Talking to Rolling Stone magazine, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s guitarist Gary Rossington said that the current formation of the band is actually a tribute to the original.
The magazine featured an article about bands whose original members are not in the lineup, and Skynyrd was one of them, with Rossington being the only original member since the band started its career. However, die-hards will say that Rickey Medlocke, who now plays guitar, was the band’s second drummer and backing vocalist, back in the early ‘70s…
“It’s a tribute band right now, and everybody knows it’s not the original,” he says of their gigs, which include video footage honoring Ronnie Van Zant. “Everybody who comes to see us is told that during the show, and probably knows before they even get there. But people still come to hear it live. In a couple of years it’s supposed to possibly stop, and maybe it won’t. I just don’t know, because who can predict the future? We’ll decide then what’s really going to happen.”
The iconic guitarist had to skip a few shows of the band, or play half of them a few months ago, due to health problems. Having Damon Johnson stepping in created…“a lot of different emotions. The notes are the same, and the songs are the same. It sounds good to me. It sounds like our band.” Still, he adds of that show, “I look out and don’t see the original band — it’s strange. And then I look out and see a replacement for me, which is strange. Just hearing the songs without me playing on ’em live is very strange.” He chuckles wryly. “So there’s 101 strange things happening. But to see the younger people enjoying it makes your heart warm.”
So, would he still be playing the Skynyrd classics in the near future? As long as he’s in good shape why not? “I can still play,” he says. “It’s just the travel and getting to planes and hotels. It’s so hard on me, especially when you got heart trouble”, he said.