Lynyrd Skynyrd: What’s up?

For those who remember, after the plane crash that killed Lynyrd Skynyrd members, Steve Gains, Cassie Gains and Ronnie Van Zant, Lynyrd Skynyrd was put to rest by the remaining members. This was, in no small part, due to Judy Van Zant, the widow of Ronnie, having Gary Rossington, Leon Wilkeson, Allen Collins, Billy Powell and Artimus Pyle sign a legal agreement. In 1987, however, all remaining members joined with Ronnie and Donnie Van Zant’s younger brother, Johnny, to do the Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Tour. This wasn’t meant to be a reunion tour, or a re-launch of the band. It was simply meant to pay tribute to Ronnie, Steve and Cassie. Afterwards, however, the band was sued by Judy Van Zant for continuing to use the name. It was then that the infamous “Rule of 3” was introduced. This was an agreement between Judy Van Zant and the remaining Skynyrd band members, saying that they could continue to record and tour under the Lynyrd Skynyrd name, as long as three original members were in the band. But, wait…isn’t Gary Rossington the only original member left? And, wait…before now, weren’t Gary and Billy the only two? Yes and yes. According to a VH1 documentary called “Uncivil War,” Judy makes 6 figures every year the band’s on tour. This might explain the sudden change of heart. So now, Lynyrd Skynyrd can go on, even after Gary Rossington passes away. That’s scary to think about. Rickey Medlocke has been credited as being an original member, since he played drums for the band in their early days, however, he played on one record that was only released shortly after the plane crash, but it had been recorded in the very early days of the band. Rickey, meanwhile, had been recording and touring with Blackfoot. So, should Rickey count as an original member? No, and I’ll tell you why. To my knowledge, Rickey Medlocke was not one of the members that signed any of the legal documents with Judy Van Zant. Because of this, according to the document saying that “Three of these members have to be in the band,” Rickey Medlocke doesn’t count. I love Rickey’s music! He’s a great singer and guitar player, but he wasn’t one of the members that played a key role in any of the legal decisions. Frankly, I’d like to see him reform Blackfoot, instead of having four young guys out there using the name. But, that’s another rant entirely.

Lynyrd Skynyrd documentary – Uncivil War from VH1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFIkQjDtwOw
From the 1987 Tribute Tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBwqtmdxqzI
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