Congratulations to our own Rickey Medlock for winning 2 awards at the Native American Music Awards!! He won for Best Theme Song for "Native Colors" & Best Long Form Film for Homeland Nation. We're so proud of his contributions & achievements! Great job Rickey!
Hello Skynyrd Nation.
Besides being the newest member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, I also have a history as a conflict journalist. A passion for experience and sharing have always been the driving force behind my creativity. My love of music and words have compelled me to bring them together in a new blog dedicated to sharing the reality of life in the Modern Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Return to the Beacon
The Beacon Theater, New York City
The last time I stepped on stage at the Beacon Theater in New York City, I was so high on drugs that I ruined a night of live recording for my band, the Black Crowes. I had always given myself permission to do all the drugs I wanted, as long as I never let drugs ruin my musicianship. That night at the Beacon, I crossed the line.
After being up for days fueled by bottles of Jack Daniels and fistfuls of cocaine, I finally came unglued at the worst possible time—on stage and in the middle of the show. As my fingers stopped responding to the twisted messages being sent from my drug addled brain, my bass playing slowly unraveled and finally disintegrated. I collapsed somewhere near the end of the set. Like an airplane whose wings fell off mid-flight, I crashed, I burned, hitting my bottom right there in public under the white hot spot lights of the Beacon Theater.
It took days for me to fully sober up, and when my head finally cleared, I was mortified. Not only did I let my band down, but that night’s wreckage was recorded on professional Ampex 2 inch hi-fidelity studio tape. That recording, which cost the band $25,000 dollars in recording costs, was utterly useless. The truth had been captured in tragic, unimpeachable detail. What do you say to your band after that? What about your fans? More importantly, what do say to yourself?
Blowing a show because you’re high might sound like a totally rock-n-roll thing to do, like something from the pages of Up And Down With The Rolling Stones—but in reality, it just makes you an asshole.
If I didn’t have enough courage or self-respect to keep the straw out of my nose or the bottle away from my lips in order to play a great show, then I knew that I should put it down out of respect to the fans and out of respect to the legacy of the musicians who inspired me to learn music; musicians like the members of Lynryd Skynyrd.
Even back when I was eight years old, I heard about the perils of drug use in Ronnie Van Zant’s lyrics to the epic Lynyrd Skynyrd song, ‘That Smell.’ With vivid lyrics and an unforgettable story, one might think I would have absorbed its message to steer clear of drugs.
In fairness to myself, I was just a kid in my early twenties trying to imitate my heroes at the time I blew that Beacon show. The Beacon disaster showed me that music was no longer the guiding priority in my life. I had crossed the line and there was no going back. It was time to clean up my act and I was stunned to discover that unshackling myself from drugs and booze proved to be tougher than I could have ever imagined.
I have been in multiple bands since the Black Crowes and talking about the Crowe days can feel a little bit like talking about high school. Yet today I find myself standing backstage at the Beacon Theater for the first time since that dark and infamous night so many years ago. Only this night, I am member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Isn’t Fate a funny thing?
There are a lot of members in Lynyrd Skynyrd and every damn one of them stands larger than life. The count down to show time means a crazy scene backstage for the band.
I pass by the Honkettes dressing room (Skynyrd’s famous female back up singers), and I stop to enjoy how beautiful Dale Rossington and Carol Chase not only look, but how much better their dressing room smells than mine.
A tight left turn and I am standing face to face with a man who embodies the term “larger than life,” Mr. Rickey Medlocke. I consider Rickey to be my brother from another mother. We hug like men do, chest in, hips out. Rickey’s ‘Indian’ tattoo wraps boldly across his forearm and pops out in sharp contrast to the dressing room’s muted tones.
I do not see our guitarist ‘Sparky’ anywhere, but If there is one man you can depend on to play his guitar right, every time, every night, that’s Sparky. No need to worry, Sparky will show up.
Outside the Beacon, Manhattan throbs loudly to the rhythms of the street. Inside the Beacon, I crowd into the main dressing room with our band’s drummer Michael Cartellone and pianist, the aptly-named Peter Keys. Michael warms up by drumming a migraine-inducing pattern on a rubber pad and cracking wise at passersby every few minutes. Michael’s sense of humor is lost on most, but he never seems to care, chuckling to himself behind his drum sticks. Meanwhile, Peter Keys is adding and simultaneously removing layers of clothing to his outfit for tonight’s show. Peter keeps pacing a hole in the floor with his bottomless cup of coffee as if movement and caffeine are the only two things harnessing his sheer, unbridled talent.
Gary Rossington, a legend and an institution all to himself, quietly slides into the room with the ease and grace of an elder statesman of rock-n-roll. Gary joins the action and starts talking shit with short snappy verbal punches.
