RIP Dusty Hill

We lost an iconic fixture of Texas music yesterday, a mainstay legend and master of our great state’s historic blues-infused rock and roll. Dusty Hill, the bearded bassist for ZZ Top, apparently died overnight at his home in Houston. He was 72. He had a broken hip. No one is saying what killed him. My gut tells me it probably had something to do with pain killers associated with the hip – that’s what took Tom Petty out four years ago – but that’s only my speculation. What I know for sure is that for 50 years Dusty Hill provided the low rumble beneath every ZZ Top song that made their music feel so gritty and dirty and real.

As lead guitarist Billy Gibbons said yesterday, Dusty Hill was the “monumental bottom to the Top.’

This is Texas Monthly’s story on Hill’s passing. This is from Rolling Stone magazine. And this the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s collection of tributes from the music world.

I’ve seen the self-proclaimed “little ol’ band from Texas” in concert at least eight or nine times, from the floor at Reunion Arena in the mid ’80s to their 50th Anniversary Show in Austin two summers ago. Carrie-Anne and I saw ZZ Top and Aerosmith at StarPlex in Dallas in 2009. Carley and I saw them in Amarillo in 2017. If you’ve lived in Texas your whole life – anywhere in Texas – odds are you’ve seen ZZ Top. They played all the time in cities and venues large and small.

I won second row floor seats to a ZZ Top show during the Afterburner tour by being the correct caller and singing the opening lines of “La Grange” on Q-102 in Dallas. Bo Roberts provided the “Hauw, Hauw, Hauw.” I bought a silver ZZ key chain just like the ones in those three “Eliminator” videos at that concert and kept it all the way through college. I wore that “Afterburner” concert T-shirt until it fell off of me in the late ’90s. But I bought a new one at the 50th anniversary show in Austin and I’m wearing it today.

The genius of Billy, Dusty, and drummer Frank Beard is the consistency: same three guys, same three chords. From the early ’70s to just a couple of months ago, you always got the exact same thing at a ZZ Top concert: a stripped-down stage, the bare minimum on lighting, simple chords, easy lyrics, understated choreography, fuzzy guitars, and lots of references to the greatness of the Lone Star State. ZZ Top shows are always super loud and super fun. I’ll never know how they got so much out of two guitars and a drum, but they always did. Those three also had a tongue-in-cheek, satirical, almost ironic sense of their own stardom, of their fans, and of the whole scene. The only subtle thing about a ZZ TopĀ  concert is the way they poke fun at themselves and at us while they’re performing. That was always part of the joy of a ZZ Top show. Those 20-inch beards, the cheap sunglasses, spinning fuzzy guitars with the aid of a prop on their belt buckles – they knew it was absurd. Beautifully, wonderfully absurd.

Gibbons is being quoted today as wanting to fulfill Dusty Hill’s wishes that the show go on without him. But can it? ZZ Top was scheduled to play here in Midland in December with George Thorogood and we were planning to attend as a family. But Dusty Hill was ZZ Top’s center of gravity. I don’t think it’s ZZ Top without Dusty’s barrelling bass. His growling harmonies. His powerful presence. No offense to Frank Beard, but that’s just Billy Gibbons doing solo.

Peace,

Allan

That Didn’t Take Long

The minute we left Amarillo, the Vermillion family realized they were losing a significant stream of steady revenue for their Blue Sky restaurants. And one of their most passionate advocates. So, they’re getting this one built as quickly as they can in Midland. I don’t know when this newest Blue Sky at Midkiff Road and Loop 250 will officially open, but the signs have gone up and we’re monitoring it closely.

Once this iconic Amarillo establishment opens up for business here, my whole world will again be at peace. I’m assuming they will make their buns on site every day and carefully build their burgers with the freshest beef and the perfect combination of vegetables just like they’ve done for years at 1-40 and Western. The hot ham and cheese sandwich will still be surprisingly excellent. The fried jalapenos and crispy french fries will perfectly complement the burger or the ham and cheese. And the hand-spun shakes will come with a massive pile of whipped cream on top.

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, this newest Blue Sky is situated exactly halfway between our new house here in Midland and our new church at GCR. The most perfect location anyone could have chosen. Thank you, Rex and E.A.! Now, hurry up and get this thing opened!

