1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Dusty Hill??? Bass Thrill???

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by rickbass, Nov 6, 2002.

  1. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I've heard a ton of ZZ Top and saw Dusty Hill playing live (on TV) the other night.

    I keep hearing "root noter" and he doesn't seem to be any great shakes on recordings. But, that's not much of a basis for what he really may be capable of.

    In your opinion, or experience, is Dusty Hill "all that" or is he just a very limited bass player with some cool Bolin basses and Creme cabs???

    I honestly don't know.
  2. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I always thought he was a very limited player, though he has some really cool basses.

    Unless of course, he has chops and doesn't feel like showing them off.
  3. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Well, you never know what a guy can really do; however, (in a trio) it always seemed to me that he has room to make things a lot more interesting than he does.
  4. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i agree with turock - i'd expect him to open up a bit more since there's so much room for it. i think he's only in it for the free beard care products.

    i mean, that thing could be an expensive hassle without all those gillette endorsements.
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Yup.....awful lot of money for what he seems to lay down....(says my jealous self)

    Leave it to you to consider that angle, John. ;) Tejas--- what a place to wear a chest-length beard!!! Ugghhh!!!
  6. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
  7. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    Here's the thing that really bugs me about this band (and it's not really about the band.)

    Why is it that music critics and other so-called journlists feel compelled to -- repeatedly -- point out that ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard is the only member of the band that doesn't actually HAVE a beard?

    (See paragraph two in the story linked below -- one example of many I've seen over the years.)

    What's that supposed to be? Ironic? A subtle quirk? Is that one of those nuanced observations that only they are cool enough to notice and that must be pointed out to the rest of us?

    Gimme a break... :rolleyes:

    Off the point, I know,but it just bugs me.

  8. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    Regardless of the mans "chops", he does EXACTLY what works best for ZZ Top. I'm sure he could open up if he wanted to, but chooses to exercise taste and restraint in service to the music ( something I wish more bassists would do !) Sometimes it's all about arpeggiated scales in exotic modes and sometimes it's all about the root.

    Personally, I think Dusty's got a great groove. All sorts of subtle things like his playing behind or in front of the beat. Few notes, lot's o' feel.

    I just wonder how he keeps his beard from tanglin' up in that spinning bass?
  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    but see, we don't know this. we haven't ever heard the music with a more aggressive player playing it, and doing so well.

    i've often heard the comment that micheal anthony is exactly what the doctor ordered for van halen, and they wouldn't be as good a band with someone with a more aggressive musical approach, but in my opinion, dlr's eat em and smile is a much better and more complete sounding van halen album than any of the vh's own albums.

    i'm not into chops for chops own sake, but i do enjoy some musical and harmonic stretching and experimentation once in a while. i think there's a great deal of room for dusty hill to expand into in this band and still not be anywhere in the same county with the concept of "overplayer".
  10. pigpen02


    Mar 24, 2002
    i think dusty does a great job. remember, this is essentially a blues band, and their rhythm section does the job required. even double trouble doesn't go chops heavy when their supporting whoever.

    i know there are lots of blues bands out there w/ ripping bassists/drummers, but for that matter even billy gibbons doesn't go off: he shows admirable restraint in his rhythm playing and solo's. who can forget his wonderful one note solo?

    i really doubt that you can play for this long without developing somewhat.
  11. there's a funny slap bass solo on "thug" on Eliminator.
  12. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I totally expected the "he does what's right for the music" comments, lenny and I don't discount them.

    But, like John, I would think there would be occasions, (at least when I played in blues bands), where you just say, "What the hell......It's time to show I'm gwine to tear this muther up!!!!"

    Two points of reference for me are when I had to learn Leon Wilkeson's and Tommy Shannon's bass lines for blues-based bands like ZZ. I thought there was nuthin' to it but to do it till I tried it. Those guys just smoked Hill off the bass.
  13. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I'm tryin' to remember what/how ZZ Top sounded like back in their early daze(first 2-3 albums).
    I seem to recall Rio Grande Mud being pretty decent(bass-wise)... ;)

    I do remember when "Tush" came out & BAM-
    They became pretty 'big'.
    A rebirth occurred with MTV; who here didn't enjoy those videos?!.

    What the Hell-
    Playing 1/8th notes in Root motion does pay dividends.

    As far as a Blues-Rock band hitting on all cylinders-
    IMO, Cream in their heyday(which only lasted about as long as a cup of coffee) were it!
    Listen to any of their LIVE cuts(which totaled about 90% of their recorded output). ;)

    BTW, no pun intended on the cream/coffee thing...that just happened.

  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    As mentioned, ZZTop is mostly a blues/roots band. When it comes to music I don't give any extra credit for chops, all I care about is the groove of the song. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate and respect bassists like Jaco and Vic and Geddy, but I don't rate them any more highly than a Dusty Hill or Duck Dunn. Another way to put it is, I respect bassists who leave space every bit as much as those who fill space.
  15. Funkster

    Funkster Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    There's one word here GROOVE!

    Listen to Tejas or Tres Hombre's it's all about the groove and don't forget Dusty sings half the songs.

    rickbass your right about Leon Wilkeson and Tommy Shannon they are masters, Throw in Berry Oakley from the Allman Bros also
  16. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Dusty's best work, IMO, was on the first few albums. ZZ has never been the same since the big success of "Eliminator"....Dusty got REALLY into the basic 8th note ride after that. Guess $$$$ talks, hmmm?

    On those old ZZ albums, though, listen not only to what Dusty does...but what he gets done as teamed with Frank Beard. Those two make some serious noise and some pretty interesting rhythmic stuffs. BTW...lotta that stuff sounds easy...until you try to duplicate it.
  17. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    ZZ Top happens to be one of my all time favorite bands. Whatever Dusty does is OK with me. I love to hear cats who can push the limits of music and their instrument, whatever it is. But some bands just don't need that. They happen to be one. (FWIW: I didn't care for any of their albums after Deguello, which, by the way, was a great album.)

    For me, it comes down to this:
    Is there room in ZZ Top's music for a more chops oriented bassist? Probably. Would I listen to it? Probably not.:cool:
  18. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    He does his job, nothing more, nothing less IMO.
  19. I like ZZ Top, and I like Dusty. I think he could open up a bit more, but I don't see a real need for it. I like him the way he is as a bassist.

    I do play some ZZ Top songs, and will admit that I try to add in some fills and what not.
  20. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Something else that should be mentioned is that he has a finger on his right hand...his middle finger, I believe...which has the bone fused solid. He can't bend it much or at all. I imagine that influences how active his lines are at times.

    Interestingly enough, he seems to have developed some "special techniques" with this finger which have made the ladies quite happy....he calls it "The Pleaser". ;)

Share This Page