Beulah Festival Grounds
Arizona Bike Week
11Live Oak, FL
Universal Studios Florida - Main Stage
Lynyrd Skynyrd Interview: "For Us It’s An Honor, A Pleasure, To Still Be Carrying on The Skynyrd Nation"
Lynyrd Skynyrd are a Rock & Roll legacy. Overcoming adversity and loss throughout their 50+ year career, Skynyrd have strengthened the line that defines Southern Rock while stitching their music into the fabric of America with hits like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Freebird” among many others. Having been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, then returning in 2009 with a brand new album featuring new material in God and Guns, this family troupe has proven unstoppable. But with all their history, one thing’s for sure: Lynyrd Skynyrd put on one heck of a live show, and that’s exactly what they’re celebrating with their latest CD/DVD Live From Freedom Hall. Released right on the cusp of the band’s big summer tour, we catch up with vocalist Johnny Van Zant to find out all about the special performance that marks long-time keyboardist Billy Powell and late bassist Ean Evans’ last stand with the band, and what’s in store this summer as the Skynyrd Nation carries on from coast to coast and sea to shining sea.
Having just released Live From Freedom Hall as you embark on tour for the summer, what can fans expect to see on this DVD that they won’t see on this run and vice-versa?
Johnny: Well this DVD I think [was] just a great show; we actually was out on the Rowdy Frynds Tour with Hank Jr. and this was recorded I believe in Lexington, Kentucky and was just a great night for us. If you’re coming to see us now, you’re going to hear a lot of new music from God and Guns! And you know this particular year, we’re going to scramble up the set a little and I think people are going to be blown away...
Can you expand upon what it’s like still playing the Skynyrd staples after all these years, and how the crowd reaction differs from place to place?
Johnny: That’s what makes it very interesting. People say “Hey, don’t you get sick of playing ‘Freebird’ or ‘Sweet Home Alabama’?”And I’m like No! Most bands would give their right arm to have just one song like that and for us every night’s a different place. The crowds are different every night. Some nights they’re crazier as can be and other nights they’re not as crazy, but more nights of craziness than anything at a Skynyrd show -- that’s the way we like it. Just having a good time. For us it’s an honor, a pleasure, to still be doing that and carrying on the Skynyrd Nation.
And in carrying on the Skynyrd Nation through so much loss, does it get difficult to keep going?
Johnny: We’ve lived through a lot of tragedy, but Rock ‘n’ Roll has its tragedies. We’re a big family, let’s put it that way, and family members come and go and we’ll all have to take that trip one day. Now for us who are still here we’re gonna work our butts off and do everything in our power to carry on what they started. As far as for me, I always looked at is as my brother being the quarterback and me being the receiver and we were always trying to get that touchdown.
With Freedom Hall being the last performance with Billy Powell and Ean Evans, can you tell me a little bit about their legacy living on through the album?
Johnny: Right, this live album and DVD is very special to me of course, and I think every member of Lynyrd Skynyrd and I think it’s special to Billy and Ean -- they had the pleasure of seeing it and living it of course before their untimely passing and I think any true Skynyrd fan would love to have this DVD and CD because it has those two guys on there. I know for myself, because I’m very honored to play with those guys who were both not only great musicians but great people too. So I’m sure they’re up there going “Alright! People finally get to see and hear this!”
In keeping with the celebration of Skynyrd, what are you most looking forward to in performing now?
Johnny: Oh I’m looking forward to it! You know we’ve already had a great tour over in Europe in probably the coldest time. We’ve got some great fans over in Europe and we had a blast over there and we’re looking forward to going back over again. [But] now it’s time for us to conquer America in 2010 here. We’re looking forward to it -- we have the Freedom Concerts coming up, we’re going on the road with Bret Michaels who’s another survivor now. Talked to Bret today and he’s had some bad health stuff going on and I said, “Now you’re an official member of the Lynyrd Skynyrd band!” (laughs) And my brother’s going out with me this summer, .38 Special, so we’re looking forward to the summer. We’ve had a little time off but it’s time to get back to doing what we do.
Tell me more about the upcoming Freedom Concerts and what they stand for.
Johnny: The Freedom Concerts? Oh gosh yeah. Well first of all we’re going to be out there with our buddy Charlie Daniels and Michael W. Smith, who I’ve never met but I’ve heard he’s a great guy and I like his music a lot. And of course I love Charlie Daniels. Along with my father Lacy Van Zant, he’s the father of southern Rock ‘n’ Roll as far as I’m concerned. For us to be able to be involved with that is a great pleasure. We’ve been very blessed with music and in our life - and in this stage of our life - as much as we can give back is a great honor. And to give back for a great cause like the freedom concerts, it’s going to be special for us because we’re real, real big supporters of our troops and no matter what goes on in the government whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Independent, whatever, all that needs to be out the window and you need to support the troops. So you know we’re there to be able to do that for their kids and them. You know I think the only time we’ve ever been united is after 9/11. If we could figure out a way to get back to that without going through tragedy it would be a greater and better country.