Peace,

Allan

Promises and Prayers

Sunday was our first official day here at Golf Course Road Church of Christ and Carrie-Anne and I are completely overwhelmed by the tremendous love and generosity of our new church home. The shepherds here ordained me during the worship assembly — they made promises to me and asked me to make promises to them, they charged me with preaching God’s Word and helping to pastor the flock and fostering a culture at GCR in which we will be more transformed into the image of Christ. And then Eddie Lee prayed a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving and blessing over us on behalf of the congregation.

I can’t adequately express the excitement we’re experiencing nor the tremendous anticipation we’re feeling for what our God is doing here at GCR. And that we get to be a part of it!

I am so thankful for the faith and confidence this church is placing in me and my family to represent our Lord and his church at GCR in our Midland community and beyond. That blessing and that responsibility are not lost on me. It’s sacred to me. It’s heavy. I feel it. I cherish it. I feel very honored by this church and by our Lord to be here.

I am so grateful for the warm welcome we are receiving here. So many texts, emails, phone calls, cards, food — it’s overwhelming! It’s a constant reminder to me that our Lord is the one who had moved us out here to be with these folks. He’s way out in front of us on this. The timing is his.

 

 

 

 

The call from our God here is clear and the challenge at GCR is real. But I am confident. I am supremely confident. Because the shepherds here are honest and humble men who have a passionate heart for loving God’s people. Because the people at GCR are committed to this congregation, to each other, and to what God wants to do here. Because our Father wants to do something truly magnificent in us and through us together. And he will. This thing that he started at Golf Course Road a long time ago, he will bring to completion. He is faithful and he will do it.

I am anxious for all of us to roll up our sleeves together and love really well and work really hard and have an absolute blast in the flood of our Father’s blessings. May he bless us richly. And may his holy will be done at GCR and in Midland, Texas just as it is in heaven, to his eternal glory and praise.

Peace,

Allan

Welcome J.E. to GCR!

Carrie-Anne and I join the celebration as J.E. Bundy and his family are making the move across Midland to join the work at Golf Course Road Church of Christ! J.E. is our new Youth Minister at GCR and he’ll begin his full-time work with us on August 15. He and his wife, Megan, have three great kids: Will (16), Kadee (14), and Clark (12 next week).

Here’s what I know about J.E. He is a thoughtful and engaging teacher, a deep thinker who connects with young people, and a reflective man who takes his relationship with our Lord and his people seriously. J.E. has strong Gospel convictions and he is passionate about what our God is calling him to do. His wide-spread reputation as a dynamic speaker stems from his years of work at various youth camps and Christian conferences throughout Texas. I have thoroughly enjoyed my conversations with J.E. and am anxious to begin working with him soon.

We’re putting together a pretty good team down at GCR. The Youth Minister position is solid now and we’re close, I believe, to securing the next great worship minister at GCR. God be praised. And may his will be done at Golf Course Road and throughout Midland just as it is in heaven.

Peace,

Allan

Moving Week

We moved our youngest daughter Carley into her on-campus apartment for her Senior Year at Oklahoma Christian University yesterday. For reasons I’ll never understand, she continues to insist on third floor apartments. I think she wants to be the one disturbing the people below with her noise, not the one being disturbed. So, for one last time, we hauled the couch and all those heavy tubs up three flights of stairs in Edmond’s July heat.

The moving ritual is well established for us. I assemble everything that needs assembling, perform a minor plumbing task, and hang stuff on the walls while Carrie-Anne directs the cleaning and installs the shelf paper. Of course, my sister Rhonda met us for lunch for delicious cheeseburgers at The Garage. And we took Carley to the grocery store to load up her fridge and pantry.

Valerie made the drive down from Tulsa to join the moving festivities. And we delivered to her the top of her wedding cake that’s been in the back of our freezer since July 24 last year. We’ve told her that she and David have to eat some of their wedding cake on their one year anniversary for good luck or something. She didn’t seem that thrilled. Maybe she doesn’t think a Sugar Momma’s cake from LeeAnn Clark will be as good a year later.

Our movers are arriving tomorrow, packing the trucks, and meeting us in our temporary house in Midland on Friday. Today is a day for tying up all the loose ends here in Amarillo: notifying the utility companies of our move, sending the change of address notifications, cancelling the memberships, mowing the yard for the very last time, and trying to find the keys to the front door for the new owners.

Peace,

Allan

« Older posts