How does it feel to be responsible for absolute classic songs that will live forever in an age of constantly disposable music?
Personally, it makes me feel very blessed and very fortunate. Not only have I played in an all-time incredibly successful band like Lynyrd Skynyrd, I was fortunate to be in two bands that had success and that’s very rare. I look at it as all-time classic tunes and favorite songs and just go ‘Wow .’ You think about where you started at as a kid and then as a teenager, you’re playing an instrument, you’re in garage bands, next thing you know you got the right combination, it’s just magic, it’s fate and it’s destiny.
The next thing you know, you’re writing songs people know, you get them on record, and the next thing you know, it’s a hit. The process just blows my mind when I think about it. I think about where I came from, and how I got here, it’s almost surreal. I also think about all the people I met along the way and how many millions of miles I’ve traveled in my life and I just go ‘Dang.’
One of my favorite things to do every night that we play, I make sure that as we’re playing ‘Freebird,’ I make sure I look up and look around the arena and take it all in because no one ever knows. I want to go out on that memory. Standing on stage at that moment in front of that many people with that much energy coming at you, excuse my expression, it’s damn near equal to sex. It’s very euphoric and your senses are so alive. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve experienced and I’m very thankful for still being able to do that.
So now for the fun question, anytime anyone goes to a rock show, there’s always someone who yells ‘Freebird.’ Why do people do that? What’s the origin of it?
What’s so funny to me is that I don’t know how that started or where it started. It could have started in Germany for all I know. I’ve been in lounges and clubs before where no one knew I was there. Then there would be a band playing and someone in the crowd would yell ‘Freebird.’ I would crack up laughing listening to the band’s response.
I can recall one time, I was at a lounge at the hotel listening to a band, and somebody did it. And the guy on stage goes ‘You know what, we’re not gonna play ‘Freebird’ because we can’t stand the song anymore.’ So after a while I was sitting there, our waitress came over and saw one of the guys I was with wearing a Skynyrd jacket and she goes, ‘Are you guys staying here?’ and she goes, ‘Oh my God.’ So all of a sudden it got around the club and then it got to the band that some of the members of Skynyrd were in the audience and they said ‘I didn’t mean to say what I did man,’ and I didn’t care, really. It was funny.
Lynyrd Skynyrd will be playing at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ, on Aug. 30. For more info, visit lynyrdskynyrd.com