Lynyrd Skynyrd

ARTICLE ABOUT Lynyrd Skynyrd FROM SOUNDS, October 25, 1975

After a very hectic period when I needed a break from all this blogging, I am trying to continue my project with this article. I hope you missed me! ūüėČ


Lynyrd skynful

Concert review by John Ingham

The correct term is schnapps; guitarist Gary Rossington calls it `snaps`. It was the catalyst for a group fight that left singer Ronnie Van Zandt with a broken hand and bruised windpipe and Rossington with two slashed wrists. The next night they played the first concert of their European tour.
This review is hopelessly entwined in comments and arguments heard after the gig. Early on Peter Rudge had commented that Skynyrd are either brilliant or abominable, never in between. Afterwards he commented that it wasn`t worth coming 3,000 miles to see, and Van Zandt continued the theme until the early hours of the morning. Perhaps it was disgust because their sorry condition was self inflicted…
Because from this unbiased viewpoint, never having seen them before, they were pretty good, especially considering the condition of Rossington. (He said afterwards that it felt as though his hands were being knifed the entire time). Not inspiring, certainly, and not without sound problems, but hardly of the magnitude and ear-splitting volume that Van Zandt insisted had been the case.
Their repertoire consisted of oldies – `Saturday Night Special`, `Give Me Three Steps` and the obligatory `Free Bird` – as well as numbers that will be on the new Tom Dowd-produced album. Like most boogie bands their forte isn`t virtuosity, but unlike most others, they fill the space with riffs and rhythms that lift and exhilerate and are never boring. Pianist Billy Powell, especially, was knocking out fiery runs whenever he could be heard, and the interaction between Rossington and other guitarist Allen Collins, on a good night, would have been awesome.
So if what they think is bad is in reality quite good, think what they`ll be like on a good night. Barring any more rounds of schnapps, of course.


The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Lynyrd Skynyrd FROM SOUNDS, May 31, 1975

A really great article to read. Credits to Mr. McConnell for this one – well written! McConnell may be better known these days as an expert on glass on BBC`s “Antiques Roadshow”. A man of many talents then!
Read on!


Ronnie Van Zant kicked his Scotch habit: it`s wine now…

Life at the top is tough when you`re Lynyrd Skynyrd, as Andy McConnell found out

It`s 4 P.M. at the Santa Monica Holiday Inn, five hours before the first of two sell-out Lynyrd Skynyrd shows at the Civic Auditorium, a mile down the Pacific promenade. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant lies head on pillow and guitarist Allen Collins sits talking to Al Kooper. He`s the New York slicker who discovered the Jacksonville, Florida, band in an Atlanta bar in 1972, and has gone on to produce all three of their gold albums and their Top Ten singles – `Sweet Home Alabama` and `Free Bird`.
Van Zant lifts his head. “Kooper,” he declares, “I just gotta Mercedes and I ain`t even seen it yet. Ah jus` can`t wait to get back home an` see it.” Kooper grins back at the gruff little singer whose cowboy hat wearing habit has left a permanent ridge pressed around his blond scraggly hair, like an invisible fallen halo.
“I just got an Excaliber,” replies the producer. “It`s called Lynyrd Skynyrd after the person that paid for it.” The room dissolves into a sea of laughter.
In contrast to their raucus high-decibel music, the Skynyrds are a quiet, unassuming bunch. Despite years of solid gigging, one feels they remain uncomfortable in many on-the-road situations; slightly out of sync with the rock and roll business in overdrive around them.
After all, it`s only three years since guitarist Gary Rossington had to jive neighbourhood blacks into street running races and place bets with the band`s last half-dollar to feed seven hungry mouths and pay for gas to get to gigs.
Their new-found affluence has caused problems, however, especially to Ronnie. “I was drinkin` a lotta Scotch,” admits the man credited with `vocals, lyrics and J&B` on the band`s first two album sleeves. “It was gettin` so I couldn`t feel it any more, I was pretty burnt out on it. The doc said I was doin` myself in so I quit.”
So confident was he of his ability to kick the demon alcohol that Ronnie took on a total of $4,000 in bets to that effect. It was no time at all before he was off the wagon. “It`s wine now,” he laughs in a mellow drawl taking a broken-ended knife to his fingernails. And the bets? “Oh, I ain`t gonna pay them mutherfuckers,” he declares.


