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Although Lynyrd Skynyrd was, and still is, one of the biggest names in music, its members are incredibly down to earth. They have always celebrated common life and everyday people. One band member who fully embraced the “simple” life was late lead singer Ronnie Van Zant.
When he wasn’t entertaining crowds of thousands in venues around the world, Ronnie loved to head back home to Florida to enjoy some downtime. That time usually involved going out fishin’, one of Ronnie’s favorite pastimes.
Record producer Tom Dowd, who produced three of Skynyrd’s studio albums (Gimme Back My Bullets, Street Survivors, and Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991), once went fishin’ with Ronnie, and it was quite the adventure. Tom talked about it during an interview, saying that when dinner wasn’t ready one night Ronnie decided the two of them should go fishin’.
From there, the story takes a hysterical turn:
“Ronnie had two chihuahuas, his pet dogs. We grabbed two rods and he grabbed a billy…a sawed-off baseball bat. He’s got a dog under each arm, the billy on his wrist, and I’m carryin’ the fishin’ rods. And we’re goin’ down toward the water, and I’m thinkin’, ‘What are we doin’? This is insane.’ And he puts the dogs down and he’s lookin’ along the water’s edge. And I said ‘What’s the matter?’ And he says, ‘Damn gators think my dogs’ dinner and that’s why I got the billy, I’ll thump ’em on the nose!'”
Tom had a good laugh recalling the memory of Ronnie, saying that’s exactly what he was like. You can watch the rest of his interview in the clip below.
We also can’t help put laugh at the thought of Ronnie preparing to whack a bunch of gators on the head!