Classic Southern rock bandbrings their Southern rock roots to the Magic City Casino in Miami, Florida for one hell of a concert event. The band will be here on Saturday, October 19th. you can expect to hear a ton of their classic rock hits, especially the classic rock anthems "Sweet Home Alabama' and "Free Bird".
Guitarist Rickey Medlocke took time out from his schedule to answer a few questions. Here is the interview in it's entirety:
Q: as a young boy, did you know that you wanted to be a musician?
A: I was raised in a music family. I started playing banjo at the age of three. I was on a TV show with my grandfather, a country music show that originated out of Jacksonville, Florida. My grandfather played in and out of, well, with different artists back in the day, so the whole family on my mother's side was all into music and that's what I was raised in. I learned to play guitar at the age of five, and drums at the age of eight so it was written in the stars that I was probably going to be that for the rest of my life. I have been in music my whole life so I never thought or cared about any other profession when I was young. I have been at it all my life.
Q: Who were some of the artist that you looked up to, that may have helped shape your musical style?
A: My grandparents went to see Elvis right before my seventh birthday and I saw the King when he was really the King. That itself had a very huge impact on me as a young boy. Then, of course, came the sixties. I got to see the Beatles in '64. Like in Jacksonville, what nobody realizes and understands is that Jacksonville, at the time, was a very transient city. There is a couple of naval bases there, the Jacksonville shipyards, The Anheiser Bush beer plant. A lot of families came and went out of that town. So, with that said, you had a lot of people, a lot of musicians in the early days of the city, that came in there and their kids of course, learned how to play music and stuff. We used to get a lot of bands traveling through Jacksonville, either to Tampa or Miami, and were coming back. We were always able, as young teenagers, to get flooded with everything like Elvis, right on up through Cream,, to Hendrix. I went to the original Woodstock . There was just a lot of the early stuff that was just formidable to us that made a major impact on our life. My influence came from bands like that.
Q: Having a dual role in the band over the years as a guitarist and a drummer, which instrument do you prefer best?
A: Well... it is pretty obvious, I am a guitar player and have been playing guitar for most of my life. It's pretty obvious I'd rather play guitar.
Q: The band received some flack from fans stemming from an interview about the bands dis association from the rebel flag. Are you guy's flying the flag again?
A: Here's the deal... the deal about it is, and I am gonna put it real simple. Over the years, there has been a lot of flack about that flag, raised by a lot of different groups. Really, to be honest with you, that flag isn't about what people are making out to be. It is a battle flag. It represented the Confederate Army, it represented the South. I don't think it has anything to do with any kind of oppression and all that kind of stuff. We were on CNN doing the weekend thing for them and Gary, what he meant was, what he basically was sayin' was, we have always flown that flag and decided for the time being that, you know, were not choosing sides or anything but, we don't want to encompass everybody, to let everyone know that Lynyrd Skynyrd is FOR EVERYBODY! We have taken it down from behind the stage and dropping it from "Sweet Home Alabama" . We haven't been using it as a backdrop for quite a few years. Johnny still wraps a small one around his microphone. Now we kinda got one up there that kinda represents both the American flag and the Confederate flag. We wanted to compromise with everybody, kinda bring everybody together. When he said that, a lot of die-hard Lynyrd Skynyrd fans took offense to that and said that they would never go to another show again and that we sold out and that we have done this, and done that you know, and it's like well, some people know, and maybe you know that I am over half Native American, OK, so if anybody should have a problem with racism, it should be me. The thing about it is the band tries to be for everybody! Not just one particular brand of people, you know what I mean? In these days and times man, everybody should come together. I am not trying to get into any politics because I don't believe an artist should use their status to get up on a soap box and preach what they believe like that but. in this Country, Everybody is so uptight, everybody is so at each other. I just don't understand how we got so divided in such a short time. It just blows my mind!
Q: There is still a lot of ignorance out there about the South.
A: Yeah, there is. The thing about it is is that I look at some of these shows out there, these shows labeled "Redneck shows", and I, being from the South, I kinda sometimes take real offense to that stuff. I have heard the statements that it makes the Southerners look dumb. Southerners are far from being dumb. Let's look at it realistically,Ted Turner, one of the richest men in the world, is not too dumb is he? He started CNN and he owned a baseball team, a multi-billionaire., one of the biggest rock n' roll stars that EVER lived in the South. It really disappoints me to see people take it so seriously . Gary, me, and Johnny are just tryin' to bring people together and play music, have people enjoy the music and not have it so politicized.
Q: With all of the accomplishments you have had with Lynyrd Skynyrd and in your personal life, what is next for you and the band?
A: Well... what is next for us is that we will go out and finish out the year. We are up for the Classic Rock Band of the Year Award in the UK. We are going over to do three UK shows and then the award show, and pretty much, our year is done. We leave next weekend for the Simple Man Cruise that we do. I don't know, man. Next for us is to get through the rest of this year and take some time off because we have been going at it all year long... and very, very heavy. After the first of the year, there are some up-and-coming plans that we know are trying to be developed and we'll see how it goes.
For more information on remaining shows and to order their latest album, "Last Of A Dyin' Breed", log on to their website at www.lynyrdskynyrd.com