Van Zant and Collins each proudly lift the right sleeve of their T-shirts to reveal Technicolor tatoos acquired the previous day in a moment of drunken madness. “Allen and I went stumblin` into this place in the boondocks and said `We want some tatoos`. The guy asked us which ones we wanted, we pointed up to designs on the wall and he was stickin` needles into us straight away,” giggles the singer.
“Your mama`s gonna whoop your hides when you get home,” says Kooper, narrowing his eyes behind dark shades. Ronnie simply holds his self-satisfied smile.
Skynyrd make no secret of their admiration and respect for Kooper. Chances are that without him they could still be playing tin-pot Southern bars and clubs like the one he found them in three years ago.
Of the original five-piece Skynyrd, Van Zant, Collins and guitarist Gary Rossington remain. They named the outfit after their high school gym teacher Leonard Skinner, invariably the figure of authority who`d catch his pupils with hair reaching their ears and order a shearing. “He owns a real estate company now,” laughs Allen. “He did an interview in a Jacksonville newspaper and said he was expecting a royalty cheque from us for using his name.”
The current Skynyrd line-up is completed by Ed King as the third guitarist, Billy Powell on keyboards, bass player Leon Wilkeson and Artimus Pyle who recently replaced Bob Burns on drums.
Kooper found the penniless outfit whilst recording in Atlanta. “I was going out every night to the clubs, checking out local bands,” he recalls. “I`d had the idea of forming a label as an alternative to Capricorn after seeing so many great unknown bands in the South. Just imagine how I felt when I walked into this club one night and saw the guys playing songs like `Free Bird` with nobody paying them the slightest attention.”
“The bars were really tough. One night we saw a guy get his head blown off,” grimaces Rossington. “But we didn`t mind playing them `cause we didn`t know nuthin` different. Hell, if three people clapped you`d feel so great you`d tear the place down.”
Kooper duly formed his Sound Of The South Records and signed Skynyrd as the first act. They had already recorded enough material for two albums at Muscle Shoals under Jimmy Johnson but nothing had seen the light of day. “We bought them tapes from Jimmy,” reveals Ronnie. “We`re gonna re-do the vocals, add some back-up vocals, touch them up a bit, sit on them for a while, then release them as an `Early Lynyrd Skynyrd` album.”



Their first album for Kooper, `Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd`, was a collection of songs Van Zant had written with assistance from the guitar players over a four-year period. Recorded in Doraville, Georgia, the sound was a raw blend of blues, hillbilly country and British boogie packed with typically Southern flavour; moaning slide guitar, country pickin` mandolin, aggressive guitars, driving rhythm section in straight 4/4 and dry, thirst-parched vocals. Van Zant`s lyrics completed the geographical picture with tales of disapproving daddies, guns, train rides, ghettos, the Lord and getting high on dope and booze.
“Ronnie stands in the shower singin` to himself and the songs just come out,” explains Allen scratching his meagre three-day growth. “Ma shower`s got the best acoustics in the world,” laughs Ronnie. “Ah always look for the melody first, then think up the words as ah go along. Ah memorise them, then take `em to one of the guitar players and we arrange everythin`.”
The debut album hovered in the lower regions of the chart for five months; creeping into the sixties, dropping back into the eighties, back again into the fifties. By the time they went on the road for their first tour, supporting the Who on their 1973 tour, they had over 100,000 sales under their belts.
“The tour opened in San Francisco at the Cow Palace in front of 18,600. We walked out on stage and went `eeerrrc, God, what am I goin` t`do?` Everything was played ten times too fast. We were awful, but by the time we got to the third night everythin` was jus` fine,” says Gary.
Massive success finally arrived with `Second Helping` and its single `Sweet Home Alabama`, the South`s indignant reply to Neil Young`s `Southern Man`:
“I heard Mr Young sing about it / I heard ol` Neil put it down / Well, I hope Neil Young will remember / Southern man don`t need him around.”

