Dusty and Billy Keepin’ it Real after 35 Years

They are two icons, almost cartoon characters, who have been doing the same thing for 35 years. They are Billy F. Gibbons and Dusty Hill, whose trademark foot-long beards and sunglasses make them instantly recognizable as Texas’ famous rockers ZZ Top. The pair were interviewed by Alan Light in today’s NY Times, and Gibbons explains how experimenting with equipment and new songs keeps things fresh.

“The novelty of new gear helps to lubricate those pitfalls,” he said. Frequently a new setting on an amplifier, a new guitar, that’s enough to keep things energetic. Just tonight I got a call from Dusty, he’s all excited, he’s got a new bass. I asked what have you got? and he said, I don’t know but it’s red.”

The band leaves their set list open each night, where they let one of the trio make a call…the other night Dusty pulled out an old Muddy Waters tune, “Two Trains,” a song they hadn’t played for two decades. Gibbons was also impressed with a young metal band he sat in with. “They had Watkins Dominator amps. They haven’t made those since 1963, you can’t find them, and they had two of them!”