ZZ Top's drummer Frank Beard was diagnosed with acute appendicitis this past weekend in Paris and was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. Beard and his ZZ Top band mates, Billy F Gibbons and Dusty Hill, had completed a series of one-nighters, all sell-outs, in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany before traveling to France for Monday night’s (10/14) scheduled sold-out performance at Le Zenith in Paris
ZZ Top’s current European tour had been, in a way, a “make good” effort on the part of the band in recognition of the fact that the European leg of their 2000 tour had to be cancelled in light of Dusty Hill’s having been stricken with Hepatitis C at that time. His doctors have declared the condition in remission and the tour was seen as a way to celebrate that fact and the loyalty of the band’s legions of European fans.
This time, the tour will not be cancelled as Beard’s friend and drum tech on the tour, John Douglas, has agreed, at Beard’s urging, to fill in for him until the recuperation process is complete. “I really hate to miss a show, but we’re lucky that John’s available. I’ll be back in there as soon as the doctors give me the OK,” Beard remarked from his Paris hospital room.
The dates in Europe, at which Douglas will fill in for Beard, mark the first public departure from ZZ TOP’s original line-up since the band was founded more than thirty-three years ago. Douglas is well versed in ZZ Top’s repertoire and approach, having sat in on the band’s rehearsal session many times. Also, he was the drummer for Kik Tracee, a band that recorded two RCA albums in the ‘90s.