HAIR’S TO ZZ TOP’S COAST SHOW
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.