Posted: 6:27 am Thursday, June 22nd, 2017
Lynyrd Skynyrd is no stranger to court battles, in the past allowing the lawyers to do the fighting to preserve the legacy and reputation of the Southern Rock royalty.
This is once again the case for the band, as well as the folks responsible for the estate’s of the members who have passed away. This time, the target is former drummer Artimus Pyle!
Pyle announced last year that he intended to release a biopic titles “Free Bird” about the band’s heyday, as well as the fateful plane crash that stopped the runaway success that was the original lineup of Skynyrd.
That news was quickly met with a cease and desist order from the band, which led to Pyle changing the name of the film to “Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash”
Pyle was the man on the drums for 3 of the bands biggest years, 1974-77, and then again in their early reunion era from 1987-91. Pyle also confirmed that he has been stopped from using his old band’s music in the movie.
Now Gary Rossington, along with singer Johnny Van Zant, and the estates of other bandmates have filed suit to stop the production in its entirety. They’re saying all involved signed a 1988 consent order that bars any individual member from presenting a story that “purports to be a history of the ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd’ band.” The lawsuit also names Cleopatra Records, which is co-producing the film.
A court date of July 11 has been set.
It makes sense to me that if somebody is going to tell the story of what it was like to be in Skynyrd during that time, it needs to be collaborative with guys like Rossington, Johnny Van Zant (on behalf of his brother Ronnie), and Rickey Medlocke who despite being in and out of the band through their run, always orbited the Skynyrd family in some way.
A while ago, I had the opportunity to interview the trio for their performance documentary shot at the Florida Theatre. We spoke about a lot of topics including the crash in ’77, but I think my favorite story was this one about the band getting their first taste of what it was like to elbow around with the musicians they’d come to idolize: