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“It’s all about the music” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Rickey Medlocke on band’s decision to continue without any original members

“God bless Gary for getting me back into this, and I promised him that I would stay in this band till the final note in ‘Free Bird’ was struck. And here I am — I’m still here.”

Rickey Medlocke and Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd performing

Image: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

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Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Rickey Medlocke has shed light on the band’s decision to carry on following the death of their last original member, Gary Rossington, this March.

In a new interview with FOX17 Rock & Review, Medlocke explains that the decision was made alongside the late band members’ estates and relatives, after hearing the cries of fans who don’t want things to come to an end.

“Last year and the year before, when we had that year and a half off because of COVID, was just brutal on us, as it was [on] everybody else,” says Medlocke [via Blabbermouth]. “I mean, I really feel for people, man, having to just kind of like, ‘What are we doing?’ But when we came back after a year and a half, man, it opened up after things started opening, we got right back into it.”

“Gary, on the other hand, found himself in a situation — bless his heart, man — to where he couldn’t go out anymore, and we just lost him this year. And that really broke my heart. And I don’t think that I’ve quite — still right now, after all this time, I don’t think I’ve quite settled with it, because we were such really good friends ever since we were teenagers.”

He adds that being on stage with Rossington every night on Lynyrd Skynyrd tours “is just something you’ll miss the rest of your life.”

“But you know what? This year we picked our bootstraps up and we got back into it,” Medlocke continues. “[Frontman] Johnny [Van Zant] and I decided, ‘Hey…’ The outcry of the fans were such that they said, ‘Please don’t let this be the end of it.’ And so we decided, along with the former bandmembers’ estates and relatives, that we were gonna go back out and take the great music to the fans.”

“Because, honestly, the songs is what makes it all happen for Lynyrd Skynyrd. It’s all about the music,” says the rocker. “Those are such iconic and great songs, and I feel very honoured and very proud that I’ve been able to be there and play those songs all this time. And God bless Gary for getting me back into this, and I promised him that I would stay in this band till the final note in Free Bird was struck.”

“And here I am — I’m still here.”

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