“Dusty is their bass player. I'm not the bass player. I shouldn't be in the band”: Elwood Francis replaced Dusty Hill in ZZ Top – but he still feels uncomfortable about it

Elwood Francis and Billy Gibbons of the American band ZZ Top perform live on stage during a concert at the Zitadelle Spandau on July 6, 2024 in Berlin, Germany
(Image credit: Frank Hoensch/Redferns/Getty Images)

In July 2021, Dusty Hill – ZZ Top’s longtime bass guitar player – passed away at the age of 72. As per the late bassist's wishes, his place was taken by the band’s guitar tech, Elwood Francis.

For the guitar tech-turned-ZZ Top member, that meant not just playing the correct parts, but also continuing the band’s legacy of using rather, erm, colorful instruments – a role that was enthusiastically adopted by Francis, who took to the stage with a crazy 17-string bass guitar.

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Matt Owen
Senior Staff Writer, GuitarWorld.com

Matt is a Senior Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.

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