Are there any songs that you guys don’t normally play live that fans might be surprised to hear in your set?
Johnny: Golly, you know I think we’ve played just about every one of them live. Recently we played a song called “All I Can Do Is Write About It” which I think is pretty much one of the most cool songs my brother ever wrote. You’d have to listen to the words but it’s just a touching song and I think it kind of summed up his life and what he felt.
With us putting so much emphasis on you guys playing live, who are some of the bands you’ve enjoyed seeing live in the past?
Johnny: Oh gosh, we’ve played with just about everybody (laughs). Who I’ve enjoyed seeing live? I think one of my favorite bands has been AC/DC. You know, as far as live goes and live performance, AC/DC puts on a great live performance. We got the opportunity to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame a few years back, and they had Metallica there and they were really cool to see -- and Sting. I love all sorts of music, so I love seeing James Taylor along with Metallica. Golly that’s a hard question to answer! Who knows, maybe there’s something I haven’t seen. My wife and I, we went to see Tim McGraw just recently --and Lady Antebellum, that was a good show [too].
Even though it’s obviously something you love, I imagine when people are not on the road or in the studio, they’re taking a break from music and that’s cool that you’re still going to concerts.
Johnny: Yeah I enjoy music; I’ve always enjoyed music. I think anybody who’s in the music business or doing it for a career, you have to love music first. You don’t have to quit your job but music’s a great thing -- it’s a good healer. Anytime I’ve been sick or whatever, I’ve listened to music and it makes me feel better. Or having a great time out on the town, music’s a big part of that. It’s good therapy.
The above article is posted courtesy of
Lynyrd Skynyrd brings masterful southern rock to Massachusetts ~ A review of Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Comcast Center on July 1, 2010
Lynyrd Skynyrd brings masterful southern rock to Massachusetts
A review of Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Comcast Center on July 1, 2010
The biker chaps, tattoos, and Confederate flags were out in force Thursday night as the spirit of southern rock swept over the Comcast Center in anticipation of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s visit. The air of an upcoming Independence Day added a sense of patriotism which would gracefully complement the ambiance of southern pride as the night played out its course. And when it had, one thing was clear: Lynyrd Skynyrd know how to electrify a crowd. From start to finish of their lengthy set, the level of energy palpable in the venue was simply insane.
As soon as Bret Michaels concluded, a buzz of excitement filled the air as fans waited for the legends of southern rock. A white sheet hid the stage while it was set up, and as soon as the lights dimmed again, the place erupted. It’s doubtful that so many people have ever screamed so enthusiastically at a white sheet. Finally the sheet dropped, revealing Lynyrd Skynyrd as they opened with “Workin’ For MCA”. Guitarist Michael Matejka took the honors of first solo, and wasted no time producing a dazzling melody as his fingers danced across the frets. Fans then got a taste of the latest album, last September’s God & Guns with “Skynyrd Nation”. It has a much more mainstream sound than the band’s older material with its heavy riffs and fillers, yet retains some of that defining southern element through vocalist Johnny Van Zant’s gruff voice and a solo from guitarist Gary Rossington, the only remaining founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. The set also included “Still Unbroken”, another single from the new album.
Then it was right back to some of that older material, the recognizable melody of “What’s Your Name” eliciting an impressive reaction from fans. The song featured Rickey Medlocke’s guitar, and more importantly, Medlocke’s facial expressions. The faces he makes while ripping through solos are both hilarious and bizarre. Whether they are genuine or not, they are one of the reasons to see Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert. And people enjoyed it; the perpetual cheering, which carried on through “That Smell”, reached a point where it left the speakers fighting to be heard, an epic battle of decibels.
Van Zant would take a moment later on to recognize the upcoming Independence Day by dedicating the next song – “Simple Man” – to the nation’s troops and their families. It was a powerful moment in the Comcast Center, as thousands of people swayed back and forth in unison, raising small American flags which had been distributed by soldiers prior to the concert. Van Zant even paused during the song to declare, “God bless our troops and their families.” This was a meaningful gesture; any frontman will take the time between songs to show gratitude to our nation’s defenders, but not many care enough to interrupt a song. It was inspiring to see such a genuine act. The emotional interlude would continue as a recording of “All I Can Do Is Write About It” played while pictures of the late Ronnie Van Zant, the band’s founding vocalist, scrolled across the screen.
From there, the tempo picked up to conclude the set. The band launched into “Gimme Three Steps”, driving fans into a frenzy of dancing and screaming, while Van Zant spun around with a Confederate flag tied to the microphone stand. The cacophony continued into “Call Me The Breeze”, with Peter “Keys” Pisarczyk bringing the keyboard to life with a spectacular solo. Then came fan favorite and classic rock hit “Sweet Home Alabama”, and the band departed the stage. But the cheering only grew louder, for everyone knew what was coming next.
And when Lynyrd Skynyrd returned, Van Zant had gracefully replaced the Confederate flag with the good old star spangled banner, which he saluted as Rossington produced the wistful opening notes of “Free Bird”. The anticipation built through the first verses as fans waited for the song’s defining component. Then, after a lively keyboard melody, Medlocke took the spotlight as Lynyrd Skynyd’s three guitarists jumped into one of the best known solos of all time. Alternating leads, fingers flying up and down the frets, they turned three electric guitars into a furious, passionate harmony of classic rock at its best. Eyes were turned skyward as fans savored each riff, hammer-on, and chord that the band had deliberately saved for last. Finally, as Medlocke vigorously swung the vibrato bar and Van Zant appeared with an enormous American flag, the song winded down and the band again left, to a well-deserved clamor of cheers.
Lynyrd Skynyrd may have only one remaining original member, but the classics are as alive as ever, and the new material is sounding pretty good, too – it adds an element of mainstream rock, while still retaining the features that brought them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What really stood out Thursday night was the fans’ reception; the band ignited the crowd from the opening notes, and that energy never diminished until the encore concluded. Seeing them perform only gives the impression that their talent and passion will never fade.
By: MacLean Cadman, Contributing Writer
Visit Boston Music Spotlight for more great reviews.
We hope everyone in Skynyrd Nation is excited about the 4th of July weekend! And what a better way to celebrate being an American than with Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Johnny Van Zant talks about being proud of our country in a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times saying, “We mention our God above, and we definitely are proud to be U.S. citizens and patriots of a great country. All that goes hand in hand. We’ve been very blessed. A lot of artists come and go. Our fans stay and are with us for years and years, and turn their kids onto it.”
Baseball, apple pie and Skynyrd… What does America mean to you and how does the Skynyrd Nation make our country a better place? Let us know by entering the Skynyrd Nation 4th of July contest below.
1.) Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
2.) Write "4th of July Contest" in the Subject line of the email.
3.) Tell us in the email how Skynyrd Nation makes America a better
place and what this country means to you.
4.) Attach at least one photo of any fireworks that you see this weekend.
The contest entry date has been extended until Friday July 16. The top winner will receive a Skynyrd Nation prize pack and their email and photo will be featured in the fan club. Runner-ups will also have their emails featured in the Skynyrd Nation at LynyrdSkynyrd.com.
The newly released Live From Freedom Hall not only captures Lynyrd Skynyrd doing what they do best, but it's also one of the last concerts to be recorded with longtime members Billy Powell and Ean Evans, both of whom passed away last year. The release is a tribute to and a celebration of all things Skynyrd. In the video below, Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlocke, and Gary Rossington explain more about why and how.
Live From Freedom Hall is out now! Get your copy of the CD/DVD featuring a classic set list of the southern rock legends' greatest hits by going ,RIGHT HERE.
Lynyrd Skynyrd have just released their brand new live set Live From Freedom Hall and Classic Rock Magazine is celebrating with a special exclusive clip from the disc's accompanying DVD.
Live From Freedom Hall includes the audio and video components of the band's special show at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky on June 15th, 2007. While the band play a set of Skynyrd classics and fan favorites, the show marks a special occasion for the Skynyrd Nation for many reasons. Watch as Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlocke and Gary Rossington explain it all at http://classicrockmagazine.com
Live From Freedom Hall is in stores now.
The summer just got even better! Skynyrd will rock Beaumont, TX and Mountain Vew, CA this summer, and we want Skynyrd Nation to have first access to presale tickets and VIP packages before the general public! This presale will begin tomorrow, June 23 at 3pm Local Venue Time. Remember, tickets are limited and available on a first come, first served basis, so get them while we've got them!
8/22/10 - Ford Park Arena (Beaumont, TX)
8/29/10 - Shoreline Amphitheater (Mountain View, CA)
Presale tickets can be purchased at: http://tixx1.artistarena.com/lynyrdskynyrd/
*** If you are having difficulty accessing the ticketing link, make sure you are allowing cookies. If that isn't working for you try using another browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc...). If after all of that and you still can't get in, please call 212.420.1700 or email email@example.com for assistance.
Additional presales may be announced shortly. Please do not call or email about shows that are not listed here, as we will post the information as soon as it's available.
We'll see you there!
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gods & Guns Tour kicked off yesterday!
The Miami Herald recently interviewed Johnny Van Zant to talk about this summer's tour with .38 Special and Bret Michaels. During the interview, Johnny was asked if he felt the presence of the former Skynyrd members who have passed. In response he said, "I think if you were up there, and you didn't feel that, there'd be something wrong with you. There's a lot of spirit to Lynyrd Skynyrd -- that's what keeps this band going."
The full interview can be read here at MiamiHerald.com
We hope everyone in Skynyrd Nation has their tickets ready to go for these summer dates. Be sure to let us know which shows you're going to, in the comments below, then come back and tell us how the show was! We look forward to hearing from all of you!