Guitarist, Gary Rossington, the solitary founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd says he is overwhelmed and ‘profoundly moved’ by the release of ‘God & Guns’, the Southern rock icon’s first set of new material in six years. Speaking to Billboard.com he said, “I didn’t mean to be the last original or the last one, but here it is. It’s very heavy. I’m just extra lucky to still be here … so I feel a responsibility to carry on the Skynyrd name and let people hear our music, newcomers and old, as long as they want to hear it.”
A plane crash in 1977 killed the band’s singer Ronnie Van Zant and Guitarist Steve Gaines. The group did get back together, however guitarist, Allen Collins died in 1990 and drummer, Artemis Pyle, was thrown out. Other surviving band members from the original line-up include ex-bandmates Ed King and Bob Burns.
The band has lost four members this decade. Bassist Leon Wilkeson died from emphysema and liver disease in 2001 and his replacement, Ean Evans, died of cancer in May. Guitarist Hughie Thomasson suffered a fatal heart attack in 2007 and keyboardist Billy Powell passed away in January from a suspected coronary arrest.
The release of ‘God & Guns’ was celebrated with a show at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on the 1st of October and then goes onto five weeks of US dates on October 15 in Toledo. Rossington also indicated that Skynyrd might play more dates with Kid Rock in 2010.