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September 9th, 2012
05:46 PM ET

Face to Face: Lynyrd Skynyrd talks Southern roots

Fredricka goes Face to Face with Lynyrd Skynyrd. Members discuss the evolution of the band's Southern image and disassociation with the Confederate flag.


Filed under: Fredricka Whitfield
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. G. D. Smith

    It's a shame that instead of hiding the battle flag out of political correctness, they didn't attempt to help educate the public about the rich history and heritage of the South. The last time I saw a story about the KKK, they were flying the Stars & Stripes. Yet in almost every picture you showed of LS in concert, they had Old Glory out there on stage. Does that mean they're now KKK members? Of course not. But by ignoring and denying the flag that is part of their history, they are leaving a large segment of their fan base behind as well. It's a shame that money is now more important than honor and heritage.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  2. P D Hodgens

    I guess this means they will be opening for the Dixie Chicks?

    September 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  3. L R Stover

    So y'all admit during the interview that the Confederate Flag represents history, heritage and the Confederate soldier, then you stop flying it because some misinformed people equate the flag with racism instead of continuing to educate people on our Southern symbol? Quoting Johnny Van Zant, "We speak for our fans, we speak for ourselves." Well, you just lost a significant portion of your fans so continue to speak for yourself. Good luck with you next release.."Sweet home Massachusetts." I am sure it will climb the charts with a bullet in yankee-land.

    September 15, 2012 at 12:51 am |
  4. L. E. Thompson

    This isn't the real Lynyrd Skynyrd anyway. They should have taken a name like "Obama's Politically Correct Sell Your Soul Make Believe Imposters" or something. They'll never be able to mimic the real Skynyrd's music and they certainly can't live up to their southern statesmanship. We hope you never come back to "Sweet Home Alabama" Cowards.

    September 15, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  5. rex tard

    "Well I hope Lynyrd Skynyrd will remember, A Southern man don't need THEM around anyhow......."

    September 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  6. Greg Fannin

    Vant Zant, you may be an idiot but, hey, you're the darling of CNN ... for the next fifteen minutes. You're not a Southern Rock band ... you're a corporate sell-out.

    Lynyrd Skynyrd 2.0 is nothing compared to the original. For decades, your fans rallied 'round you because we didn't want to admit that the band died in that crash. Well, they did died. We can pretend, but we just got awakened by a slap across the face.

    September 21, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  7. Doc

    I guess they're stumping for Obama now too.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  8. Cowtown Rebel

    Lynyrd Skynyrd (R. I. P.) Imposters, frauds, fakes, wannabes, shadows, skeletons, posers, shells, and imitations, here's hoping that you also crash and burn, if not literally, then at least your pathetic attempt at rekindling something which you've obviously lost touch with. Either way, rest assured that no true Southern Man will mourn your absence. Does the word "SCALAWAG" mean anything to you?

    September 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  9. LW

    So they are done with the stars and bars? Never thought I would see the day. I guess it is true that everything must change. I wonder if they will have some other symbol of Southern pride displayed in their performance. I also wonder if by dropping the flag will they bring in a new audience that stayed away because it felt it was unwelcomed?

    September 21, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  10. Educated Southern Man

    Haha, looks like Skynyrd just lost 9 ignorant, backwards fans. I'm sure they're crying into their JD.

    September 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  11. prarsena

    Wait a second.. Is everyone in this comment thread trolling? or do all the commenters support the policies of slavery and segregation?

    September 22, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  12. Jim

    Hopefully all the racist Skynyrd fans will now stay away from their concerts and it will be a safer place for sober, non-racist REAL Skynyrd fans!

    September 22, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  13. Finch

    But our culture is empty and meaningless without this symbol of racist treason! But hey – at least we'll always have our generations of resentment because of our vague notions of a war against our fellow Americans that ended 150 years ago.

    September 22, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  14. hallmonitororg

    It's hilarious to me that old school Lynyrd Skynyrd fans conveniently gloss over the fact that the original band was actually left-leaning (they campaigned hard for Carter in 1976, wrote a pro-gun control song called "Saturday Night Special"). It's only after the replacements came in that they started spoonfeeding their conservative fanbase exactly what they wanted. The confederate flag may mean heritage to some people, but I grew up in Alabama and I know what it really means. It means that there was a point in history that states were willing to go to war with the union over the right to own human beings.