The Los Angeles Record Plant-produced album was considerably more slick than its predecessor. With Leon Wilkeson returned to the band after a short leave, Ed King could concentrate fully on augmenting Rossington and Collins` guitars, instead of having to double on bass as he had done on the first. Skynyrd`s fortè became the ability to balance the guitarists; two holding back for up to ten bars, then sweeping in at the perfect moment.
Both album and single turned gold. With `Free Bird` released as a follow-up single, Skynyrd rapidly emerged as an important headline attraction across the United States.
November and December found them outside their homeland for the first time; England, Scotland, Belgium, France, Germany and Holland. “It was real fine,” smiles Allen at the memory. “It`s very much like the South over there; the people seem much closer together, care for each other much more than they do on the West Coast or in New York.”
“It`s a much more sophisticated audience over there too,” adds Ronnie untangling his stained red T-shirt from underneath his back. “They don`t raise hell right when you go on stage like they do here. They make the band prove its worth.”
Skynyrd returned to the studio after Christmas, this time at Webb IV in Atlanta. Previously Van Zant and the guitarists had all their material written and rehearsed prior to recording sessions. This was not the case for `Nuthin` Fancy`; though `Saturday Night Special` had already been recorded for the soundtrack to `The Longest Yard`, starring Burt Reynolds. Nothing else was prepared.
“It was the best time I ever had in a studio,” raves Allen.
“It was awful,” groans Kooper who resumed smoking cigarettes during the recording after having given up for a year. “I nearly had a nervous breakdown and ended up in the looney bin. We`d get up at noon, have some breakfast, head into the studio and record straight through until six or seven the next morning. Then the same the next day… every day for three weeks.”
Kooper says the album is an attempt to recapture some of the rawness of the first effort, yet is only partially successful. The country-flavoured `Made In The Shade` and `I`m A Country Boy` certainly hark back to first album numbers like `Mississippi Kid`, but the rockers are far more lithe. From the outset there was no way Skynyrd could return to the Southern punk arrogance of earlier days, simply because the quality of their musicianship and professionalism has improved so dramatically.


Unfortunately Kooper`s firm-set ideas and the band`s natural development have unintentionally set themselves up in opposition, with Kooper wanting a sound that Skynyrd really cannot provide today. The result is that the album occasionally feels stretched, lacking in the hotter-than-hell feel that hallmarked the debut albums. “The sessions were a battle between myself and the band,” admits Kooper. But he insists: “That`s the way it should¬†be – it creates the best music.”
That aside, with manager Peter Rudge now in control of their affairs, a very healthy track record and healthy European experience behind them, Skynyrd seem set.
As Ronnie so delightfully put it: “I think we could record `Mary Had A Little Dick` and it`d sell.”


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits ‚Äď please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Lynyrd Skynyrd FROM SOUNDS, August 10, 1974

I think I have seen somewhere that this particular article is one of those that fans of this band sees as one of the most pivotal in the band`s history. Well, I can sort of understand why. So here it is in all its glory.


Skynyrd singe God`s beard in Memphis

Down in Memphis Lynyrd Skynyrd are hot property. Their recent gig at the Memorial Stadium was supporting their idol Eric Clapton on the last leg of his American tour and they made it tough for the guitar God. But, Clapton produced one of the best gigs he`s played to date and Sharon Lawrence was there to report on the fireworks.

