Live Interview: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Johnny Van Zant, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s lead singer for almost three decades, checks in to preview three UK shows from the enduring southern rock icons.

Last November, Skynyrd’s legacy was honoured at a show called One More For The Fans, at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, the venue at which the band’s 1976 double live album One More For The Road was recorded.

It was such an incredible evening with so many special guests… I was getting bored, man [laughs]. I wanted to get out there and play myself.

Gregg Allman, Charlie Daniels, Trace Adkins, Peter Frampton, Warren Haynes, Cheap Trick, John Hiatt and Blackberry Smoke. That’s a hell of a cast.

Those names, man. And to do it at the Fox Theatre made it all the more memorable.

When will we get to see the recordings?

We’re still working on that, but it’ll be this year.

A few days after this interview takes place, also in front of the cameras, Skynyrd perform their first two albums in their entirety on home turf in Jacksonville.

It’s happening over a couple of nights in a tiny theatre that holds around eighteen hundred fans – a very boutique kind of setting. It’ll be very cool and we can’t wait.

By contrast, will the forthcoming British shows Skynyrd are playing be more ‘greatest hits’-type affairs?

With Skynyrd, every night is greatest hits night. We would never come to see you guys and not play Sweet Home Alabama or Free Bird. That would be crazy. Any band would love to have those songs in their setlist, right?

**Skynyrd’s first six albums are being reissued on vinyl in a boxed set. In the downloads age, are you still fans of vinyl records? **

Hell yeah. That’s what I grew up on. And I’m so thrilled that it’s coming back. I love vinyl; putting a record on the turntable and hearing that noise [imitates the crackle]. Things nowadays are just too sharp, clean and neat.

**It’s been three years since Skynyrd released an album of new music, with Last Of A Dyin’ Breed. **

We’re been working on songs. Throwing out something new every once in a while helps to keep things fresh. But don’t expect anything till 2016.

The tour begins in Glasgow on April 21.

Skynyrd Stats

  • Since forming 41 years ago the band have sold more than 30 million records. * Guitarist Gary Rossington is their last remaining original member. * They were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2006.
Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.