Lynyrd Skynyrd carries on musical tradition as band
Today's Lynyrd Skynyrd includes only one musician — guitarist Gary Rossington — who was with the original band and played on all five studio albums that preceded the 1977 plane crash that claimed the lives of singer and primary songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer (and Gaines' sister) Cassie Gaines.
Guitarist Ed King left Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1996, nine years after the band re-formed in 1987. Drummer Artimus Pyle left in 1991, and the other members who rejoined the re-formed Skynyrd — guitarist Allen Collins, bassist Leon Wilkeson and keyboardist Billy Powell — have passed away.
So, in a way, it's tempting to view today's Skynyrd, which performs July 19 at First Niagara Pavilion, Burgettstown, as a band that is its own entity and really can't be considered to have that much of a direct line back to the 1970s-era original.
But Rossington doesn't view today's band that way, and very much considers today's group a continuation of what the original band started. And with the current Skynyrd CD, “Last Of A Dyin' Breed” (released last August), he can say today's band took another step to further that connection to the original group. In a word, Lynyrd Skynyrd went back to the way the band used to make records.
“We wanted to go back to the original roots of the old band, write a song and then figure out, everybody have their own part to fill in and play it all together (in the studio) like we used to,” Rossington says. “The only things we came back and overdubbed were some vocals and lead guitar here and there.
“Even the keyboards were live. We just went out and played it all together. It feels better that way, and it feels like the older records we did and the older style of the songs.”
Rossington said the last album Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded primarily live in the studio was “Street Survivors,” the 1977 album finished shortly before the tragic plane crash.
“It was stuff like we used to do, rehearse a little bit and then cut it,” he said. “It was a great way to cut it. It was a fun album to do. Most of the time, (making) albums isn't fun, but this one was.”
Rossington said a couple of new tunes will be included in Lynyrd Skynyrd's live set most nights alongside the classics fans want to hear. And having found worthy replacements for Ean Evans, the band's bassist from 2001-09, and Powell in bassist Johnny Colt (a former member of the Black Crowes) and keyboardist Peter Keys, Rossington says today's Skynyrd feels especially solid. The other band members are singer Johnny Van Zant, guitarists Rickey Medlocke and Mark Matejka and drummer Michael Cartellone.
Lynyrd Skynyrd performs at 7 p.m. July 19 at First Niagara Pavilion, Burgettstown. Bad Company is the opening act. Tickets are $25.50 to $106. Details: 800-745-3000 or www.livenation.com
Alan Sculley is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hyde Park singer Mia Z ready to keep chasing her music dream
- Pittsburgh Symphony names trustee McGranahan to chair its board
- Kanye, Cyrus and Minaj provide memorable moments at VMAs
- Plum native to be inducted into polka hall of fame
- Photo Gallery: Lake Street Dive play soulful, sold-out show at Mr. Smalls
- Joe Grushecky, band close Arts on the Allegheny summer series
- Tim McGraw keeps on truckin’, no matter the musical obstacles
- A ukulele that rocks? Jake Shimabukuro can show you how
- Neighborhood Week sends Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra out into community
- Actor Duchovny to sing at Pittsburgh’s Altar Bar