Lynyrd Skynyrd Bio


Legendary rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd returns with a fiery slice of Southern style guitar rock heaven in Last of a Dyin’ Breed, their newest release on Roadrunner/Loud & Proud Records due August 21, 2012. This is the kind of record guaranteed to feed the needs of the multi-generational Skynyrd Nation, and continue the renewed vigor the band exhibited with their last album, 2009’s God & Guns.

For the passionate, longtime fans of the band, this is Skynyrd at the top of their game, complete with instantly memorable songs, more hooks than a tackle box, and a blistering three-guitar attack at full power. From the raging guitars of the title track and the pounding, funky homage to local talent in “Home Grown” to the mind-blowing “Honey Hole,” Lynyrd Skynyrd sound like young bucks having one hell of a good time, which, regarding the latter, founding member Gary Rossington says is very much the case.

“For me this is one of the happiest and most fun albums I’ve ever done,” says Rossington. “We didn’t have a lot of problems goin’ on; it was just fun goin’ to work every day.”

Having survived enough tragedy and just plain hard miles for 10 bands, Skynyrd is, remarkably at this stage of their career, on a roll. God & Guns debuted at #18 on the Billboard Top 200, giving the band their highest debut since 1977. Last Of A Dyin’ Breed re-ignites the in-studio alchemy the band found with Guns producer Bob Marlette, and the sound is traditional Skynyrd blended to perfection with the edge of immediacy. In short, it’s rock ‘n roll for the times.

Led by core members Gary Rossington (guitar), Johnny Van Zant (vocals) and Rickey Medlock (guitar), Skynyrd has recorded an album that continues to build on the legacy that began over 35 years ago in Jacksonville, Florida. Joining them in the studio and on the road are new bassist Johnny Colt (Black Crowes, Train) guitarist Mark “Sparky” Matejka (a “Nashville cat, just a pickin’ fool,” according to Rossington), and keyboardist Peter Keys, who replaced Powell on the God & Guns tour.

In a tragic tale oft-told, the Skynyrd story could have ended in a Mississippi swamp with the 1977 plane crash that killed three band members, including Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines. Since then, the band has lost vital players in Billy Powell, Ean Evans, Allen Collins, Leon Wilkeson and Hughie Thomasson, yet here they are again with a hard-rocking, stirring album that can sit proudly alongside any recording that bears the Skynyrd name. The breed may be nearing extinction but Skynyrd is very much alive and ready to throw down.

Van Zant, now in his 25th year standing where his brother once stood agrees with Rossington about the making of Breed. “We worked with Bob Marlette again who’s a great guy we just love as a producer,” he says. “During the recording of the last album we were going through Billy and Ean passing away, and with this album we were able to laugh and joke a lot.”

Medlock says that after the hard touring behind God & Guns he and the other primary writers Van Zant and Rossington took their time writing the songs. But the actual recording came together quickly, aided by the band’s in-studio chemistry. “This time what we wanted to do was go back to doin’ stuff old school,” he says. “A lot of the album was done with all of us in the recording studio, playing all at one time, the way we used to do it when we’d go into the studio to make records.”

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. But far from resting on their laurels, any illusions that this may be a band at anything less than the height of its powers are quickly lost with the distorted fury of the fiery guitar licks that open the album’s title track and further put to rest with the gritty triumphs that follow.

They could easily continue cranking out old songs to rapturous audiences around the world but the fact is they’ve got plenty left to say musically, personally and as social commentary. “Every once in a while the record label will ask us if we want to put a new album out and we always say yes, because, although we love playing all the classic stuff, it’s fun to do new stuff too,” says Rossington, “for our own heads, our own peace of mind.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd is a band of today, carrying a steely mantle forged in the sweaty confines of the Hell House in Jacksonville decades earlier. And this is a band album, to be even more specific, a guitar driven band album. The triple guitar assault has never sounded more on point, with passionate musicality, expert harmonics and of course, plenty of attitude to burn. There’s a reason this is one of the most beloved bands of all time.

“We tried to go back to the old sound, doin’ it as a band, goin’ in all together and layin’ it down,” says Rossington. “On the last album, we leaned a little more country, back to our roots, but this time we just tried to be our old selves and write some Southern rock. Just good ol’ songs, get in and get out, say what they say, do a little bit of pickin’ and tap your feet.”

Those searching for traditional Skynyrd solos and fierce instrumental breaks will have plenty to love on Breed, with every song featuring ample fretwork from one, two or even all three guitarists. “We love to do the harmonies and stuff with lead guitars,” says Medlock. “That’s a Skynyrd staple, and we embellished on it quite a bit this time around. We wanted to make a guitar driven record and have the vocals sit really good in the saddle there with all the guitars, just have it more rockin’ and a lot more powerful.”