While discussing the movie Lawless, Gary, Rickey and I tune our guitars as the conversation naturally turns to brass knuckles, throat punches and stories of past—fights that grow taller and more epic with the passage of time. We enjoy the refined air of totally bullshit that fills the room.
Johnny Van Zant suddenly blows through the door, bigger than life, and with a massive smile spread across his face. Johnny’s positive energy is instantly contagious. When I ask him where he’s been all night, he responds, “Been talking with fans and friends at the meet greet downstairs." If Southern Rock has a mayor, it is Mr. Johnny Van Zant. Johnny is the type of man who would pull his tour bus over to help a stranger change a tire. I shit you not friends.
The elevator arrives to take us down to the stage. We cram into the tiny box and I suddenly feel like I am gonna throw up on everyone’s shoes. The ghost of my Beacon show past has arrived and my nerves feel raw and frayed.
Tonight’s intro music blares through the theater’s sound system as we exit the elevator. Standing on the wings of the stage, we raise our right hands with fingers pointing to the sky. Johnny leads us in a Skynyrd tradition, a group prayer. As Johnny voices the band’s collective gratitude, I crack one eye open and look at the sold out audience. My feet feel glued to the floor and I feel my breath grow short as my mind flashes me back to that night with the Black Crowes almost seventeen years ago. The memory brings me to the verge of a panic attack.
The first notes the audience hear of tonight’s Beacon show is the signature sound of Gary Rossington playing slide guitar. Standing alone under a single spotlight, Gary breaks into the title track of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s latest record Last Of A Dying Breed. Seconds away from joining Gary and the rest of the band on stage, an inner voice—the one that loves to beat me up to convince me to give up and fail—grabs me by the shoulder, sticks out it’s forked tongue and says, "Hey asshole, you don’t deserve to be in Lynyrd Skynyrd...you’re just gonna blow it on that stage again and in front of all those people! "
I look up as a trio of spotlights now take aim at Gary and his Les Paul. The inimitable sound of his guitar and its warm, golden tone has the entire building transfixed. How can it be so difficult to be in this building and play this show. After all, shouldn’t I be taking comfort in the fact that I am about to walk on stage with the man that inspired Ronnie Van Zant to write “That Smell” as a warning about his drug abuse. If any one in this whole wide world could understand how I feel right now, it would have to be Gary Rossington.
So what’s it gonna be? I ask myself, will tonight’s performance be a redemption, or does my past mistake have the power to make me choke on stage?
Johnny Van Zant cues me with a nod and by the time I nod back, we’re walking on stage and under the lights. The first notes from my bass rumble across the floor like a depth charge. It is time to silence the voices in my head and put the anxiety to rest. It is time to get on with doing what I do best, and doing it as a member of one of the greatest rock-n-roll bands of all times.
Since I was a boy, Lynyrd Skynyrd vinyl spun around and around my turntable.
‘Angel of darkness is upon you
Stuck a needle in your arm
So take another toke,
have a blow for your nose
One more drink fool, will drown you ......
Damn Ronnie, how right you were. I wish I would have listened to you the first time, But I guess there are some lessons a man’s gotta learn the hard way.
...Thank you to Joe Daly & Rosie Colt for additional editing.
LYNYRD SKYNYRD AND BAD COMPANY ANNOUNCE 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION SUMMER CO-HEADLINE TOUR OF 12 DATES
New York --- Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company have announced a co-headline tour that takes the bands coast-to-coast for 12 dates. Both bands celebrate significant 40th anniversaries in 2013, with Lynyrd Skynyrd having released their debut album on August 13, 1973 and Bad Company being formed that same year. While the pair have shared the stage and Paul Rodgers has toured with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company and Skynyrd have never toured as co-headliners together.
Led by core members Gary Rossington (guitar), Johnny Van Zant (vocals) and Rickey Medlocke (guitar), along with longtime drummer Michael Cartellone, Lynyrd Skynyrd has maintained a tremendous legacy that began over 40 years ago in Jacksonville, Florida, and continues with the recently released Last Of A Dying Breed (Roadrunner). The band's career was halted for a decade after the 1977 plane crash that killed three band members, including Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines, and then subsequently faced adversity through the losses of Billy Powell, Ean Evans, Allen Collins, Leon Wilkeson and Huey Thomasson, yet they rock on. With a catalog of over 60 albums, sales beyond 30 million worldwide and their beloved classic American rock anthem “Sweet Home Alabama” having over two million downloaded ringtones, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd remains a cultural icon that appeals to all generations. The current line-up features Gary Rossington (Guitar), Johnny Van Zant (Vocals), Rickey Medlocke (Guitar), Mark "Sparky" Matejka (Guitar), Michael Cartellone (Drums), Johnny Colt (Bass), Peter Keys (Keyboards), Dale Krantz Rossington- Honkettes (Backing Vocals) and Carol Chase-Honkettes (Backing Vocals).
