Long considered the "wild man" of LYNYRD SKYNYRD, Artimus Pyle's powerful and distinctive double bass drumming helped define the legendary SKYNYRD sound. Artimus got his first real break at the Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam. His first recording lists — Artimus Pyle, percussion. Then with other work for the MARSHALL TUCKER BAND, Artimus became known as a powerful session drummer.
Using his connections with Charlie Daniels and Marshall Tucker, both acts that often toured with SKYNYRD, Artimus met with Ronnie Van Zant and Ed King at Studio One in Doraville, Georgia. The results of that meeting — "Saturday Night Special" — greatly impressed Ronnie. Artimus's live debut with the band took place in Jacksonville's Sgt Pepper's Club in October 1974. He would replace their original drummer (Bob Burns) following the release of the group's second album, "Second Helping", and performed with the band and on SKYNYRD's following four albums, "Nuthin' Fancy", "Gimme Back My Bullets", "Street Survivors" and their live album, "One More For The Road". Pyle was injured but survived the band's 1977 horrific plane crash that abruptly ended the lives of six people, including band members Steve and Cassie Gaines, and most notably, frontman and musical visionary Ronnie Van Zant.
Now 45 years later, Artimus Pyle prepares for the release of his forthcoming Get Joe Records studio album honoring the music that propelled him into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. The album, which boasts 13 tracks, will be released and distributed by BFD/Orchard on February 2, 2024 — with a track to be released digitally on October 20, the day that coincides with the 46th anniversary of the tragic plane crash that made music history. Music enthusiasts can pre-order the physical CD at ArtimusPyle.com.
"This project has been a year in the making, but when the fans hear it they will understand why it took so long," says Len Snow, Get Joe Records president. "Artimus is legendary within the Southern Rock space. The music that LYNYRD SKYNYRD made will always live as a part of rock history. This album honors that music and gives Artimus a way to honor his former bandmates."
"Anthems - Honoring The Music Of Lynyrd Skynyrd" track listing:
01. I Know A Little - Micheal Ray
02. Sweet Home Alabama - Ronnie Dunn
03. Simple Man - Sammy Hagar
04. Needle And The Spoon - Lindsey Ell
05. The Ballad Of Curtis Loew - Chris Janson
06. Workin' For MCA - Lee Brice
07. That Smell - Jerrod Niemann
08. Gimme Three Steps - Marty Raybon
09. Call Me The Breeze - Billy Ray Cyrus
10. Saturday Night Special - Warren Haynes
11. The Hunt - Artimus Pyle Band
12. What's Your Name - LOCASH
13. Freebird - Dolly Parton
In 1979, LYNYRD SKYNYRD began to reunite, first for the fifth annual Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam, and eventually, as the ROSSINGTON COLLINS BAND (which included all the remaining band members and Pyle, plus Dale Krantz on lead vocals and Barry Lee Harwood on guitar). However, shortly after that, Pyle was in a car accident that broke his leg in 21 places and shattered his hopes of remaining with the group. Pyle spent the next three years healing, both physically and emotionally, before returning to the States and establishing the ARTIMUS PYLE BAND (A.P.B.) to honor the music and legacy of Ronnie Van Zant.
In 1987, Pyle rejoined his former bandmates to tour and eventually record as LYNYRD SKYNYRD 1991, but the experience left him flat. While he deeply loved them, he no longer felt the magic he once did with Van Zant at the helm, nor was he interested in returning to the party lifestyle for which the band was known and stepped away from the group permanently, only to return in 2006 during LYNYRD SKYNYRD's induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (where he played alongside Bob Burns).
Now in his 70s, Pyle still continues to honor Van Zant's musical legacy, recording and touring with the ARTIMUS PYLE BAND, now comprised of Pyle (drums),Scott Raines (guitar/vocals),Jerry Lyda (guitar) Brad Durden (keyboards/vocals) and Dave Fowler (bass).
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Westby / 2911 Media