Mission accomplished, with plenty of fireworks and rock-solid rhythms from all players. “Sparky has just fit in great with Rickey and Gary, everybody knows their place now,” says Van Zant. “Sparky’s a strat guy, Gary’s a slide guy with the Les Paul sound and all those great fills, and Rickey’s the ‘all-around’ guy that does a little bit of everything.”

But the guitars and other instruments—Keys’ organ, for example, play a vital role in the soundscape. Van Zant’s vocal chops and way with a lyric have never been in finer form, breathing life into these songs and taking on some serious vocal challenges. “I quit smokin’ a year and a half ago, so that helped out quite a bit,” he says with a characteristic laugh. “Workin’ with Bob is great too. We cut the vocals right in the control room itself, which is real cool to me, because me and Bob go back and forth right there, so you’re not waiting for a button to be pushed. It’s just a real cool vibe. We’ve got a good thing goin’ here.”

They’ve got a good thing going in terms of material, too. The primary Skynyrd writing team of Rossington, Medlock and Van Zant worked with some of their favorite songwriters to pen the songs that populate Breed, including Tom Hambridge, Blair Daly, John 5, Donnie Van Zant, and Marlette, along with contributions from the bands Matejka, as well as Marlon Young, Audley Freed, Shaun Morgan from Seether, Cadillac Black’s Jaren Johnston, and label mates Black Stone Cherry’s Chris Robertson and Jon Lawhon.

The blend of writers from within and outside the band concocts a hard-hitting cadre of songs that fit perfectly into the Skynyrd canon. These songs are of the 100-proof variety. “We like bringing in outside influences and I love feeding off other people,” says Van Zant. “I’ve had people ask me, ‘how could Gary create another ‘Free Bird?’ We don’t even try that. Those are legendary songs. We just write what we write. It’s more about us just hangin’ out and being together and enjoying life and writin’ songs. My theory is like Ricky Nelson’s, ‘you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.’ If you’re happy with it at the end of the day, so be it.”

Not as overtly political as its predecessor God & Guns, Breed focuses more on the struggles of the working class, though the band make their thoughts on the direction of this country crystal clear on songs like the reverb-drenched “Poor Man’s Dream” and the blue-collar powerhouse “One Day at a Time.” “When we go in to record, we don’t go in with one certain mindset,” says Medlock. “We just go in and write about stuff we believe in, our experiences.”

The band is tuned in to the tough times many Americans are going through, and they sing songs that might well help on that journey, or at least help let off some steam. “Skynyrd really thinks about how people are struggling and what’s goin’ on out here,” says Medlock. “We see it a lot, because we’re a working man and working woman’s band. We’ve got three generations under our belts, we know people have a tough time out there, and we share in that.”

Gary Rossington won’t typically volunteer for political talk but he is an astute observer, and what he sees sticks in his craw. “I don’t like to talk politics,” he admits “I just don’t trust a lot of politicians. I think the country’s way off track, but we’ll get it back on, it’s too good of a thing to lose. We travel all around the country, there’s too many good people and good Americans who all want the same thing, just to get back on track the way we used to be.”

Like it or not, with a title like God & Guns, the previous album was bound to be a lightning rod out of the box. “I couldn’t believe how well God & Guns was accepted when it came out, in Europe, Australia, South America, here in the States; everybody we talked to, 99% of it was positive feedback,” says Medlock. “My whole thing was, we’ve got to go in the studio this time and step up, we’ve got to do at least what God & Guns did, or one better. And, in my opinion, I think we accomplished that. I’m looking forward to going out and playing some of this record live, along with our classic material, and taking it to the people and letting the people make their decision.”

Odds are, the “people,” specifically, the aforementioned Skynyrd Nation, will love Last of a Dyin’ Breed, and anyone who hasn’t checked into what this band has been up to for a while will likely be blown away. As for their part, Skynyrd will, per usual, indeed be taking their music to the people, as fans in Europe and North America will have a chance to catch the band on tour through the end of 2012 and beyond.

Lynyrd Skynyrd is:
Gary Rossington- Guitar
Johnny Van Zant- Vocals
Rickey Medlock- Guitar
Mark "Sparky" Matejka- Guitar
Michael Cartellone- Drums
Johnny Colt - Bass
Peter Keys - Keyboards
Dale Krantz Rossington- Honkettes Backing Vocals
Carol Chase- Honkettes Backing Vocals

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Cape Fan // August 17, 2013 3:09:52 AM UTC

Saw the show at the Melody Tent on the Cape tonight. Awesome show!! You guys have lots of rock left in you.....


jake 74 // August 17, 2013 2:55:28 AM UTC

We just watch your old performance from 1977, it was great!!!. Can we ask: when you travelling to Finland?. Your new album is so fucking great!!!!