    September 22, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  15. Rob

    "Sweet Home Massachusetts" has kind of a nice ring to it. I'm going to make millions. I can write it about the abolitionists that used to live in my home town.

    September 22, 2012 at 5:56 am |
  16. dan

    I agree, the confederate flag is a symbol of the rich history of the south, which includes seceding from the US and then fighting a war over the right to own human beings. Before you say it was about state's rights, you're right, but it was about the states' right to keep slavery legal, so you're also wrong.

    September 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  17. Steve wohlgemuth

    I miss Ronnie so bad,their loosing everything Ronnie created which was confederate -deep south ,southern rock. I'm slowly loosing interest altogether,it's just not the same and never will be. They lost their backbone,Ronnie Vanzant

    September 23, 2012 at 4:22 am |
  18. A Frynd.....

    If anyone listened to what was said, they'd get it. The band isn't against anything but what's been twisted throughout the years by sheer ignorance........sad, but true. They're a great ROCK band that just happened to be from the south. Get over it & just enjoy their music, God knows "bands" today can't write a decent song.

    September 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  19. Ozzie OzBorn

    Gimme back my bollocks! Freebird just crashed and burned!

    September 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  20. Rebecca

    Do what you feel is right, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and you will never go completely wrong! Trust that feeling in your gut, it's there for very good reasons. Thanks for standing up.

    September 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  21. Tim

    I am a long time fan of the band and personal friend to a member of the family. I cannot begin to decribe my disappointment over the band's decision. You just sold your soul to the company store. You've lost a fan. One of many I'm sure. You should have stuck to your guns and convictions. I'm neither a racist or a skin head, I'm a proud Southern man. I am always willing to discuss the difference with anyone. You should hang your heads in shame . . .

    R.I.P. Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    September 23, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  22. Travis

    That flag is a symbol of armed rebellion in our nation caused by the southern portion of our nation feeling it was their right to own other human beings. We are the only country in the world that would allow the flag of a treasonous movement to be flown over state capitols. So yeah. Even if you claim it has nothing to do with race, it's still a symbol of treason and is very anti-patriotic.

    September 24, 2012 at 12:51 am |
  23. ncmom

    How about the "about face" when they wrote don't take away "my God and guns"? What ever happened to Saturday Night Special and "handguns are made for killing" and dumping them all at the bottom of the sea? That was the real Lynyrd Skynyrd wasn't it?

    September 24, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  24. rebyll

    Some arrogant individuals think they know everything about what that flag means. I am a proud Southerner and I love that flag. I have ancestors who volunteered to fight for and some who died defending that flag and I tell you not one of them had one single slave to fight for. There is a LOT more to that flag than just slavery. Florida, Georgia, Muscle Shoals Alabama, and that flag helped make Ronnie's Skynyrd what it was. I say Ronnie's Skynyrd because without Ronnie it ain't Skynyrd. Ronnie loved that flag and is probably rolling over in his grave to see "The Gary Rossington Traveling Circus" make a mockery of everything he built. Some say that Cousin Jimmie Van Zant has a lot of nerve and he's riding on Ronnie's coat tails. I say more than the same can be said 10 times over for Mr. Rossington.
    A fan of Ronnie's Skynyrd....

    September 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  25. 39574guy

    haters gonna hate. rock on.

    September 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  26. UnReconstructed

    The southern flag is not a symbol of treason or slavery. It was not a matter of whether the slaves would be eventually emancipated, but what kind of freedom would they have once emancipated. Would they have the same freedom as the Declaration of Independence and Constitution orginally promised, or would it be serfdom to the Central government? History would prove that the latter is what happened: from the inception of the "Freedmans Bureau" to the empty promises of "40 acres and a mule", and on to the Reconstructionist State Constitutions that planted the first seeds of "Jim Crow" (which were required by the US before re-admission into the Union). Ownership was simply transferred to the Federal government and has slowly incorporated us all into the quasi-slavery of Washingon DC's plantation.

    The Confederate flag represents the right to own other human beings? How about that same right protected in 4 yankee states remaining in the union, as well as the glorious Union accepting West Virginia as a slave state (yes, the Union recognised secession – as long as it was the beneficiary)after the Emancipation Proclamation? By the time the EP was signed, which left slavery intact in its "conquered" territories (Tennessee), the glorious Union was preserving the right to own human beings in over half the number of states as ever formed the Confederacy . Slavery in the "Union" did not end until ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1866.

