How did he approach you about doing the song?
I know when you do these ‘match-ups,’ which this song is, ‘Werewolves Of London’ and ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’ he had talked to management about it. I got to hear it last year and after he recorded it, that was Billy Powell, our keyboard player playing at the end of it. Basically you have to go through much consideration, for the band is a phenomenal thing, the right channels to be able the do that with somebody’s song, and you gotta do all the legalities. We have some upcoming television stuff that we’re going to do ‘Alabama’ and his tune along with him. It works out so well in so many different ways, that it is just a perfect joint venture.
What’s been most challenging for Skynyrd to remain relevant today?
I think you just gotta be yourself and remain what you are. It’s a little bit too late for Skynyrd to be anything else. We’ve been stapled as such a big classic rock band of all time. I think that what we do, the key secret to longevity, is creating new music. Our last record was out five or six years ago, which we should have been back in the studio three or four years ago. But everything takes place in its own time, and now we’re back, and probably are gonna have new material out next year. You get your material out there, you let everybody know it’s out there, and what’s cool about nowadays with classic bands, and there are a lot of other channels to go to other than just a record company and a radio station.
There’s a lot of media, a lot of outlets. Who would have ever though WalMart is one of the biggest record distributors in the world. Who would have ever though that Warner Brothers, who closed their doors, are now a management company. The Internet has taken over maybe what some record companies could have done. Being in the record business for as long as I’ve been in it, I look at it and think there are a lot of things record companies could have married into to have made it better for themselves and the artists.
It used to be when you got signed to a record company you were excited about it because you ended up putting out a record and it was a joint venture between both parties, as building the band and record company’s career. Then it became let’s just build the record company’s career. And when the band quits having hits, we’ll shove them out and we’ll get somebody else. And that’s a sad thing.
Nowadays, there are so many different outlets for bands such as ourselves to be able to go to sell new product and be able to have some success in records. It’s not about selling CDs and downloads it really is all about promoting tickets and merchandising. Record sales have fallen off to nothing. But if you got a video that’s promoting a song that’s a hit and you got it on iTunes and selling in Walmart, that puts people in the arenas and gets people buy the merchandise. And that’s what it’s about. And it’s about the fans that buy the music, it’s not about the band.
If you ever lose sight of the music, you might as well hang it up. For any artist, Kid Rock, or whomever, if they don’t have the music, they really have nothing. Music is what gives you everything. Then it’s about the fans who love the music enough to come out and see you live.