This is a story about a steamy, hot, lazy Sunday afternoon in Memphis, Tennessee, and what happened when blues master Eric Clapton met up with an authentic, young Southern band named Lynyrd Skynyrd, the same Lynyrd Skynyrd who learned more than a few of their tricks from Eric Clapton records and a live Clapton gig or two when Skynyrd were punk kids playing for a few bucks a night and virtually starving, and Eric Clapton was God.


Lynyrd Skynyrd are simply loved to death in Memphis, Tennessee. They were specifically put on the Clapton bill by promoters who weren`t quite sure how the “new” Eric Clapton would draw. Ross was the first act onstage, then Foghat. Ho hum.
Then the stirring strains of “Dixie” and the big Confederate flag behind Skynyrd`s drum kit was unfurled and the seven men of Lynyrd Skynyrd hit the stage and the tens of thousands of people who almost filled the big Memphis Memorial Stadium went wild.
Skynyrd are their boys, Southern boys whose most ingratiating ingredient is a certain strong spirit that encompasses pride, freedom and brotherhood. You can love `em even when the sound system is failing, and you can`t quite make out those three glorious lead guitars.


Masses of people bunched together sweating in the hot sun and loving every minute of it… thousands of hands raised in applause to the skies. It was a thrilling sight, what the best of rock is all about, what all those hyped-up festivals seldom really are.
“You stop that fighting,” said Ronnie Van Zant, Skynyrd`s lead singer. “You stop it right now!” Ronnie Van Zant commands his stage like a field marshal and two spaced-out people in the audience trying to kill each other are simply not going to be allowed to succeed if Ronnie Van Zant has anything to say about it.
Ronnie Van Zant likes to talk, especially if he`s had his whisky. And he`s an eloquent talker. Ronnie Van Zant is often someone well worth listening to, and as he introduced that Skynyrd stunner “Free Bird”, the audience listened well.


“Three years ago my band and me collected enough Coke bottles to turn them in for the deposit money we needed to get down to Miami to see Derek and the Dominoes. Eric Clapton was one of our idols. And we`re happy we`re playing with him today. It`s a thrill.
“But now we`re doing a song for a hero who can`t be here today. Put your hands together for Duane Allman.”
Eric Clapton had his hands full following Lynyrd Skynyrd, and he was well aware of it. People in the Clapton camp had been quietly talking about Skynyrd for several days before the Memphis gig. “Eric is up for Memphis,” was the word. His reputation was on the line, especially in Memphis, one of the homes of the blues.
Some of the Clapton band watched Skynyrd devastate the audience with “Free Bird”, then encore with “Sweet Home Alabama”, their first hit single currently climbing the American charts. The Clapton people seemed to like Skynyrd and they were impressed by the reception the band was given. Eric stayed in the dressing room.
A few minutes later, Eric, his face looking pale, and drinking a tall Vodka and orange, received Skynyrd in his dressing room for a few minutes. The Skynyrd boys were nervous and excited. Eric was gracious.
God knows it must have been a strange feeling to be with people with all that fresh young energy who had learned their craft listening to his songs and who do a version of “Crossroads” that`s a killer.
Then, Ronnie Van Zant, feeling his whisky and never ashamed to speak his mind, started talking about Duane Allman. It made Eric nervous. Finally he nodded when Ronnie kept insisting, “You go out there and play for Duane.”


