Why Dusty Hill Can’t Watch ‘This Is Spinal Tap’
ZZ Top's experiences with elaborate stages over the years have made for some grand moments for bassist Dusty Hill. But they've also resulted in mishaps that have made a certain classic mockumentary about a rock band on the road a painful reminder of some of these stumbles.
"I cannot, to this day, watch the movie [This Is] Spinal Tap," Hill tells UCR. "It’s just too real. You know when [bassist Derek Smalls, played by Harry Shearer] gets caught in the tube? Well, that happened to me. We had another tour where we came up in these big tubes, and I’m claustrophobic. So, I’m in there and the door didn’t open! And this was a three-tier stage and I was on the top tier. So, if I had fallen off, it would have been interesting, to say the least."
The success of 1975's Fandango allowed ZZ Top to embark on the Worldwide Texas tour, a five-leg trek that spanned a year and a half, during which time they also released Tejas.
The show's big budget and high production values showed off the band's pride in its home state, but it was a departure for the trio. Hill says he loved it, even though the tour came with its own set of challenges.
"It was a stage show with our music," he recalls. "But all of the moving parts to it took a lot of work. I felt for the crew, because there was a lot of parts to that stage. And they had to put that thing up and take it down every night. And if they didn’t put it together just right, then the bass player was going to fall on his face! I mean, a lot of interesting things happened, but it was fun."
Hill explains that "as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the music, it's great. We had a really nice production on Viva Las Vegas. One time, the girls dressed like showgirls. Of course, I don’t get to see anything, my back is to them.The audience gets to appreciate it."