Johnny Van Zant: Gary Rossington wanted Lynyrd Skynrd to “be around forever”

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Lynyrd Skynyrd has decided to go on following the March death of guitarist and original member Gary Rossington, and frontman Johnny Van Zant, who has been with the band over 30 years, knows it’s exactly what Rossington would have wanted. 

“Me and him have had very long conversations,” Van Zant tells ABC Audio. “He said, ‘You know what, I want the music to carry on. I want it to carry on.’” 

Johnny says Rossington had pointed out to him that since Charlie Daniels’ death in 2020 they were hearing less about him, and the same with the Allman Brothers after Gregg Allman’s 2017 death. Johnny said Gary told him, “I want Skynyrd to be around forever.” 

“We got together with the estates, talked it out. We all came to a conclusion that this music is bigger than any of us,” Van Zant shares. “We’re gonna go out and we’re gonna play for a little while longer.” He adds, “We definitely want to finish out this year and we would like, you know, maybe carry on next year and who knows.” 

Understandably, Van Zant says he’s “just devastated” by the loss of Rossington. “We became brothers over the years,” he offers. “I always tell people we fought, we cried, we made up and then we got drunk.” 

Lynyrd Skynyrd is set to kick off The Sharp Dressed Simple Man tour with ZZ Top on July 21 in West Palm Beach, Florida. A complete list of dates can be found at

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