Clapton, as they say, did good, even after starting out with that diabetes-inducer “Smile”. Eric`s set built in momentum and bass player Carl Radle, the unsung hero of the Clapton tour, and the drummer Jamie Oldake kept it cooking. The audience liked all those reggae riffs Eric seems to be into these days, but they most liked “Badge”, “Crossroads” and “Blues Power”.
Lynyrd Skynyrd were up at the back of the stage watching intently. Eric had damn well better be playing for Duane.
Skynyrd kicked Clapton`s ass and one had the feeling that after the gig in the back of his mind, he was grateful. It was one of the best dates on his American tour. He was on the spot to deliver.
Look at Eric Clapton and you see where rock has been. Look at a band like Skynyrd and you pray this is where rock is going. The arrogant, frightening, English guys who surround people like Eric Clapton don`t seem to be interested in the music. Their pleasure comes from throwing people bodily off the stage for no apparent reason as often as possible.
Lynyrd Skynyrd know who their friends are. They have a crew who would and have worked for free when the band was starving. As Ronnie Van Zant says, “We`re the real brothers of the South.”
Van Zant`s not bragging, simply stating a fact.
“We`ve gone through hell for seven years. We love each other and we`re not ashamed to say it. We know who we are and who we play for. I couldn`t work without our roadies. They couldn`t work without me.
“The sharks are moving in on us, but we`ll fool `em. Pressure us too much and we`ll go back to the swamp and wait it out. And if it takes us three years of starving we`ll be back. And we`ll be better than we ever were. But we won`t be bought and sold like pieces of meat.


“And we won`t have people around us who are greedy and who don`t care about human beings.
“We`re Southern rebels but more than that, we know the difference between right and wrong.”
Skynyrd learned plenty from Eric Clapton a few years ago. He could learn from them now.
The day after the concert the two leading Memphis papers declared Lynyrd Skynyrd to be the champion of the Sunday gig. Lynyrd Skynyrd had delivered for the audience was the gist of the reviews Skynyrd were thrilled with those reviews. But they`d be more than happy to play with their friend Eric Clapton again and let him blow them off the stage.
That`s the kind of Southern boys Lynyrd Skynyrd are.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits ‚Äď please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bob Marley, Billy Preston, Ronnie Lane, Golden Earring, Ronnie Spector, Duane Eddy, Argent, Andy Fairweather Low, Viola Wills, Mick Jagger, Suzi Quatro, R. Dean Taylor, Johnny Bristol, Julie Driscoll, Status Quo, Georgia Fame, Vangelis, Greenslade.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Lynyrd Skynyrd FROM SOUNDS, October 13, 1973

This album review will be liked by every southern rock fan out there, except maybe for the spelling of Ronnie Van Zant`s name. So enjoy!


Album Review:

“Lynyrd Skynyrd”
(Sounds Of The South MCA 363) Import

By Martin Hayman

This group with the rather tricky name hail from the Southern States of America where, as you know, so much good music has already come. Al Kooper says he saw the group playing in a club in Atlanta, Georgia, and promptly signed them up for his new MCA-backed label Sounds of the South. He told me in a recent interview that Lynyrd Skynyrd play “the most real rock and roll you ever heard” and after listening to their first album, which has had astonishingly widespread airplay across the USA, I must agree absolutely. The shock of hearing this music is comparable to that of first listening to Chuck Berry ten years ago: its strength and crude raunchiness just bowls me over. Not only that, but the purity and the originality of the music, coming as it does straight out of the swamps and subjected to no commercial refinement or adaptation, just straight into the studio and record what they had been playing for years together. Lynyrd Skynyrd are seven men plus various additions. Ron van Zaart is their singer and is co-credited with composing all cuts with either guitarist Gary Rossington or Allen Rossington, also guitar (with guitarist Ed King on one song; along with Al Kooper and drummer Robert Burns on another). There are three guitarists in the band and they swop with ease from lead to rhythm and bass, indicating that each one knows the score: rock and roll is based on rhythm instruments. And they show on the strength of this album that there are few groups around who could even hold a candle to them. Perhaps they might sound a little scrappy by comparison with Redwing or Little Feat; But they make both these groups sound effete, combining their grasp of the feel of blues and country with the sheer energy of our own Status Quo. To check this out I would suggest a listen to the album`s last cut “Free Bird”, opening on a doomy note with piano and organ and impressively thunderous tympani introducing a medium-pace drawling blues with beautiful slide guitar work from Allen Collins admirably underscored by measured rhythm section work, which then takes off to a chugging beat and a guitar solo which gets faster and faster and faster. Just rock and roll played as tough and uncomplexed as it can be; enough to make anyone want to disappear back into the wilds and find out what it`s all about.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits ‚Äď please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Dave Mattacks, David Crosby, The JSD Band, Phil Manzanera, Status Quo, Jerry Shirley, Sutherland Bros. and Quiver, Jo Jo Gunne, Allan Taylor, Geordie.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Lynyrd Skynyrd from New Musical Express, October 25, 1975