    What that flag does represent is the basic concept: "Government exists by the consent of the governed". It does represent that the Anti-Federalists were correct on all points during debate over the Constitution. I've never met a person who denigrates that flag, who also doesn't also seek to destroy the Bill of Rights – because such freedoms challenge their sense of superiority. That flag is hated because it reminds the Federal Government (and its lackeys) that it is in fact limited to specificly enumerated powers: that the Constitution is in fact a "charter of negative liberties" in relation to government – but is also a charter of positive liberties for the people. Treason can be viewed by two means: 1.) treachery against the Constitution or 2.) treachery against the Federal Government. The two are NOT the same, and haven't been since 1861. The South was squarely on the side of the Constitution as ratified. The North was squarely on the side of the Federal government, even at the destruction of the Constitution (which has been the actual result).

    Open hostilities may have ended 150 years ago, but the warfare between idealogies has continued without ceasing. Slavery and race play the same roles now as 150,100, 50,and 25 years ago: conveinient distraction from the core issues of freedom and liberty – enabling the Federal Government to take Freedom and Liberty from all.

    September 26, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  27. jk

    The states rights that the Confederates fought for was the right to own other people as slaves. Period. The rebel flag has not been appropriated by racists. It was invented and waved by racists from the start. It is the national flag of a racist separatist nation. Southern culture has a lot of value, and it is a terrible, tragic shame beyond belief that it hitched its sense of pride to slavery and racism. It is being disentangled over time and that is a good thing. Perhaps the rebel flag will be fully reclaimed one day–as the American flag has been. But that will not happen by spreading false revisionist history and pretending that the South was not fundamentally racist. The denials and equivocations here, and from the band, make it clear that racism remains a profound part of Southern identity and people want to rationalize it rather than give it up.

    October 5, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  28. celtwarrior

    My ancestor died on the first day of battle at Shiloh (24th Tennessee). Recently I was fired at a job I held for 10 years for my REFUSAL to remove the glorious Confederate flag (the Christian flag of St Andrew's) plate from my car. I could not have looked at myself in the mirror knowing my ancestor gave his full measure for states' rights and freedom.
    Compromise is the language of the devil. Now lynyrd skynyrd (as opposed to the real Lynyrd Skynyrd) have joined with the yankee horde in renouncing our Southern people. The core issue is continued attacks upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, yes: My Confederate ancestors owned 0 slaves; they were fighting to protect their families from invasion of federal soldiers (which, by the way, is coming to a home near you even today).
    skynyrd scalawags: now there is a catchy name. Love that Yankee money don't you Rossington and crew.

    October 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  29. Southern Man

    This is heart breaking, your Brother and the others built this band on SOUTHERN HERITAGE like it or not. Why did you not just change your groups name and leave the real Southern group (LS) and folks alone. You just KILLED him and the others that wrote this music. It has nothing to do with HATE or RACISTS. Its PRIDE and HERITAGE. Please stop singing the SONGS THEY WROTE, SING YOUR ON MUSIC. Please STOP MAKING money on the REAL LS.
    YOU JUST OPEN THE DOOR FOR ALL SOUTHERN HATERS TO SLAY LS AND ITS REAL FAN BASE.

    P.S really STOP using there name (LS)

    October 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  30. personal training Long Island

    I am not one for southern rock, but I have always loved Lynyrd Skynyrd. It is nice to see them still making music.

    January 13, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
  31. becbar57

    My husband and I danced to Freebird in 1979 for our first dance. I have a Freebird tattoo on my shoulder which reminded me of my one and only true love for the 31 years we were separated by 800 miles. You see my husband is a Yankee from New Jersey and I am a Southern Belle from North Carolina. We have been married now for almost 4 years and Freebird will always be a part of our story,but as far as the SELLOUT band that sings it now,they will never again have our love and support. This is not the true Lynard Skynard band and this is not about so called political correctness it is about my love of my heritage...all of it. I can speak of this because I come from poor Southerners and we didn't own slaves. My husbands family came from Italy years after the Uncivil War. How many of you indignation people can go back into your family history and say there were no slave owners. Slavery was started and perpetuated in the North. Southerners fought to keep the homeland from being invaded just as I would hope the North would have done. The band calling themselves Lynard Skynard sold out, pure and simple and then when they realized it was going to hit them in the pocketbook they are backtracking. Shame on you!

    May 19, 2014 at 9:29 pm |

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