7 Times ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill Lit Up the Screen in TV + Movies
The death of longtime ZZ Top bassist and co-vocalist Dusty Hill on Wednesday (July 28) at age 72 sent a shockwave through the rock community. Subsequently, numerous musicians shared tributes and remembrances in his honor. But TV viewers and moviegoers not clued into ZZ Top's bluesy brand of Southern rock might remember Hill differently.
That's because, over the last 20 years, the bass player moonlighted as an on-screen entertainer — usually alongside his bandmates — in several television productions and a couple of movies. And outside of the band's own song clips, home videos and concert films, a few Dusty Hill screen appearances stand out.
Watch the videos down toward the bottom of this post.
Maybe the most indelible of Hill's TV turns came in a 2007 episode of the animated sitcom King of the Hill — he and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard appear as the cartoon versions of themselves, with Hill voicing himself. But the bass player additionally acted on Two and a Half Men, Deadwood and The Drew Carey Show.
That's not to mention the instances that Hill has contributed to feature-length fictional entertainments. 1990's Back to the Future Part III likely sticks out as the pinnacle of the musician's film appearances, but there's also a Disney movie from around the same time in which Hill and ZZ Top make a cameo in…a bathtub.
Below, bask in seven of Dusty Hill's most memorable on-screen appearances.
'Two and a Half Men' (2010)
Hill appears with his ZZ Top bandmates in a Season 7 episode of Two and a Half Men, "Gumby With a Pokey," wherein the lead character, Charlie Parker (Charlie Sheen), is trying out marijuana to help ease his insomnia. But the grass goes to head, and he subsequently sees all three ZZ Top members assembled in his living room, leading viewers to believe their manifestation is just a dream.
Watch the full episode on Peacock here.
'WWE Raw' (2009–2015)
Wrestling fans saw Hill on WWE's signature Monday night program, WWE Raw, a handful of times from 2009–2015, often alongside his musical foil Gibbons. For a Raw broadcast in July 2009, the two guest-hosted the entire show. Hill also cropped up during WWE's Unforgiven pay-per-view event in 2005.
Stream the WWE Network here.
'King of the Hill' (2007)
Hill voices an animated version of himself, alongside the likenesses of his ZZ Top brethren, in a Season 11 episode of King of the Hill, "Hank Gets Dusted." The fictional Hill family's shared surname with that of the bassist lends itself to comedy gold — Dusty plays patriarch Hank Hill's cousin; Hank's dad, Cotton, gifts his prized Cadillac to Dusty instead of his son, angering Hank. The hilarity notches up further when ZZ Top start playing pranks on Hank.
Watch the full episode on Hulu here.
Hill and Gibbons' joint background cameo as townsmen in the 2006 Deadwood series finale is so brief that it seems almost impossible to find a clip online showing just their appearance. Yet, once you zero in on the two bearded men in the background while watching Season 3's "Tell Him Something Pretty," they're impossible to miss.
Watch the full episode on HBO Max here.
'The Drew Carey Show' (1998)
The Drew Carey Show started its fourth season with a bang when several famous rockers — Joey Ramone, Dave Mustaine, Slash and others — appeared among a cache of musicians trying out for a fictional band formed by Carey and his friends in the second episode ("In Ramada Da Vida"). Hill shows up to audition on bass but is told the lose the beard — his "Texas goatee," as he calls it. It doesn't work out.
The Drew Carey Show Season 4 is unavailable to stream.
'Back to the Future Part III' (1990)
Strangely enough, one of the perhaps most high profile of ZZ Top's on-screen appearances doesn't even acknowledge the band members' acting parts in its closing credits. But ZZ Top fans surely remember Hill and his cohorts' appearance in Back to the Future Part III's Old West as the party band at a town festival. Top's studio version of "Doubleback," a tune from the group's Recycler album, is also heard in the movie — they perform it in a reworked acoustic version in their scene.
Back to the Future III was removed from Netflix on June 30.
'Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme' (1990)
One of the earliest times ZZ Top inhabited an on-screen world outside their own came when Hill and his bandmates embodied the "Three men in a tub" from the nursery rhyme "Rub-a-Dub-Dub" in the 1990 Disney Channel musical film Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme. The colorful kids' movie, a pretty odd film in retrospect, stars The Shining's Shelley Duvall and other music legends such as Little Richard. Check out ZZ Top's tub-tastic appearance at 16:20 in the below video.
The full movie is available in the player below.