The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

THE growth of the ur­ban hip­ster has threat­ened the name of many a clas­sic band, but per­haps none more so than the peren­ni­ally bearded ZZ Top.

The trend to­wards fa­cial hair has spawned armies of 20-some­things hum­ming the lat­est folk tune through their thick bris­tles – there’s even a band from Ade­laide called The Beards.

But as orig­i­nal whiskered rock­ers ZZ Top re­turn to tour Aus­tralia, shar­ing a bill with Guns N’ Roses and Rose Tat­too, bass player Dusty Hill says he isn’t phased by the re­cent rush for fluff.

‘‘We’ve al­ways said that we’re im­mune to fash­ion and I think if you look at us down the years that holds true,’’ Hill says from his home in Texas.

‘‘Men with beards is noth­ing new and the tra­di­tion goes way be­yond the band his­tor­i­cally so it’s some­thing we can’t claim own­er­ship to.’’

The band’s at­tach­ment to fa­cial hair was never planned and iron­i­cally, the only clean-shaven mem­ber of ZZ Top is drum­mer Frank Beard.

Hill and singer Billy Gib­bons, grew beards with­out each oth­ers’ knowl­edge while on hia­tus in the late ’70s.

‘‘We talked over the phone all the time but ‘I’m grow­ing a beard’ never came up in con­ver­sa­tion and we only re­alised we’d cre­ated a mon­ster when we got back to­gether,’’ Hill says.

The trade­mark im­age of the foot-long beard, cow­boy hat and sun­glasses ar­rived with ZZ Top’s 1983 al­bum Elim­i­na­tor, re­leased around the dawn of the video age and re­spon­si­ble for two of the band’s big­gest hits – Gimme All Your Lovin’ and Legs.

Wor­shipped by ZZ Top fans, the beards have re­mained a con­stant force in the 30 years since. Gib­bons and Hill are even in­sured for hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars should any freak ac­ci­dent put a knife to decades of growth.

While eat­ing a bowl of chili can be messy and groom­ing is a con­stant chore, the pair have no plans to re­veal their true faces.

‘‘We’ve been of­fered ob­scene amounts of money by ra­zor com­pa­nies and other ad­ver­tis­ers,’’ Hill says.

‘‘For some rea­son peo­ple are cu­ri­ous about what we look like un­der­neath but there’s ab­so­lutely no way. I haven’t seen my face for years and I’m pretty happy about that.’’

ZZ Top and The Dead Daisies, fea­tur­ing Jon Stevens, Charley Dray­ton, Richard For­tus, Jim Hil­bun, David Lowy and Alan Mans­field, play RSL South­port on Tues­day. Guns N’ Roses, ZZ Top and Rose Tat­too play the Bris­bane En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre on Wed­nes­day.

Texan blues rock­ers ZZ Top (from left): Dusty Hill, Billy Gib­bons and Frank Beard.

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