This is the first time that I print an article with those Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd. This was in print a couple of years before their unfortunate plane accident that killed two of the band members. I guess life became quite different afterwards for the other members of the band that were badly injured in the crash. But they never quit, and are still an ongoing and popular band. These guys really know how to give a great live concert, so check them out if they are playing somewhere near you soon.


I see the bloodbath that was Hamburg

When a band start slashing each other`s wrists before gigs you know they`re confident.
Tony Stewart applies the tourniquet to Lynyrd Skynyrd on the eve of their British tour.

Obviously no-one is quite certain how the opening night of Lynyrd Skynyrd`s Euro-tour will go Рbecause first concerts are notoriously precarious occasions. But equally, it comes as a surprise to encounter a bulletin of probable doom as soon as we walk through the hotel doors in Hamburg.
First clue is the miserable disposition of bassist Leon Wilkeson, who`s slumped despondently in an armchair facing the entrance. Then keyboard player Billy Powell rushes over before we`ve even laid down our baggage to tell a story which could cause the gig to be a disaster or maybe a cancellation.
What`s happened? There was a fight last night. Vocalist Ronnie Van Zant has, according to Powell, bust his fist, guitarist Gary Rossington apparently managed to get both his wrists slashed; and a bottle bounced off a roadie`s skull.
It seems like Rossington`s in no condition to play, and matters probably won`t improve before nightfall.
Nobody seems to know how it started. Or, if they do, they`re not saying.
Leon wanders over to join the conversation and mentions that booze may be at the bottom of it all. But he`s not certain, because he had a quieter evening, preferring to visit the infamous Reeperbahn to investigate what is politely referred to as relief massage.
Yup, Skynyrd are a bunch o` reeel wild Southern honkies.
Understandably, one of their co-managers, Peter Rudge, shows signs of vexation and apprehension as he gets down to business with the German promoter Fritz Rau in the hotel restaurant.

Skynyrd, one gathers, are constantly at each others` throats when on the road, and their reputation has preceded their European visit. In fact there`s one alleged story that former guitarist Ed King is currently in the slammer on a manslaughter charge.
“But,” comments Rudge, “they didn`t have to fight before the opening of the tour. It`s stupid.”
When we reach the Hamburg concert hall in the evening we`re expecting the gig to be pulled. But it isn`t.
Instead a jovial Ronnie Van Zant is swaggering around the backstage corridors, warmly throwing his arms over peoples` shoulders despite the fact that one hand is so swathed in bandages that it looks like he`s wearing a white boxing glove. And in Ronnie`s case that`s a suitable comparison.
Just getting to the stage is some achievement considering two of the band look as though they`re on an invalids` outing. Rossington has both his hands bandaged, with only his fingers peeping through. And there`s Ronnie.
With the exception of the lanky, cumbersome guitarist Allen Collins mincing it up at the front of the stage the other members look miserable РParticularly Leon, who`s wearing a white London policeman`s helmet and a completely mean and sour expression.
Early in the set the lethargic stance is reflected in the music. Perhaps because of the agonising pain Gary`s experiencing¬†(Every time I played a note it felt like a knife was being stabbed in my hand,” he later commented) he`s unable to¬†embellish the licks, and the whole band find it hard to get it on.

