Frank Beard

The sudden death of ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill sent me down a rabbit hole of the band’s catalog. It had been a while since I had focused on the band’s music, but they were one of my favorites back in the day. My parents had recently sold the house that I grew up in. The new owners removed the paneling that my father had put up when we were young. Apparently, he allowed my sister and I to scrawl a message behind the panels on the bare wall. My message? “ZZ Top Rules!” I remember when I got the famous Eliminator cassette. I stared at that cover for hours. And the videos? My god they were the coolest thing on MTV. That purchase was shortly followed by Fandango and Tres Hombres. This was around the time I started to show an interest in the drums, so I probably drummed along to their music on my first drum pad. Of course, like most budding drummers, I’m sure I didn’t appreciate drummer Frank Beard.  

Even until recently, I didn’t fully appreciate the contribution Beard brings to this epic trio. Most drummers say that Bernard Purdie or Jeff Porcaro are the kings of the shuffle but after listening to so many songs by ZZ Top I would put Beard up there.  ZZ Top’s trademark “Texas boogie-blues-rock” style showcases each member’s playing and the drumming clearly stands out. Why? Because Beard plays for the song. He has creativity and incorporates it tastefully but for the most part he’s keeping time and accenting the playing of the rest of the band. This is no better apparent than on the Eliminator album. Each drum part is meticulously crafted to support the song. Beard doesn’t overplay and he doesn’t underplay. His choices are perfect.

Beard has some of the most unique TAMA drum-sets that contribute to his unique sound. He uses Paiste cymbals.

  • 22″x18″ Bass Drum (operated with remote pedals)
  • 22″x18″ Bass Drum
  • 14″x6″ Starclassic Maple Snare
  • 10″x5.5″ Tom Tom
  • 10″x10″ Tom Tom
  • 12″x6″ Tom Tom
  • 14″x14″ Floor Tom
  • 16″x16″ Floor Tom
  • 18″x16″ Floor Tom
  • 12″x5″ Snare Drum
  • 16″ 2002 China
  • 16″ 2002 Crash
  • 14″ 2002 Medium Hi-Hat
  • 19″ 2002 Crash
  • 20″ 2002 Power Ride
  • 18″ 2002 Crash
  • 10″ 2002 Mega Bell
  • 17″ 2002 Crash
  • 15″ 2002 Medium Hi-Hat
  • 18″ 2002 China

Beard also incorporates electronics into his sound on albums like Afterburner. Here are some of Beard’s unique drum sets:

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