Bad Company were dubbed a super-group upon the band's formation due to the union of Free's Paul Rodgers (Vocals / Multi-Instrumentalist) with Mott The Hoople's Mick Ralphs (Guitar) plus King Crimson's Boz Burrell (Bass) and Free's Simon Kirke (Drums). Over the next nine years, the band released a string of six albums, yielding international hits "Can't Get Enough," "Bad Company," "Feel Like Makin' Love," and many others penned by the main songwriters Paul Rodgers and Mick Ralphs. Original members Rodgers, Ralphs, and Kirke will be joined by guitarist Howard Leese and bassist Todd Ronning (from Paul Rodgers solo band). Original bassist Boz Burrell passed away in 2006.
Bad Company has inspired many of today's musicians. Most notably, Metal band Five Finger Death Punch who scored a #1 Active Rock hit with a cover of the song "Bad Company". Since 2001, the band has only played 11 isolated performances, and has not staged a tour of The United States until now. In front of the run, Rodgers shares, "When Mick and I formed the band in the 70's we were amazed at the instant success. It didn't hurt to have Led Zeppelin behind us, and we wrote some decent songs that still resonate. This one is for fans."
Lynyrd Skynyrd's Johnny Van Zant offers, "Every member of Skynyrd has been fans of Bad Company from the get go. Personally, Paul is one of my favorite rock singers. We have a deep appreciation for Bad Company’s music and look forward to being on the road with them and sharing the stage.” Paul Rodgers reveals, "The Skynyrds and I go back to the 70's and the days and nights at the Hyatt House on Sunset in LA aka the Riot House. In the 90's the band introduced me to my wife Cynthia, and that's why I am so damned happy and healthy these years."
Special guests and Kentucky-bred hard rockers, Black Stone Cherry, will be kicking things off on The 40 Tour. Their music has been described as Southern-fried hard rock about everything from being proud of where you come from and true to who you are.
The co-headline tour will stage performances at the following venues:
Thu Jun 20 Auburn, WA White River Amphitheater
Fri Jun 21 Ridgefield, WA Sleep Country Amphitheater
Sun Jun 23 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheater
Thu Jul 11 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sat Jul 13 Charlotte, NC Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Sun Jul 14 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
Wed Jul 17 Camden, NJ Susquehanna Bank Center
Fri Jul 19 Burgettstown, PA First Niagara Pavilion
Sat Jul 20 Noblesville, IN Kilpsch Music Center
Tue Jul 23 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Music Theater
Wed Jul 24 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
Fri Jul 26 Gilford, NH Meadowbrook (Not a Live Nation date)
Sat Jul 27 *Bethel, NY Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
*Black Stone Cherry not appearing on this date
Lynyrd Skynyrd to Play Monster Energy's "Welcome to Rockville" Festival in Jacksonville, FL on April 28th
This year, the third annual Monster Energy’s Welcome To Rockville expands to two days--April 27 & 28, 2013--at Jacksonville’s scenic Metropolitan Park along the beautiful St. Johns River.
The region’s biggest rock event will feature headlining performances from Alice In Chains and Limp Bizkit (marking the band’s first hometown show in over a decade), as well as Jacksonville legends Lynyrd Skynyrd. The power-packed lineup for Monster Energy’s Welcome To Rockville also includes: Three Doors Down, Shinedown, Stone Sour, Three Days Grace, Papa Roach, Bullet for My Valentine, Halestorm, Buckcherry, Hollywood Undead, Skillet, ￼￼All That Remains, Device (featuring David Draiman from Disturbed), Asking Alexandria, Escape The Fate, Filter, In This Moment, Steel Panther, Motionless In White, Pop Evil, Otherwise, Saving Abel, Nonpoint, Red, Young Guns, Thousand Foot Krutch, Gemini Syndrome, Girl on Fire, and more.
A special Monster Energy’s Welcome To Rockville ticket presale will take place on Tuesday, January 29 and Wednesday, January 30 at select Metro PCS stores. No ticket service fees will be charged during the presale. The regular ticket onsale begins Friday, February 1 at 10am EST at www.WelcomeToRockvilleFestival.com, all Ticketmaster locations and select Metro PCS stores.
Two-day General Admission tickets will be just $99.50 plus service fees and single day General Admission tickets will be $54.50 plus service fees. A limited number of two-day VIP tickets and hotel packages will also be available. For full details, visit: www.WelcomeToRockvilleFestival.com
"After selling out the last two years of Monster Energy’s Welcome To Rockville, I now see that the city is ready to bring a full fledge two-day rock festival to downtown Jacksonville and make it a staple in North Florida music for years to come,” says Danny Wimmer of Danny Wimmer Presents. “We have great radio partners at ROCK 104.5 and X102.9 providing amazing support to the city and event which will make this years festival more massive than ever."