The Rock Dog // August 17, 2013 1:58:34 AM UTC

I drove two and a half hours alone to get to the Midland Mi. show and it was well worth the trip. Met up with friends at the show. Row 23 middle was a great vantage point. The band was great. The song selection was too good. Judging by the tour dates two and a half hours is nothing for you guys. The band was in Mo. the night before. Hope the road is being kind to you all. I'm sure you guys will need a break after the cruise. Hope you will continue to tour after your break and that the tour finds it's way near Northern Mi. down the road. I want to attend another show. Go to Thanks again, your show was great. Rocky.


ls-handyfingers // August 12, 2013 2:49:53 PM UTC

@Mr. Saturday Night Special: from a person that calls himself Mr Saturday Night Special apparently you have no concept of what this band has and always stands for. They have been Pro America ever since they formed. Have gone through more tragedy than any band I know and still kick ass on stage. So do us a favor Mr Saturday Night Special. Change your screen name because we don't want dumb fucks like you desecrating our band


ls-handyfingers // August 12, 2013 2:40:35 PM UTC

Went to the Pittsburgh show and was blown away by the performance of Skynyrd and Bad Company. Was just an awesome tribute to 40 years of rockin. Loved that you stuck to the old originals that made you what you are now. True Rock Legends. I know you probably don't remember me but I used to work for Fare Trade a local Buffalo NY band that has been around as long as you have. Every time you came into Buffalo for a show we would meet up with the band and hang out and party. Fare Trade did 90% Skynyrd music and the rest was also southern rock. They were the best local band of their day. Just reunited in the past 2 years to do shows for charity. I don't know if you got it but I put together a photo album of one of our visits with you guys back in buffalo in 1975. I gave it to your Light Tech and he said he would get it to Gary. I hope you did because it has some very cool pics of both bands. Keep Rockin guys


Cindylouwho2001 // August 11, 2013 4:47:30 AM UTC

You guys are awesome! No strangers to loss, I think you would understand when I say the past decade + has been a rough one. My mom passed away in 2000, my little brother in 2005 at the age of 30 and now in February my dad. Being the only one left except for my daughter, this has been one hell of a year. When my friend asked if I wanted to go see you guys at the Clearfield County Fair, I jumped at the chance. I have always loved your music. And Free Bird is my all time favorite song....I've punched in late for work just to hear the end of it on the radio. Just the whole experience was so awesome! I forgot about all the crap that's happened this year and all the pain, and just let go and enjoyed myself completely for the first time in months. Singing at the top of my lungs, yelling and clapping and all of it. A weight that has been beating me down for months was lifted if only for a little while, but lifted none the less. And when you started Free Bird, the tears rolled a little for all the people I've lost since 2000, but that didn't stop me from singing along! So I just want to say thanks again for coming to Clearfield Fair and giving me a little piece of mind for awhile.Thank you for singing all the old songs, not that the new ones are fabulous, but the old ones bring back sooooo many memories. And thank you for just being you! Hope to see you in the area in the future! I'll be there singing along again! God bless and keep you all!


gwenandrebel // August 09, 2013 7:36:51 PM UTC

@Mr. Saturday Night Special: I'll just say options are like assholes, everybody has one. But those asshole licking fucks as you called them, are TRUE AMERICANS! Apparently you have no clue as to who they are, or what their all about! Maybe you should do some research before you make statements that let's everyone see just how big a piece of shit you are, those of us who know and love them can clearly see by your statement that your the biggest asshole shit licking fuck we've ever had to hear from. But its like Johnny said if you don't like it, get a record deal, and make your own songs.


Mr. Saturday Night Special // August 08, 2013 3:47:09 PM UTC

Lynyrd Skynyrd is a piece of shit band ever since the stinking Rossington Collins Project. Fucking right wing asshole licking fucks.


trlangford56 // August 08, 2013 2:16:53 AM UTC

Just saw Lynyrd Skynyrd in Davenport Iowa! wow Fantastic show! the Band was dead on! I wish they would have played some of the new songs from Last of the dying bread! What a great record! and God and Guns! holy Buckets these 2 records should be played in full live! great songs great Music! Love the older stuff I grew up on but love the new songs as well!. Thanks for keeping the music fresh! Tommy Langford, Bettendorf, Iowa


Tuesday 77 // August 06, 2013 6:31:04 PM UTC

I just want to say Thank you so much for the best music ever & for keeping Ronnie alive in all of us, & now leon & billy as well, & for all u do for our troops, my son is a U.S Marine & a Lynyrd Skynyrd lovin American just like his momma, lol All my kids r, by the wayTo me u guys r wat America is, good wholesome & True. Ive seen u live 5 times in the last 20 yrs, just saw u in Bethel, NY with Bad Co, woooooow wat a show. I love u guys so much, please continue to b THE BEST BAND EVER, Love: Tuesday77

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