Over the years, Lynyrd Skynyrd became well-known for their rough and wild personalities both on and off the stage. Like many rock groups, Skynyrd had a tendency to get a little crazy when it came to partying, something that lead singer Ronnie Van Zant came to regret as they became more successful.
In 1976, Ronnie started to realize it wasn’t a good idea to act up like he used to. He still liked having a good time, but he felt that there was no need for Skynyrd to take it to the extreme.
Ronnie discussed Skynyrd’s rough past with notable writer and director Cameron Crowe for an interview for the L.A. Times in 1976. During the interview, Ronnie told Cameron about one incident that served as his wake-up call that Skynyrd needed to change their ways:
“Our manager hit me with a bill the other day for $29,000 worth of damages. Some people work a long time for $29,000 and I tore up that much without even thinking about it. I can’t believe it…and it won’t happen again.”
After that incident, Skynyrd worked hard to polish up their personal lives, but Ronnie said they never thought about changing the way they portrayed themselves on stage. After all, as he told Cameron, all they ever wanted was to have a little fun.
“The whole idea of the group was decided in the very beginning,” Ronnie said. “We’ve stuck with it ever since…To have fun, what else?“
Skynyrd certainly stayed true to their goal to always have fun on stage, which is made clear in this performance below. Check it out!