Even so Allen Collins whips the chords enthusiastically out of his guitar. Drummer Artemus Pyle, along with Wilkeson, kick the dust off the amps, while some fine honkytonk piano is pushed through from Powell at the back. Ronnie takes care of the vocals well.
Basically Lynyrd Skynyrd are a boogie band, playing some good music on such things as their own “The Needle And The¬†Spoon”, “Saturday Night Special” and a coupla tracks from their next album, as well as J.J. Cale`s “Call Me The Breeze”¬†and “Same Old Blues”.
Perhaps it`s their physical condition, or maybe the usual lack of response from a German audience, that keeps the¬†set on too much of an even keel without a great deal of sparkle until they reach “Sweet Home Alabama”.
For this the Confederate flag at the back of the platform is blazed in lights, apparently stimulating them to buckle under and hit out harder.
Too late at the last number, they realise from audience response that they are going down moderately well, and return¬†to lay down “Freebird” with Rossington tossing out patterns against Collins until his fingers bleed. And here you¬†see Skynyrd in a totally different light – and understand why they`ve achieved so much success in America.


Playing a gig reasonably well isn`t enough for them, it transpires as we all make it back to the hotel bar to drink some white wine.
Leon sits against the wall, still wearing his helmet, with his arm around a young German miss who`s been picked up en route, and on the other side of him is Peter Rudge. Ronnie slouches angrily in the bench seat, with Billy and Gary at the other end, facing Leon. MCA press officer Geoff Thorn, another writer and myself jostle for space facing Van Zant.
Ronnie`s like a poolroom rumbler with an irrepressible tongue and a highly volatile temper, and he`s continuing an argument with Powell which originated immediately after the gig, in the dressing room.
Van Zant insists the show was so bad that all the kids had been given their money back, and that a chief cause of it being loused up was the overbearing volume of Powell`s equipment.
As the anger increased and the invective becomes stronger, Rudge tells them it`s their own stupid fault they blew the show Рbecause they were so bust up from fighting the previous night. And he makes his exit.
Ronnie quietens only briefly then takes up the same line again, while Billy seems to accept the criticisms meekly, barely raising his voice to explain his case simply and relatively unemotionally.

“And anyway,” Ronnie eventually tells him, “we`re gonna tape down the controls on your equipment, so then you can`t¬†turn up!”
Rossington, his bandages soggy with congealed blood, just ignores the argument and toys with an electronic lighter. Leon observes but keeps his mouth shut. Until he announces he`s off to revisit the Reeperbahn.
What seems to concern Van Zant is that `Duane would have said the gig was horseshit`. The late Duane Allman that is, who appears to be Ronnie`s hero. It is for Duane that Lynyrd Skynyrd keep the music flowing under the Confederate flag.
“To `Duane!” Van Zant declares, raising his wine glass in a toast now and again. “Here`s to Duane!”
But the chauvinism runs deeper, as many of Ronnie`s comments illustrate.
“We`re the best band in the South,” he announces. “An` ah can sing better than Gregg…”
Allman that is.
“… You just gotta put me in the right ring at the right time.”

Considering this opinion then it`s understandable that he should be enraged over what he considers a bad performance…¬†even though it wasn`t half as awful as he sees it. Trouble is, he never once considered that the fight of the night¬†before could have any bearing.
Another explanation for what seems like irrational criticism is that ten years ago Van Zant had a dream, following¬†which “Ah hand-picked all these boys to play for me.” In short, it`s his baby, and a bad reflection of the band`s¬†music is a bad reflection on him.
And that dream?
“To be,” he says quite immodestly, “the American equivalent of The Rolling Stones.”
Then as more wine appears and disappears down our throats, Van Zant`s anger is spent on other people, voices are raised faster than the glasses, and eventually the barman hustles us all out.
Next morning the receptionist to trying to check out where certain members of the band are. Apparently she can`t locate them, and there`s some urgency in her tone.
“You see,” she explains in remarkably good English, “they called a doctor and he`s on the phone now.”


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages ‚Äď please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Black Sabbath, Elton John, David Bowie, Roxy Music, I Roy, Steve Hackett, Milt Jackson, Mason, Larry Coryell.

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