Billy Gibbons has revealed that the next ZZ TOP album will feature tracks recorded with the band's late bassist Dusty Hill.
The follow-up to 2012's "La Futura", which could arrive later this year, will also include songs with and Dusty's replacement, Elwood Francis.
In a new interview with Classic Rock, Gibbons said about the status of the new ZZ TOP LP: "Are things coming to the boil yet? Yeah. In fact, we are currently reviewing the tracks that deserve completion. Dusty is on some of those, so is Elwood. What's fascinating is that we have three or four tracks with them both. They're trading off. The only tell-tale difference is that Dusty, playing with his fingers, sounds a little warmer."
Regarding how Francis, who was ZZ TOP's longtime guitar tech, came to join the band following Hill's passing, Gibbons said: "Dusty was a great guy, a swell singer. He provided a solid platform for me to solo without having to look back. He was always on it. Dusty used to say: 'If I'm late to the stage, be sure to give my guitar to Elwood.' Elwood is a family member; he's been with us for three decades. And sure enough, Elwood picked up the parts and pieces [to replace Hill in ZZ TOP]. But whereas Dusty played with his fingers, Elwood uses a pick. It's a little sharper. He brings a little more finesse. And at the first rehearsal he showed up with a full beard longer than mine."
Gibbons admitted "there was a lot of curiosity" surrounding ZZ TOP's return to the live stage without Hill. "'What's this going to be like?' 'Can this guy hold up the bottom of the TOP?' In a trio it's a big challenge," he said. "Everything has to be working at a hundred and ten per cent. But Elwood was ready, having been a part of it for so long… [Dusty] said: 'The show must go on.' That was his wish, and we granted it."
ZZ TOP and LYNYRD SKYNYRD will embark on their first co-headlining tour — "The Sharp Dressed Simple Man" tour — taking over 22 cities in North America this summer. Produced by Live Nation, the tour kicks off on Friday, July 21 at iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Florida and continues with stops in Fort Worth, Phoenix, Chicago, and more before wrapping up in Camden, New Jersey at Freedom Mortgage Pavilion on Sunday, September 17.
The 72-year-old Hill died on July 28, 2021 in his sleep at his Houston, Texas home.
ZZ TOP played its first show following Hill's death on July 30, 2021 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Francis made his live debut with ZZ TOP on July 23, 2021 at the Village Commons in New Lenox, Illinois after Hill was forced to return to Texas to address a hip issue.
Hill joined ZZ TOP a year after its formation in 1969.