ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill has revealed that he worked at an airport during a hiatus in the 1970s.
Not long after releasing Tejas in 1976, the band decided to take a 90-day break.
“We had been touring so much, everybody was really exhausted,” the bassist told Ultimate Classic Rock.
“We’d seen it happen and we had been in other bands that it had happened to, that you just wear out. We didn’t want that to happen, because we loved the band we were in.”
Drummer Frank Beard also “needed some time” to deal with a substance abuse issue, so Hill took the time to ground himself – by taking up a job at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
“I had a friend that worked in the airport up in Dallas and I just wanted to feel normal. I’ve been a singer since I was eight and I’ve been a musician since I was 13 and pretty much on the road since I was 14.”
Although Hill didn’t have his trademark beard at this time, he said ZZ Top was still well known.
“If you take off the hat and shades and wear work clothes and put ‘Joe’ on my work shirt, people are not expecting to see you, so it’s not that hard to pass yourself off,” he said.
“Now, a couple of times, a couple of people did ask me and I just lied and I said, ‘No! Do you think I’d be sitting here?’”
That 90-day hiatus ended up being two years.
It was also during this time, however, that both Hill and Billy Gibbons decided to grow out their chest-length beards.
In 1979, ZZ Top released Deguello, which went platinum.