Today on Tommy T’s random ruminations – shaking my tree edition

Well, as you’ve probably heard by now, bassist for ZZ Top Dusty Hill left us this week.  In early 1971, even journeyman musicians like me knew them well from reputation alone. They had just put their first album out. So on a cold day early that year, I saw them at a dive bar (R&B joint, actually) called the Mark III club in my hometown of Waco.  Capacity was probably 60 people, and it was about half full.  Mostly local musicians, unsurprisingly

Guitarist Billy Gibbons was using two 100-watt Marshall stacks, and Dusty was using two 200-watt Marshall Major stacks. That’s outdoor/stadium stage amplification, not dive bar amplification.

To say it was loud would be an understatement. Playing three-piece rock music pretty much dictates a lot of volume, to keep the sound full, but – damn.

By the time they got to their third song, I looked around, and there were only about 15 people left.  Including me. They didn’t care. They threw down like they were playing for the tens of thousands they would one day be playing for.

I’ll never forget it



Oh – I was going to Adrastos-post their “hit” Shaking Your Tree from that first album, but I changed my mind at the last minute.

Here’s a heaping helping of Brown Sugar for ya. (while they were recording this, they sent their manager out for food so he couldn’t put the kibosh on overdubbing guitar leads)





2 thoughts on “Today on Tommy T’s random ruminations – shaking my tree edition

  1. That’s an awesome story. I’m from a younger generation who didn’t get to see ZZ Top when they were coming up, but I’m a musician, too, who once started out in dive bars in Detroit. You should share this memory for a larger audience. He would appreciate it.

  2. I don’t know if I can count the dive bars I’ve been in that were just like being inside the amps. Walls shakin’, floors undulatin’ …

    I saw ’em somewhere sometime way back when, just three friends, and have always since had a bit of a chuckle of what they became compared to what they were then.

    Among the few I’ve known to have a beard as long, and as long, as I …

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