Billy Gibbons offers update on ZZ Top’s retirement plans

Doesn’t sound like the Reverend is ready to hang up his beard just yet.

ZZ Top performing

Image: Scott Dudelson / Getty Images

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Don’t hold your breath for a ZZ Top retirement, or so says frontman Billy Gibbons, who’s determined to have the band going as long as they can.

The band’s future first came into question in 2021 following the sudden passing of ZZ Top’s longtime bassist Dusty Hill. Those doubts, however, were soon shut down after the group announced that they will continue on with former guitar tech Elwood Francis taking over Hill’s spot.

Confronted once again with the idea of a farewell tour in a recent interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Gibbons emphasises once again that a retirement isn’t in the cards, saying “I borrow the conversation from an exchange I was able to enjoy with Keith Richards. He said, ‘Man, if we’re lucky enough to follow the words of Muddy Waters, he said, ‘Do it until you die.’”

“Of course, Muddy Waters was lucky enough to do just that. He was playing right up until the end. So we should be fortunate, I guess.”

The rocker’s latest answer echoes his statement back in 2017, where he said, “The needle is at ‘F’ and we’re still out there on the track, sometimes lapping ourselves. Retirement? We don’t know the meaning of the word, but it does include ‘tire’ so, rest assured, we’ve got plenty of tread left.”

Last September, Gibbons told Classic Rock that he and drummer Frank Beard had a discussion about their future plans after the “totally unexpected” death of Hill, who’s been with the band for over 50 years.

Speaking about the decision to have Francis come on board, he said, “Well it was an unexpected reality that landed not only in my lap, but allowed me to hunker down and get serious with Mister Beard. And the two of us both agreed that as an honour to the legacy of the band, we felt it would be more suitable to try to pick up sticks and carry on, rather than just throw in the towel.”

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