ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill Was My Favorite Bar Customer Back In The Day
I was very sad to hear of the passing of ZZ Top's Dusty Hill. He passed on Tuesday "in his sleep" according to media reports at the age of 72. The week before he missed a show due to hip problems. I'm hoping this wasn't another case of accidently taking too much pain medication.
Back in the day, early 80's to be more precise, I was a bartender in a swanky hotel bar in Houston, Texas called The Encore Lounge. One of my regular customers was none other than Dusty Hill, who happened to live right around the corner from the hotel.
Dusty would usually come in with his girlfriend. you might remember her from ZZ Top's "Legs" video. I don't recall her name but I do remember she drank Amaretto Sours. Dusty would always order his usual, Crown Royal and club soda.
Everyone working in the lounge knew that Dusty carried a derringer in his boot at all times. In Texas, it's a $10,000 fine for bringing a firearm into a bar. Dusty would approach his bar stool and before he could sit down I'd say "Dusty, did we forget something?" He work glance up and just say "sh*t" and walk out to the lobby to check his derringer at the front desk.
I used to have a good time razzing him about only having 3 guys in the band. I'd tell him he needed someone on tambourine and that person should be me. I even, on one slow night, super imposed my driver's license picture on a ZZ Top album. I never got the gig but always had fun when Dusty would come in.
Several years later, when I was doing radio in Florida, I went to a ZZ Top show in Tampa. I ran into Dusty backstage and was surprised that he actually remembered me from the bar in Houston. The picture below was taken after that show. I'm the one next to Dusty with the mullet and porn mustache.
Rest in Peace, Dusty. Thanks for the music!
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