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Lynyrd Skynyrd, ‘Last of a Dyin’ Breed': Band Soliders on With New Album

Denise Truscello, WireImage

The tale of Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of survival. The band, which has presented itself in numerous incarnations, has a new album out, Last of a Dyin’ Breed, that celebrates its unwavering spirit.

“The title alone says it for us,” lead singer Johnny Van Zant tells Spinner. “There are very few bands that started back in the ’70s with the Southern Rock movement that are still out doin’ dates, and one of ’em’s Lynyrd Skynyrd. And then the Allmans. My brother’s [Donnie Van Zant] band, 38 Special‘s out and still rocking.”

That being said, these Southern rockers haven’t exactly had the odds stacked in their favor. The band had its most horrific set back on Oct. 20, 1977, when members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines and assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick were killed when their plane crashed outside of Gillsburg, Miss. Guitarist Gary Rossington is the only remaining original member of the iconic band.

“I count my blessings every day that I’m still here to do it,” Gary admits. “And we love to talk about the guys that aren’t here anymore, the ones that are up in heaven … I think Ronnie and Allen [Collins] and the guys that aren’t here would be happy that we’re still talkin’ about it and playin’ it and that folks are still enjoying it. Sometimes we look out [during] certain songs like ‘Tuesday’s Gone’ or ‘Free Bird,’ you can see people cryin’ or laughin’ or singin’ along with the words. And it’s just real emotional. Some people say it’s like the soundtrack of their lives.”

For those fans who’ve stayed with Lynyrd Skynyrd all these years, they may be surprised by the sound of the latest album. “We wanted to make this a little more rock ‘n’ roll,” Gary explains. “[Our last album] God and Guns had more of a country feel. We like country but this one we rocked up a little more, like the old days. We went into the studio and cut it all sorta live. That’s the way we used to do it in the ’70s.”

Read the full Spinner interview with Lynyrd Skynyrd here.

Watch a Video About the History of Lynyrd Skynyrd

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