As the last remaining original member of LYNYRD SKYNYRD, Gary Rossington knows all to well about the mortality of rock ‘n’ roll, as well as life itself – with the band’s new album title being a tip of the hat to the aforementioned subject matter. Gary spoke to Classic Rock Revisited about the new album, forming the band way back when and much more – see below for some extracts from the interview:
Do you ever pinch yourself and say, “How in the hell is Lynyrd Skynyrd still going in 2012?”
Gary: Everyday I wonder that. I thank God that we are so blessed and able to do this. We are still talking about the songs and we are still playing them for our fans. It really is a dream come true.
Back when we started the band, with Ronnie, Allen and I, our dream was to make it big in a band like the Rolling Stones. We wanted to write our own songs and be huge, and we did it. It got taken away so fast, and tragically, but the music lives on through all of it. We just love playing the music and being a part of it.
The song “Last of a Dyin’ Breed” has some of the best Skynyrd slide guitar I have ever heard.
Gary: Thank you. That song is really about Southern bands, as we really are the last of a dying breed. Music, nowadays, is all about solo singers, or Hip Hop, or having dancers on the stage. Pop music, like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga is what is mainstream.
Old bands like us, and other bands from the ‘70’s, are a dying breed, and we are fading away. All that is left are the Allmans, us, and a few different bands, here and there. It is just what it is.
When we were writing that song, we had about 100 different names for it. I just thought of that line, as a last resort, and it ended up really fitting the band and what we’re doing now.
People ask me all the time if musicians get tired of playing the same songs every night, like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird.” Do you?
Gary: We don’t have to rehearse a lot anymore because we know the songs so well, so that helps, but there is a lot more to it than that.
We just love to look at the audience when we play those songs. It all comes back to us through them and their feelings and emotions. Song like “Simple Man” and “Free Bird” are great to play live and we see girls, and even guys, crying sometimes.
It reminds them of old times, when they were younger. We really are a soundtrack of their lives. A lot of emotion comes out and we have people write to us all the time and they tell us how much our music means to them.
In this lifetime, it has been really great to be able to touch people’s emotions. When you see that onstage, it is such a big kick. We also do it for the guys who are not here anymore. Everything matters and we take playing live seriously.
Do you get emotional yourself? Do you really feel the spirit of the guys when you play?
Gary: It has always been that way for me. I am sure Johnny feels it because he was related to Ronnie. Some of the newer guys were not around then and they don’t know how it was. I feel it really deeply. I know they would have wanted us to go on and do what we are doing. Our thing was all about playing the music and letting people know about this band that we started. We made it and I want everyone to still know about it, as it is really a great thing.
The Roadrunner physical release of ‘Last of A Dyin’ Breed’ is out TODAY and you can pick up a copy by clicking here. In case you need convincing of it’s awesomeness, check out some reviews of the album below:
This isn’t surprising – how many classic bands have recorded their best material 30-plus years on from their heyday? But, from the opening slide-guitar sizzle of the title track onwards, 13th studio album Last Of A Dyin’ Breed is Lynyrd Skynyrd as you want them to be: swaggering, soulful, anthemic and definitively Southern. For a touring band of this vintage, a new album is often essentially fuel for live performances. While this offering fills that role perfectly, it’s also an excellent album that can hold its own against their classic work. – Record Collector
From the balls out traditional boogie of the title track (and lead single) to the laconic dustbowl slide blues of ‘Start Livin’ Life Again’, via the melancholic philosophy of ‘One Day At A Time’, the Delta-soaked stomp of ‘Mississippi Blood’, the winding retrospective smokiness of ‘Something To Live For’, the bittersweet driving melody of ‘Life’s Twisted’, the huge anthemic swamp groove of ‘Nothing Comes Easy’ and the powerhouse ‘Honey Hole’ this album is a true exemplar of a classic band at the height of their powers.
If we could give this 20/10 believe me we would, but we’ll have to settle for 10/10. – Planet Mosh
And the songs themselves stand up as a damn fine collection that ranges from the slide guitar boogie of the title track through the thumping hard rock of ‘Homegrown’, one of a couple of songs about those southern belles, and onto the southern fried ballad ‘Start Livin’ Life Again’, with all bases covered in between. ‘One Day at a Time’ struts along on a classic 70s Skynyrd vibe with Johnny Van Zant’s vocal hook of ‘Smell the roses, taste the wine’ proving particularly memorable, and the same can be said of the choruses for most of the songs here. Piano-led ballad ‘Ready to Fly’ – a heartfelt tribute to those who have been lost along the way – exemplifies the anthemic quality that permeates the album with a chorus ready-made for those arena gigs. – ThisIsNotAScene
Order Lynyrd Skynyrd’s upcoming album below: