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ZZ Top may have returned to the road following the July 28 death of bassist Dusty Hill, but he’s obviously still front of mind for guitarist Billy Gibbons.

Gibbons spoke to Variety on the passing of his friend and bandmate, who exited the band’s current tour two shows in to address a “hip issue” but would sadly die in his sleep.

“Well, it’s no secret that over the past few years he had a pretty rough go with a broken shoulder, followed with a broken hip,” said Gibbons. “And he had some problems with some ulcers. So he’s been kind of tiptoeing through keeping himself ship-shape, best he could. But I think that this was a real challenge. And by throwing in the towel, it might’ve caught up with him. Who knows? I’m just glad he’s in a good spot.”

As for an exact cause of death, that’s still unknown. Gibbons would say, “Let’s face it, you don’t necessarily pass away from a broken shoulder or broken hip. Although the attending physician had earlier warned him that bursitis was not uncommon, even arthritis, and they said it’s not a very comfortable place to be. And I could tell that he was moving a little slow. He said, ‘Boy, this shoulder and hip are really starting to become a problem.’ But, as of this juncture, yeah, it was off to dreamland and beyond.”

Gibbons would also mention that ZZ Top was working on new music during the pandemic, and Hill recorded some vocal tracks. As far as the status on a potential album, Gibbons said, “It’s gonna require some completion work. I think the luck of the draw was, I handed Dusty a couple of lyric sheets and I said, ‘Hey, see if you can make heads or tails out of this.’ He said, ‘Can I sing it?’ I said, ‘Dusty, you could sing the calendar if you wanted to — people would love it.’ He goes, ‘Hey, that’s not a bad idea. If we ever get back to go to work, can we add the calendar into the show? I know all the words.’ I said, ‘Get in there. Go sing.’ So, yeah, we’ve got a couple of things [with Dusty singing lead] that’ll make sense.”

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Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice.