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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!
Lynyrd Skynyrd are set to release their live CD/DVD Live From Freedom Hall tomorrow, June 22nd, and to commemorate the album that catches the long-running southern rock staples doing what they do best, we caught up with frontman Johnny Van Zant to go through the set list.
Read what he had to say about each song being part of the band's live repertoire after all these years below, and don't miss the band on tour all summer long. Go right here for a full list of tour dates and ticket information.
And don't forget to pick up your copy of the new live album tomorrow at a record store near you!
“That’s kind of like a duet thing that me and my brother did, and to be able to sing with him was pretty awesome. Years ago we had it on our record and for live, I think for Skynyrd fans to be able to see Ronnie up there actually singing and then it comes back to me on stage I think it’s just a very cool thing for fans and I always love doing that. Our dad was a truck driver and we’ve been travelin’ men our whole life. Ronnie for 29 years was a travelin’ man, ‘til his untimely death. And for me I’ve been doing it for about 30 something years. So it’s just a very cool song and for anybody.”
“Well I think that goes back to our upbringing. We always have worked in our life and our fans are working class people and that’s what we believe in doing -- we’re probably one of the hardest working bands out there and have always been out there every year. Where a lot of other bands take off, we’re out there playing for our fans. And you know its something like ‘I’m gonna buy my baby shoes’ I have kids in college and I have to buy them shoes! (Laughs) …and keep ‘em fed! So thanks to the Skynyrd Nation we’re still around. And we’re actually playing it this year coming up. We change our set up here and there, there’s so many great Lynyrd Skynyrd songs. We know we have to do “Freebird”, “Sweet Home” and those kind of things, but that song was just a statement, we think of our fans as the working class of America –or all around. [Even] when we’re in Europe they’re the working class so we like doing that one. It’s an up tempo thing, it’s in your face and that’s us.”
“What’s Your Name?”
“Well that is just a great hit song. Most Skynyrd people don’t realize that was the highest charting song that Lynyrd Skynyrd ever had as far as the top 100 singles and it was a top 10 song, I’m not sure exactly how far it went but it went up there quite a ways. And it’s just a great song, great feel [good] song. You can always tell that the crowd loves that, which is why we pretty much keep that in our set every year. I mean the crowd, especially the ladies -- that one’s for the ladies. “
“Well, ‘That Smell’ what a great song. That’s something Skynyrd’s always been about: true things that we’ve written about, and that’s definitely a true thing. We’ve all lived true our days of doing things that probably weren’t good for us (laughs). That one there with the audience you can definitely smell that smell if you get my drift.”
“Well that’s a great song and something that I think we all live by. I think anybody out there needs to respect their mother, and the words of their mother. It’s mama talking to you in that song and I think it’s probably one of my favorite’s if not my favorite to do live. It’s just a great song and that one stays in the set and the crowd always goes crazy on that one. Actually I just saw Lee [DeWyze] from American Idol do part of it a couple of weeks ago. Thought that was pretty neat.”
“Down South Jukin”
“Well that one’s just another fun up-tempo thing and I think that’s part of a medley. We’re from the south and just love doing that one; it just gets the crowd so much and to go from “Simple Man” into that just makes your blood start going up a little bit too, it’s a lot of fun.”
“The Needle and The Spoon”
“That’s a rare, really an obscure Skynyrd song. I mean not everybody knows “Needle and The Spoon” but we love doing it live just the whole riff the way it starts out and we’ve been doing it for many, many years.”
“Ballad of Curtis Loew”
“Well that one everybody does know. If you’re a Skynyrd fan you know “Curtis Loew” and again it just kind of brings the tempo down and just kind of lets us get that back porch feel.”
“Gimme Back My Bullets”
“Again that song it just in your face and that song’s pretty cool. The story behind that song and the reason why we like doing it is that when Skynyrd, when that album came out, everybody used to throw bullets at them because they thought it meant that, but what it really meant was on the Billboard charts it had a bullet besides it meaning it was doing really good, and the album before that, before Give Me Back My Bullets didn’t do quite as well as the first two. So this was something saying give us back our bullets, we’re here and in your face. It’s in your face so we love doing it.”
“Again just a great ballad, up there with Simple Man. Fans love it, and we can hear a little bit of harmonica on that one and sometimes the fans sing louder on that one than when I’m singing at all. That’s one thing about Skynyrd, I’m kind of like the head cheerleader and we love for the crowd to get into it. I can understand people sitting and listening to the music, but for Skynyrd it’s, ok let’s take your worries away for a couple hours and let’s have fun. “
“Red, White and Blue”
“Well that’s one that was off an album called Vicious Cycle. We’re big supporters of our troops and we’ve always felt that’s a Skynyrd crowd; we always go back to our fans, we write about our fans and we love our fans. We’ve been blessed to have fans with us for years and years and years for multi-generations now and we’re supporters of our troops and our families. That song is basically written about our fans.”
“Gimme Three Steps”
“That’s our time to turn it up not to 10 but 11 and try to go out the night at 11. That’s also just a fun, boogie, sing-along song that we’ve done forever, we’re going to be doing it this coming year and it’s just an all around good song, good party song.”
“Call Me The Breeze”
“’Call Me The Breeze’ is an old J.J. Cale song that the band recorded years and years ago. Again it just keeps up – we go from “Three Steps” to “The Breeze” and the crowd just loves it and so do we. By that time in the set we’re ready to go to “Alabama” and “Freebird” you know? So it really pumps us up, not only the crowd but it pumps us up too. “
“Sweet Home Alabama”
“I think “Sweet Home” is something that, we’ve been the ambassadors of Alabama for years --they should give us the state award for spreading the word [laughs] but that song is just a timeless song. And you had Kid Rock last year with “All Summer Long” which used part of it and numerous movies and what can you say about it really except for that it’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’?”
“Well that is a timeless song, that and “Stairway to Heaven”. For years Skynyrd has always closed the show with that song and the song has different meanings for different people. Somebody was telling me, it’s graduation time right now, this kid was telling me that they used it for their graduation song and not too long ago somebody told me that they used it at a funeral. And really it’s a love song, its one of the few that Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ever had. It’s about a guy and a girl. Of course at the end it was dedicated to Duane Allman from the band Allman Brothers because it goes into the guitar part. That one there if you can get through that one you’ve had a good night at a Skynyrd show.”
Lynyrd Skynyrd was honored this week by the U.S. Congress by Florida Congressman Connie Mack, and Alabama Congressman Spencer Bachus along with recognizing the achievements of the band during a reception at the U.S. Capitol.
The congressional honor for the group, who are performing in Birmingham tonight, came during a visit to Washington including stops at both the Capitol and the White House.
"The Lynyrd Skynyrd band is a true voice of the South and a legend in the music world. "Sweet Home Alabama" is one of the best advertisements for my state and we now even proudly display the words on our license plates. We deeply appreciate the fact that the band does a lot to entertain our troops and support military families. They bring enjoyment to their many fans and it's a pleasure to welcome them to our nation's capital," said Bachus, who is dean of the Alabama House delegation.
After a hosted tour of the Capitol by Bachus' staff, Representatives Bachus and Mack presented a Congressional Record tribute to the band members, including Johnny Van Zant, Gary Rossington, and Rickey Medlocke, recognizing the band's career and successes.
The Congressional Record tribute follows.
RECOGNITION OF THE MUSICAL ACHIEVEMENTS OF LYNYRD SKYNYRD BY CONGRESSMEN SPENCER BACHUS AND CONNIE MACK
In the music world, it is challenging enough for a band to record one hit song, much less become a voice for an entire region and a true icon. That is why Congressman Connie Mack and I are pleased to jointly recognize the accomplishments and patriotic spirit of the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd.
From humble beginnings, Lynyrd Skynyrd has become one of the most revered and accomplished bands in the history of music, having sold nearly 30 million records worldwide in the last four decades. Through their live performances and the music and songs still played on radio stations around the world every day, the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd have established themselves as timeless artists who transcend any one musical era or generation.
As validated by their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, Lynyrd Skynyrd has had a seminal impact on the development of rock and country music and a profound influence on the career development of many artists who followed in their creative footsteps.
Through their collective voices, the band has become a beacon for regional identity and pride in the American South. This is perhaps best epitomized by the song "Sweet Home Alabama," an anthem so universally identified with the state of Alabama that it is the official motto displayed on license plates.
Since their start in Jacksonville, Florida in the late 1960s, Lynyrd Skynyrd has been a spokesman for the everyday working man and woman, the friends and neighbors of their formative years. Their ability to capture a unique part of the American spirit has given their music emotional meaning to many fans and built a legacy that continues to grow year after year.
