Kevin Statham via The Georgia Straight
Gary Rossington has been with Lynyrd Skynyrd since day one. Out of everyone in the band’s current lineup, Gary is the only surviving founding member. As a result, Gary has been given the opportunity to watch the band grow, reunite, and continue to grow again.
Along with Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Bob Burns, and Larry Junstrom, Gary helped form the first version of the band that would go on to become known as Lynyrd Skynyrd. After experiencing years of success as the kings of Southern rock, Skynyrd’s world was shattered when a plane crash claimed the lives of guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, and Ronnie.
Gary was severely injured in the crash, and broke both of his arms, wrists, legs, ankles, and his pelvis. Despite his injuries, Gary made a full recovery, and came back to join the band when they reunited in 1987.
At the age of 64, Gary is the one person in the band who is left to carry its entire story. Although Skynyrd’s history is filled with one of the most impressive catalogs in all of music, Gary shared with Guitar World that he has never enjoyed playing with Skynyrd more than he does right now:
“Back in the day, it was hard to appreciate it sometimes. We were young and crazy and not really keeping up with what was going on. We were too busy just doing it. Now I’m more laid-back and a little older and more experienced, and I’m kinda digging it. I feel like I have more time to enjoy everything.”
As for what he enjoys playing most, old or new material, Gary isn’t picky. He shared that Skynyrd always loves to play their classic hits, but that they try to change up the pace by throwing in some newer songs every now and then.
“We try to change a song or two every tour to keep things fresh,” he said. “And we like to add in as many of the newer ones as we can just for a change of pace. The crowds seem to like it, too.“
According to the videos from Skynyrd’s performances, past and present, it seems that what Gary said is correct. You can check out one of their show-stopping performances of one of their more recent tunes, “Last of a Dyin’ Breed,” in the clip below.
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