ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and the late Dusty Hill are known for their iconic beards, but why did they start to grow them out in the first place?

The dual beards sported by "that little ol' band from Texas" are among the most instantly recognizable looks in rock music. They're so legendary that even award-winning journalist Dan Rather, also from Texas, asked Gibbons about it as part of his series, The Big Interview.

How the Beards Began

"One word: lazy," Gibbons tells Rather with a hearty laugh, going on to recollect that pivotal moment in the band's career.

"We started ZZ Top in 1969. We carried on nonstop until the bicentennial year of '76. And at that time, we were looking at an invitation to join the ranks of the Warner Bros. Group," the rocker begins. He says it was management's decision to have the band take a break after "literally seven years of nonstop touring." A 90-day hiatus turned into 120 days, then a year and, quickly, two years total had passed as ZZ Top readied the Tejas successor Deguello for their Warner Bros. debut.

"We all kind of scattered, keeping in touch only by telephone," Gibbons continues, providing undertones that suggest the trio regrouping with newly minted facial hair was not a coordinated move.

"Now it's two years running and all the machinations to join the ranks of Warner Bros. were still underway. In the meantime, as I mentioned, the word 'lazy' came in," the ZZ Top legend explains.

ZZ Top, "Cheap Sunglasses"

Drummer Frank Beard's Short-Lived Beard

Offering one particular historical anecdote, Gibbons continues, "Now there's one tell-tale photograph — our first official release for Warner Bros. contained a photograph on the little sleeve inside the 12" long playing album. Actually, the only evidence of Frank Beard with a beard is hiding inside of that Deguello record. He quickly grabbed the razor and went to town."

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

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Becoming Iconic

"Dusty and I, what started out as a disguise, turned into a trademark," Gibbons neatly assesses, also noting that others have since become well-known for their bearded image as well. He actually gets mistaken for folks of the popular TV series Duck Dynasty!

ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons on The Big Interview With Dan Rather

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Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner