Rickey Medlocke Fires Back At Lynyrd Skynyrd “Tribute Band” Comment

Rickey Medlocke Fires Back At Lynyrd Skynyrd “Tribute Band” Comment | I Love Classic Rock Videos

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Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Rickey Medlocke has recently spoken out in defense of the band’s current lineup, following criticism that they’ve become nothing more than a tribute act.

Medlocke is no stranger to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s history. He actually played drums and sang lead in some of the songs for the band back in the early 1970s. After a stint with another Southern rock outfit, Blackfoot, he returned to Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1996, this time taking on the role of guitarist.

Even though the band has faced its share of tragedy over the years, including the loss of original members, Medlocke remains a key figure in keeping Lynyrd Skynyrd’s music alive for a new generation of fans.

Defending Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Legacy

In a new interview with Real Music With Gary Stuckey, Medlocke addressed the criticism Lynyrd Skynyrd has faced following the passing of Gary Rossington, the band’s last original member. Medlocke, along with frontman Johnny Van Zant and other talented musicians, have kept the band going, sparking comments that they’ve become a tribute act.

Medlocke firmly rejects this notion. He points out that Johnny Van Zant, Ronnie Van Zant’s (original singer) younger brother, has been with the band for nearly 37 years. Medlocke himself has a long history with Lynyrd Skynyrd, having been a member in the early 70s and returning in 1996. He emphasizes their deep connection to the band’s foundation alongside Rossington, a founding member.

He explained, “That’s my second go-round with the band, and I was in the original group, the formidable group… Well, to us, us three guys standing upfront, we were, like, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no.’”

Medlocke Differentiates The Current Lynyrd Skynyrd From Tribute Bands

Medlocke goes on to differentiate between Lynyrd Skynyrd and tribute bands. He describes tribute bands as groups of musicians who come together solely for the love of playing covers, deciding to dedicate themselves to replicating a specific band, like Lynyrd Skynyrd. He acknowledges the prevalence of such bands on platforms like YouTube.

For Medlocke, seeing Lynyrd Skynyrd live is a different experience altogether. He emphasizes that their shows capture the authentic sound and energy of the original band, offering the closest experience possible to seeing the classic lineup. He dismisses the online naysayers who criticize the band’s current iteration, challenging them to step up and compete if they think they can do better.

“When you come to see Lynyrd Skynyrd, when you come to see us, it’s full-on tilt original-sounding, as close as you could ever possibly get. So the people sitting there behind their little computer keyboards and talking sh*t, they can talk that sh*t all they want to,” the guitarist said.

A Promise to Gary Rossington

Medlocke reveals a touching detail about the band’s future. He shares that both he and Johnny made a promise to Rossington. Rossington apparently expressed his desire for the band’s legacy and music to live on. He worried that without them touring and performing, the music would fade into obscurity, played only occasionally on the radio or at gatherings.

This concern, along with the overwhelming outpouring of support from fans through letters, emails, and messages, became a major deciding factor for Medlocke and Van Zant. They felt a responsibility to honor Rossington’s wish and continue playing the music for fans who cherished it.

Medlocke shared, “We got so much corresponding comments, letters, notes, e-mail, text messages, and the one deciding factor was, ‘Please, don’t let this be the end of it.’ Well, okay.”

Moving Forward After Gary’s Passing

Following the passing of guitarist Gary Rossington in March 2023, the future of Lynyrd Skynyrd was uncertain. However, a wave of supportive messages from fans convinced the remaining members to keep the band’s legacy alive.

Medlocke expressed his belief that they’ll continue playing for as long as they’re physically able. The band’s commitment to their fans extends beyond touring.

Medlocke also revealed previously that he and Johnny Van Zant are planning to work on a new Lynyrd Skynyrd album. This development suggests that the band isn’t just content to revisit their classics; they’re actively pushing forward and creating new music for their dedicated audience.

Watch Medlocke discuss the band with Gary Stuckey in the video below.