RICKEY MEDLOCKE Defends Current LYNYRD SKYNYRD Lineup Over 'Tribute Band' Criticism: 'If You Can Do Better Than Me, Step Up'

May 10, 2024

In a new interview with Real Music With Gary Stuckey, LYNYRD SKYNYRD guitarist Rickey Medlocke spoke about the band's decision to go on following the death of Gary Rossington, the last original member left in the iconic southern rock group, in March 2023. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We hear a lot of, 'Oh, it's nothing but a tribute band.' Well, they even said that when Gary was still alive. But here's the way I look at it. You've got the original singer's youngest brother [Johnny Van Zant] that has been in there almost 37 years. You've got me. That's my second go-round with the band, and I was in the original group, the formidable group. And you had Gary, an original founding member. Well, to us, us three guys standing upfront, we were, like, 'No, no, no, no, no, no.'"

He continued: "A tribute band is a band of all strangers that love to play cover songs and decide one day they're gonna be a LYNYRD SKYNYRD tribute band. There's a ton of 'em on YouTube. When you come to see LYNYRD SKYNYRD, when you come to see us, it's full-on tilt original-sounding, as close as you could ever possibly get. So the people sitting there behind their little computer keyboards and talking shit, they can talk that shit all they want to. My word is if you can do better than me, step up. You know what I mean? Come on. Come on with it. Because Johnny and I right now promised GaryGary made us promise that we would never, ever let the integrity of the band and the music history of the band, never let it be forgotten. Just all of a sudden, he's gone, the band's gone, and you might hear it on radio every once in a while, or people get together for a barbecue and they play the music or whatever. We got so much corresponding comments, letters, notes, e-mail, text messages, and the one deciding factor was, 'Please, don't let this be the end of it.' Well, okay."

Medlocke added: "If you really stop to think about this, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards is the only original members in THE ROLLING STONES. I mean, Ron Wood's been there a long time, but Mick Jagger and Keith Richards is the original guys standing there. And they've got all different musicians playing with them now.

"So, look, it's what we do. We play music. This is what we do. And you know what? Nothing is better than standing on that stage looking at that audience and looking at their faces. They're happy. They have forgotten their troubles, their blues, they've forgotten about world crisis. They're in the moment and they're loving it."

Medlocke's latest comments echo those he made last summer in an interview with the MediaNews Group. At the time, he said about LYNYRD SKYNYRD's decision to carry on: "I've been here over 27 years now. I've been here to see quite a few members move on, pass away, and it doesn't get any easier. We had been at a crossroads several times about whether to go on or whatever and had always maintained that it wasn't about each individual or anything like that. It was about the music that was created by those guys — Ronnie [Van Zant, Johnny's older brother], Gary, Allen [Collins]. So we made the decision to carry on with the music because, bottom line, the music is what is important."

After four SKYNYRD members were killed in an October 1977 plane crash, Rossington recruited Johnny to fill his brother's shoes a decade later.

Medlocke, who played drums in SKYNYRD in 1970-71 before leaving to lead his own band BLACKFOOT and coming back to SKYNYRD in 1996, previously defended LYNYRD SKYNYRD's decision to continue, telling Cleveland.com in May 2023: "People have beat us up over the years: 'Ah, you guys ain't nothin' but a freakin' tribute band' and blah, blah, blah.

"There's a lot of tribute bands out there to LYNYRD SKYNYRD, but none of them holds it as dear to their hearts as the guys who have been there as long as we have," he explained. "We have the history; I played on the first (recording) sessions. We just know that we have to portray the music with the integrity and the sound and the love as close as we can to when it was originally created."

Rossington was the last surviving founding member of LYNYRD SKYNYRD. On March 5, 2023, his bandmates announced the news of his death in a statement shared on their social media.

The guitarist had previously dealt with various heart problems throughout the years, including emergency heart surgery in 2021.

Find more on Lynyrd skynyrd
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).