each agreed with Hill’s directive. “Properly, it was an sudden actuality that landed not solely in my lap, however allowed me to hunker down and get critical with Mr. Beard,” Gibbons mentioned. “And the 2 of us each agreed that as an honor to the legacy of the band, we felt it could be extra appropriate to attempt to decide up sticks and keep it up, reasonably than simply throw within the towel.”
Gibbons praised Francis’ vitality and musicianship, noting that his totally different musical background brings a brand new component to the band. “It is fascinating. Elwood’s background is steeped within the punk-rock world,” he defined. “We have been curious if such a background was going to enter the ZZ Prime world. However I need to say that Elwood’s presence brings a strong vitality that’s really a lift to ZZ Prime. You would possibly even think about us being considerably new as a band. Which we’re! It is actually entertaining, I am going to say that.”
As for whether or not Francis can replicate Hill’s full-throated wail, as heard on songs like “Tush” and “I Bought the Six,” Gibbons noticed, “He is fairly good at harmonizing, however he is nonetheless a bit shy about taking a lead vocal at this stage of the sport. However who is aware of? I can reduce him free and let him do his factor.”
Maybe essentially the most heartening improvement relating to Francis’ new full-time standing in ZZ Prime is his new chest-length beard, which matches Gibbons’. “When Elwood jumped aboard initially, he was a skateboarder consuming an avocado sandwich,” the guitarist mentioned. “Nobody even know that he had whiskers till he confirmed as much as a rehearsal, and I mentioned: ‘Who’s the brand new man?’ And the chief technician mentioned: ‘That is your guitar technician, Elwood.’ I mentioned: ‘No, the man with the large beard.’ And he mentioned: ‘Yeah, that is Elwood.'”
ZZ Prime simply launched a brand new reside album titled RAW: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas Original Soundtrack, which options the trio’s final recordings with Hill. In characteristically laid-back however nonetheless reverent trend, Gibbons detailed his emotions upon dropping his comrade.
“It took a second for the truth to sink in,” he mentioned. “However, , he is no totally different from the remainder of us; sadly we’re all going to go a while. We choose to place it off, if what I imply. The day after Dusty handed, I spoke with buddy, one other guitar participant, Steve Cropper,” he continued. “And years earlier than, when Duck Dunn [bass player with Cropper in Booker T. & the MG’s] handed away, I took notice of Cropper’s remarks. He mentioned: ‘I really feel like I’ve misplaced an excellent buddy. And that went effectively past one other musician. He was effectively past that.’ And we felt that method about Dusty. We misplaced an excellent buddy.”
ZZ Prime is at the moment on tour within the U.S. and is scheduled to remain on the street by way of December.
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