Amid triumph and loss, these sons of the south have evolved from band to close-knit family. A tragic airplane crash in 1977 claimed original members Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, and lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, but Ronnie's brother Johnny carried on the tradition as the new vocalist. Devoted fans also remember and cherish the contributions of Allen Collins, Leon Wilkeson, Billy Powell, and Ean Evans. Today, led by core members Johnny Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Rickey Medlock, and Michael Cartellone, Lynyrd Skynyrd continues to share an unbreakable bond with the fans they count as family as well.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has been a generous supporter of our men and women in the armed forces for many years. The band has long understood that our military personnel bravely and unselfishly stand guard over our everyday security and freedom. They have enthusiastically raised money for military families and played countless shows for our service members in uniform. Their song "Red, White, and Blue" was written as a tribute to the men and women who serve in the defense of freedom.
As representatives of timeless American values and champions of working class heroes, Lynyrd Skynyrd continues to entertain and inspire millions of fans across the world. Along with Congressman Mack, I find it highly appropriate that the people's House takes time to recognize this classic band for lasting contributions not just to the world of music, but to American popular culture as a whole.
Hey there Skynyrd Nation! Have you heard about the new Skynyrd tribute album coming out next month? Sweet Home Alabama -- The Country Music Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd is a collection of classic Skynyrd songs covered by country artists.
Johnny Van Zant was quoted talking about the tribute in a recent interview with Billboard.com saying, "It's all these young country bucks doing Skynyrd songs, which is pretty cool to us…It gives me great pleasure, because they're doing older stuff...my brother wrote while he was still alive. People still love that stuff. They did what he did. He was a poet for the common people, and it's always great when other people are interested enough to re-do the songs."
The tracks on the tribute include:
"The Ballad Of Curtis Loew" - Eric Church
"Simple Man" - Randy Houser
"All I Can Do Is Write About It" - Uncle Kracker
"Call Me The Breeze" - Shooter Jennings
"Four Walls Of Raiford" - Jamey Johnson
"Tuesday's Gone" - Randy Montana
"Gimme Three Steps" - the Eli Young Band
"Sweet Home Alabama" - Ashley Ray
The album will be available exclusively at Walmart on July 20.
How about you, Skynyrd Fans? What would be your ideal Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute album, what songs would you want and what artists or bands would perform them?
Please share your dream tribute album in the comments below. We're excited to see what some of you post!
In celebration of the band's upcoming Live From Freedom Hall CD/DVD (out June 22nd), we've got a sneak peak of one of Lynyrd Skynyrd's most classic staples in their live show repertoire: "Gimme Three Steps."
Listen to it below and be sure to pick up your copy of the feel-good album next Tuesday, June 22nd !
Live Nation announced “No Service Fee June” with the elimination of service fees for the entire month of June.
“A fan in every seat is our mission this summer,” said Michael Rapino, President and CEO of Live Nation. “We know that’s tough in this economy, so it’s our job to find a way to make concerts more affordable. Starting June 1, Live Nation will offer live music fans the experience of seeing their favorite bands with no service fees on tickets at LiveNation.com.”
6/10 - West palm http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420220
6/17 – Pelham, Birmingham http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420207
6/18 – Raleigh, NC http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420208
6/19 – Charlotte, NC http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420210
6/20 – Virginia Beach, VA http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420210
6/25 – Tinley Park, IL http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420212
6/26 – Maryland Heights, MO http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420214
6/27 – Indianapolis, IN http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420214
7/2 – Holmdel, NJ http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420216
7/3 – Darien Center, NY http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420217
7/8 – Cuyahoga Falls, OH http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420113
7/9 – Bristow, VA http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420218
7/10 – Hartford, CT http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420218
7/11 – Pittsburgh, PA http://www.livenation.com/edp/eventId/420220
We hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend.
Prez. Rusty was the first to answer all three questions correctly! Congratulations for winning the Skynyrd Nation trivia contest, Prez.
Here are the answers to his questions:
Question #1: What is the name of the patriotic song Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded where they pay tribute to those who "serve this great country"?
Answer: Red White and Blue
Question #2: What year was this song released?
Question #3: What are you doing for Memorial Day weekend?
Answer: Marching in the parade with other Nam vets and Raising High my Viet Nam Vet flag for my brother who I lost over there.
Stay tuned for more Lynyrd Skynyrd updates and contests coming soon!