First of all, can we get news from Gary ? How about his health ?
He's doing great. I got him on the phone yesterday from Francfort, Germany.
He's recovering well, he started playing guitar. In fact, he feels 15
years younger (laughs).
Some people think your new album "Vicious Cycle" is somewhere between
"Twenty" and "Brother To Brother". Do you agree ?
"Brother To Brother" ! (laughs). I don't know but why not, I also love
this album. In fact, to me, it's a typical Lynyrd Skynyrd album and
you can find similarities with the other albums we've done.
A mix between a modern Lynyrd SKynyrd, pretty hard as your last one,
and some root songs ?
Yes, that's it. That was our main goal. We tried to mix the differents
aspects, the "old school" with a modern sound.
How did you write the songs ? Was it a band effort ?
Yes we all worked together. Someone found a riff, the other one had
lyrics or a melody. It was a step by step process. We went to the studio
to record tws or three songs, then we went back on the road, and back
in the studio again for news songs. Finally, we recorded 22 songs. We
put 16 of them on this new album, which is a lot of stuff, 70 minutes
Just as the Allman Brothers's one !
Oh really ? cool ! I didn't listen to it yet.
Let's go back to the songs. Some ones are perfect for partying, and
some other ones are more political.
Lynyrd SKynyrd always had this social or political aspect, since "Sweet
home Alabama". As a unique person, you can't change the politics but
you can speak about it. But we also like to party. Once again, we have
different topics in our songs, such as politics or mamas.
Aren't you afraid of being too much political ?
No, no ! As americans, we've got our freedom and it's also our freedom
Is there a patrticular song on this new album you love more than
the others ?
Not really, it's impossible to choose. You know I got four girls and
it's the same impossibility as if you asked me which one I prefer. We
only played live "the way" and "all funked up", so I really can't choose.
You're back on the road for a world tour. Aren't you tired ?
Right now, I'm a bot tired. It's my fifth day in Europe where I'm giving
interviews all day long so I'm a bit tired. But you know Skynyrd is
the road. Making albums is great but performing live in front of a public
is better. That's our lives, we won't stop.
For many fans, Leon Wilkeson was such a great character. How is it
now without him ?
First of all, we have a fantastic bass player, Ean Evans. He and Leon
were close friends. When Leon passed away, it was an other tragedy for
the band and we wrote a song as a tribute to him, "Mad hatter". Its'
kind of hard but you know, Ean being his friend is kind of more simple
Let's talk about the new version of "Gimme back my bullets". I like
it even if I prefer the original version. It seems many fans don't really
appreciate it. What do you think ?
That's right, it can be surprising but you know Kid Rock is a big fan
of Lynyrd SKynyrd and he's a great guy. We really love him. We saw him
quite a few times when we were in Detroit. Last year, he came on stage
with us, and he jammed with us. Pamela Anderson was also there. So we
invited him for this new album. "Gimme back my bullets" is one of my
favorite song. The goal was to d something real different from what
we usually do. We first thought not to include it on the album, we finally
put it on the album and we'll see what will happen.
You're gonna be in Europe next june opening for Deep Purple. We would
have preferred you to headline the show with, for example, 38 Special
opening for you. Can you tell us a few words about this tour ?
Two years ago, in the States, Deep Purple opened for us. We knew this
year they were coming to Europe, as we do, so we started talking about
this tour with the two bands. It doesn't matter which band is opening
the show. We'll play 90 minutes and we'll play our best.
Each time you release a new album, we always think it could be the
last one. Are you conscious of this and the fact you mean so much to
the fans ?
You know I pray God it won't be the last one. As I already topld you,
we recorded 22 songs and we have 6 or 7 songs which could be used on
our next album. We also wrote other songs we didn't record yet. We'll
keep on releasing new album¨s as long as we can do it. You know Gary
is so happy with the doctors finding his problem. If not, it could have
killed him. But now, he's fine and we're back for many years.
For many people, southern rock is not that a musical identity. Do
you always agree with this "label" ?
We have a song on the album which is about politics, "Red, white and
blue". It's our first single and we wrote it after Spet 11th's events.
Back then, we did two shows. Being Alabama ambassadors, we usually see
the rebel flags at our shows, but for these two shows, all we saw was
just american flags. So we wrote ths song to tell what Skynyrd is all
about and what the fans are all about. It's not really a political song,
it's just what we are, riding bikes, smoking cigarettes, drinking beer,
having fun, being hard workers. This song shows we're not only southern
guys, we're american and that's the way the fans see us. We've got fans
in New York, San Francisco. We're proud of our orign, our heritage,
our women are sweeter (laughs), we speak differently from the people
up in north.... But in the end, we're all united with the music, whether
you're from Paris, France or Jacksonville, Florida.
What kind of music do you listen to ? Do you have time to listen
to new southern rock bands such as Drive by Truckers or Rebel Storm
You know, one more time, I've got four daughters, so I listen to a lot
of things. I like bands such as "Puddle of mud" or "3 doors down". Regarding
Drive by Truckers, I listened to some of their songs, and as I know
they write a lot about us, so I like them (laughs). And we'be got the
same management company.
I have to ask you a special question. I heard you didn't want to
come here in France because our government's position before the war
in Irak. Is that true ?
No, no, no. You know, we're musicians, we've got fans over here and
there's no problem for us to come here and play. Governments take care
of the politics and we take care of the music.
Are you gonna release a new dvd next month ?
It's gonna be recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, on July 11th. We'll
have a complete orchestra behind us. You know, on the original version
of Freebird, there are strings. And there are horns on "What's your
name". It's gonna be great. We don't know exactly which songs we're
gonna play. but it's gonna be great. You should come and see us. We
'll decide during rehearsals which songs are gonna be played.
You could add the songs you recorded which are nor included on the
Why not ? (laughs). We're gonna try to include a lot things in this
dvd. May be we're gonna film during this european tour and add some
If you had to spend the rest of your life on a desert island, which
five albums would you take with you ?
I'ld rather choose five girls (laughs). I'ld say the first album by
Free, something by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the white album from
the Beatles, our last album and "Straight shooter" from Bad Company
with Paul Rodgers.
What else would you add ?
I hust wanna say we worked real hard for this new album, we love music.
Thanks for all.