Billy Gibbons Share ZZ Top Is “Somewhat A New Band” Now
Billy Gibbons said ZZ Top‘s current lineup with longtime guitar tech Elwood Francis, feels “somewhat new as a band.”
Francis filled in for bassist Dusty Hill following his death on July 27, 2021, at the age of 72, while the band was in the midst of a U.S. tour. He insisted shortly before his death that Gibbons and Beard continue with Francis in his stead. The band canceled only one show before soldiering on with its new member.
“It’s interesting. Elwood’s background is steeped in the punk-rock world.
“We were curious if such a background was going to enter the ZZ Top world. But I must say that Elwood’s presence brings a robust energy that is actually a boost to ZZ Top. You might even consider us being somewhat new as a band. Which we are! It’s really entertaining, I’ll say that.”
Francis, becoming an official member of ZZ Top also changed his appearance. He has now a chest-length beard just like Gibbons, who shared:
“When Elwood jumped aboard initially, he was a skateboarder eating an avocado sandwich.
“No one even know that he had whiskers until he showed up to a rehearsal, and I said: ‘Who’s the new guy?’ And the chief technician said: ‘That’s your guitar technician, Elwood.’ I said: ‘No, the guy with the big beard.’ And he said: ‘Yeah, that’s Elwood.'”
The rocker continued about Francis’ addition to the band:
“It’s quite a trip having Elwood step in to help keep the ball rolling.
“He’s adding a great bit of enthusiasm. When I see Frank Beard smiling for the first time in 30 years, I know something good’s happening.”
The band just released a new live album, Raw, which was made in connection with its 2019 ZZ Top Netflix documentary, That Little Ol’ Band From Texas. The LP was produced by Gibbons, and is dedicated “in righteous memory of Dusty Hill.” It features their original lineup of Gibbons, Beard, and the late Hill, recorded at Gruene Hall in 2019.
ZZ Top is currently on their North American tour called Raw Whisky for this summer and will run through December.