Lynyrd Skynyrd interview with Rickey Medlocke: "There is no Lynyrd Skynyrd without Gary, Johnny and myself"

02/07/2012 @ 13:52
I met Rickey Medlocke minutes before Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first ever show in Greece. With the clock ticking we talked about the Skynyrd legacy, the fans, the label 'Southern rock' and the new album, "Last of a Dying Breed".

It is nice to meet you Rickey. Welcome to Greece.
Thank you very much. I was looking forward to it for a long time. It’s been 30 years since I visited your country and I was always telling the guys 'We must visit Greece'. (Looking at my t-shirt) Stax records, Warren Haynes Band! I know Warren very well and he is a very good friend of me.

I know that you are going to jam together very soon...
As a matter of fact we are going to do a couple of shows with the Allman Brothers and it will be great to see Warren and the guys again. We‘ve been friends for a long time.

Lynyrd Skynyrd - God & GunsMy first question is about your last effort "God & Guns". It reached #18 at the Billboard charts and was well received from the critics and the fans. It was an album that featured a modern sound for the band.
Well, I think that Bob Marlette who produced it did a great job. I think that sonically it sounded up to date. The drum sound was great, guitars too. Johnny’s vocals were great too. We surely enjoyed doing it.

In August you will release a new album called "Last Of A Dying Breed". Is it going to follow "God & Guns" steps?
This time we had a different mindset. We actually went back and did it old school. We got in the studio all together at one time and recorded it live. We sure got back and fixed the mistakes but we did it old school and it was great fun. It’s got great songs in it and people will be able to get some really heavy rock songs, good ballads and good blues stuff.

Will it feature the same modern touch?
The drums are not so big and that makes the guitars sound better. We went for heavier guitars this time, the Skynyrd trademark you know. We are looking forward to coming out and continue the tour again. Maybe we come again. I always wanted to visit Greece.

Harley Davidson Club Hellas accompanied you from the airport to your hotel. How did you feel seeing something so American in a European country?
When you get people that love you that much, love the band that much it is a real honor to have that happened.

It’s an amazing thing that you have fans from all over the world. From Europe to South America...
Actually we did a big festival in Sao Paolo, more than 80000 people and they knew every word of the songs. It was amazing you know. For us it’s always pleasure going to faraway places and see people that love the band so much. But this band has been around for a long time...

Rickey Medlocke (Lynyrd Skynyrd)Does it have something to do with the lyrics that can relate to people from different countries and generations?
I think that our music is for the common people. I think we’ve been always a band for the working class. We now have three generations deep of fans, anywhere from 15 to 65. They understand us, we understand them. They relate to us, we relate to them. It is what it is. And it’s great.

Who were the artists that defined Southern rock sound?
Southern rock was something that record companies put a label on. I think that we just played rock and roll the way we liked it and formulated a sound. We‘ve been fans of the European rock bands, the big bands from over there and we always felt Southerners in a way. So, when bands like The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot and so on had success first thing the record labels wanted was to call it Southern rock. I always felt that we were bands from the south that we played what we played. It was cool though. It followed us around our whole life you know. I don’t mind it. It is what it is.

I always felt that Southern rock in the 70s helped changing the way people out of the south thought about the Southerners.
People used to put labels on us like we were rednecks and all that and there was prejudice but it’s not what it was really about.

How did you see bands like Black Crowes and Kings Of Leon that used the label Southern rock in the 90s and 00s adding their own spin? Do you relate to them?
They did their own thing. I listen to a lot of different music. We met Kings Of Leon when they first came to Nashville. Our manager was their manager. To be honest I’m not sure ...I listen to their music and it is changed over the years. I think they are ok and I can relate to a certain point. There are other great young bands out there like Black Stone Cherry and Blackberry Smoke.

Rickey Medlocke (Lynyrd Skynyrd)Is the name 'Lynyrd Skynyrd' bigger than the actual band members? Is it possible that in the future there will be other people carrying the torch?
No. First of all I think that the core of the band is Gary, Johnny and myself. I think that at some point if something happens and you do not have this core in the band it wouldn’t be Lynyrd Skynyrd. So, we look forward to put a new record and play shows and travel the world. We don’t foresee any bad happen and we got to keep on playing for as long as the fans want it.

We sure want it forever!
Thank you my friend. It’s time to get ready.

Thank you very much