Metropolitan Park offers a scenic, spacious site for Monster Energy’s Welcome To Rockville that’s just a few hours drive from cities including Orlando, Tampa, Gainesville, Savannah and Tallahassee, and is easily accessible by plane from around the country. Metropolitan Park is a premier 27-acre recreational facility along the beautiful St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville, Florida at 1410 Gator Bowl Blvd.
Monster Energy’s Welcome To Rockville is produced by Jacksonville native Danny Wimmer (one of the partners in the massively successful Rock On The Range and Carolina Rebellion festivals) of Danny Wimmer Presents. The festival is fueled by Monster Energy. Monster Energy’s Welcome To Rockville kicks off the 2013 World’s Loudest Month. Created in partnership by AEG Live, Right Arm Entertainment and Danny Wimmer Presents, the World’s Loudest Month features the biggest names in rock music performing in five distinct U.S. concert atmospheres: Monster Energy’s Welcome To Rockville, Carolina Rebellion, Rockfest, Rock On The Range, and Rocklahoma. In 2012, the World’s Loudest Month featured over 100 artists playing for more than 200,000 rock music fans across the country on five consecutive weekends, confirming that rock music is as vital as ever.
On Wednesday, January 16 at 2:30 PM EST (11:30 AM PST), Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlock and Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd will be chatting live with Extra and fans.
RSVP HERE now and be there tomorrow as the guys talk about their latest album Last of a Dyin' Breed, their plans for 2013, and much more!
For more details, click HERE
Nashville, TN (January 11, 2013) – Rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd headline the "2013 Heroes Red, White & Blue Inaugural Concert Ball" honoring America’s Military Heroes in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2013. The invitation-only event is sponsored by Citizens Helping Heroes, DOG TAGS, a program of the Washington Humane Society, and Green Beret Foundation.
Honorary co-hosts include Speaker John Boehner, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, Chairman Spencer Bachus and Chairman Bill Shuster. Esteemed guests include members from TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), the Warrior Transition Brigade from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Tuskegee Airmen.
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson To Re-Air Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Last of a Dyin’ Breed” Performance on December 27
Nashville, Tenn. (December 20, 2012) — Some things are so good they need to be aired twice. That’s exactly what producers of the The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson thought when they choose to re-air Lynyrd Skynyrd’s performance of “Last of a Dyin’ Breed.” Fans can tune into CBS on December 27 at 12:35am/11:35pm CT to catch a performance so rockin’ it had to air twice.
The original performance aired on October 1 while the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers were touring in Los Angeles in support of their latest album, Last Of A Dyin’ Breed. The album release was their highest charting album since 1977, debuting at No. 14 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. With a catalog of over 60 albums, sales beyond 30 million worldwide and their beloved classic American rock anthem “Sweet Home Alabama” having over two million downloaded ringtones, Lynyrd Skynyrd remains a cultural icon that appeals to all generations. Most recently, they took the stage at the 2012 American Country Music Awards with co-host Trace Adkins to perform "What's Your Name," bringing an audience full of country stars to their feet. The legendary rockers also performed for the Discovery Channel's “Chopper Live: The Revenge.”
Guitar World is streaming the brand new lyric video for "One Day At A Time." Click HERE to watch it now.
(New York, NY) – Legendary rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd will headline the previously announced CHOPPER LIVE: THE REVENGE on Tuesday, December 11th at 9pm ET/PT. Lynyrd Skynyrd joins an already extensive list of Discovery talent participating in this major television event, including AMERICAN CHOPPER stars Paul Teutul Senior and Paul Teutul Junior, OUTLAW GARAGE star Jesse James, and FAST ‘N LOUD stars Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman.
With a catalog of over 60 albums, sales beyond 30 million worldwide and their beloved classic American rock anthem “Sweet Home Alabama” having sold over two million ringtones, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd remains a cultural icon that appeals to multiple generations. Lynyrd Skynyrd continues to build on the legacy that began over 35 years ago in Jacksonville, Florida with their most recent album, Last of a Dyin’ Breed, debuting at No. 14 on the Billboard Top 200, making it their highest charting album since 1977. The band will be performing the title track from the new album as well as their hit “Sweet Home Alabama” during the show.
Last year, Paul Jr. beat out his father Paul Sr and nemesis Jesse James to take the title and the honor of ultimate bike builder when he won Discovery’s first ever AMERICAN CHOPPER LIVE. This year, all three are back – plus FAST ‘N LOUD stars Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman—to duke it out in an incredible four way bike build-off. In this two-night special, fans will to vote on their favorite bike after seeing the four finished products during our regularly-scheduled AMERICAN CHOPPER on Monday, December 10th at 9pm ET/PT. The following evening at 9:00pm ET/PT, CHOPPER LIVE: THE REVENGE will air from Las Vegas’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for what’s sure to be a night that will go down in Discovery history.
Just in case you missed the performance, you can watch it below.