Johnny Van Zant Asks Fans For Forgiveness
via Designing America / Youtube
Lynyrd Skynyrd had quite a busy 2023. This is despite a lengthy “farewell tour” that ended abruptly in 2020 followed by a couple more tours and the death of the last pre-crash member Gary Rossington.
As the band looks forward to carrying on the musical legacy of the Southern rock icons as they celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary, current frontman Johnny Van Zant tackled the unease of fans regarding the increase in tickets for their live shows.
This weekend, our 50th Anniversary of Lynyrd Skynyrd Concert Film celebrates our final show with our beloved Gary Rossington. Special pricing now at $69 per car at drive-in venues. If you can’t make it to a drive-in, join us July 8-14th at a local theater! https://t.co/U63PuClzAv pic.twitter.com/EStK3Sfmti
— Lynyrd Skynyrd (@Skynyrd) July 6, 2023
“Sometimes the fans blame the band. You know, ‘Oh, the band’s charging too much, man.’ No, we don’t have anything to do with that,” Van Zant lamented in an interview with The Forbes Books Podcast.
While concert tickets are indeed much pricier than ever, and not just for Lynyrd Skynyrd, the frontman just wanted to appease their fans who have supported them throughout the years.
“You couldn’t even get near the parking lot”
Johnny conveyed his understanding and compassion towards fans who felt dissatisfied due to the said increase in ticket prices, while also explaining his side about the growing costs in recent times.
“In the past two years, everything’s gone up. Fuel, you know, now they have a regulation for bus drivers that you can’t drive more than ten hours, so you have to stop or bring in another driver. It sucks because who who pays the price for that? The consumer, the people coming to the shows,” the singer said in the podcast.
Due to a scheduling conflict, the May 20th Lynyrd Skynyrd show at The Orion Amphitheater has been canceled. The band apologizes for the inconvenience and hopes to see you all at another time. Tickets will be refunded at the point of purchase. pic.twitter.com/htePYALYo8
— The Orion Amphitheater (@TheOrionAmp) May 9, 2022
Apart from expressing his frustrations about the, he also reminisced about going to shows for six dollars, fifty cents, or even less,
“Now, you couldn’t even get near the parking lot, and it just keeps going up and up,” The vocalist bemoaned.
“Don’t blame the artists!”
“It’s very expensive to tour. It really is. For the younger ones, I mean, you see them pulling trailers, buying buses, and doing most of it themselves, and they have to do that to make some living,” Van Zant continued.
The frontman went on to talk about how the fans sometimes blame the band for charging too much for ticket prices. “No, we don’t have anything to do with that,” he explained.
Tomorrow evening at 6:00 on our 2 hour show “Live In Concert” hosted by Lisa Berigan: Our headliner is Lynyrd Skynyrd, captured live in 2007 in Louisville, Kentucky. Plus we’ll have live sets from ZZ Top, Bon Jovi and Bad Company pic.twitter.com/OGn1lMPDW5
— 107.5 The Breeze (@1075TheBreeze) September 14, 2019
Johnny asked for the concertgoers’ understanding and urged the fans not to blame the musicians who also had it rough.
“We come in, we get a guarantee, and if it sells enough tickets, we may get some commission on the back end, but most of the time, it’s where it’s at, the promoter, and what the charges will be. It’s not our fault, folks; don’t blame the artists!”
Carrying the torch
Johnny Van Zant dropped in as a special guest in the podcast hosted by Joe Pardavila not only to promote their upcoming shows, but also to talk about Lynyrd Skynyrd’s legacy and carrying the torch forward.
And the frontman is really intent on carrying on the band’s legacy – farewell tours, gigs, and whatnot.
Van Zant and his cohorts had a busy year touring and had just wrapped up their summer gig with co-headliner ZZ Top, called the Sharp Dressed Simple Man tour, before gearing up for live shows outside the US.
Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top ! You put on one hell of a show !!! pic.twitter.com/0GtW3chX2u
— colbs (@ColbieAnneM) August 28, 2023
When original founding guitarist Gary Rossington died in March 2023, fans thought they heard the last of Lynyrd Skynyrd, due to an agreement of sorts the band members and their families shook hands on after the tragic plane crash that killed original frontman and founder Ronnie Van Zant.
But the families changed their minds and the musical legacy of the Southern rock icons lives on, with more live shows coming and other plans.
They even recently released a concert film of their final show with the late Rossington, a touching tribute to the last member of the original lineup.
Check out the podcast episode below:
Southern rock is alive and well
Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Southern rock legends, emerged from the swamps of Florida in the 1960s, leaving their own gritty mark on the world of music. With their signature blend of blues, rock, and a touch of country, they created a sound that was uniquely their own.
Their breakout hit, “Sweet Home Alabama,” became an anthem for the American South and solidified their place in rock history.
Lynyrd Skynyrd on stage before a show in Atlanta, 1975 pic.twitter.com/mWnNhLcG3m
— Classic Rock In Pics (@crockpics) December 20, 2021
Tragedy struck the band at the peak of their success in 1977 when a plane crash claimed the lives of three members, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant. This devastating loss put an abrupt end to the band’s original lineup.
But, thank the rock gods, their music lived on. A decade after the mishap, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s surviving members carried on, with Johnny Van Zant taking over as lead vocalist, and the band continued to tour and release new music, preserving their legacy.
— BLABBERMOUTH.NET (@BLABBERMOUTHNET) June 21, 2023
Decades after their formation and re-formation, Lynyrd Skynyrd remains a powerhouse in the world of live performances, packing arenas and outdoor venues with fans of all ages. Their concerts are a testament to the enduring power of rock ‘n’ roll and the timeless relevance of their music.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s history is one of triumph over tragedy, and their legacy continues to shine brightly, reminding us that the spirit of Southern rock is alive and well.