Sunday, November 8, 2009
A Friend once called me Quinnard Skynyrd...
Google is whimsical and mystical....
Was reading Gene's book last night and got to the chapter where he talks about the Confederate flag, etc. This reminded me how often I've heard people question whether Skynyrd was a bunch of Southern racists.
I can tell you absolutely, they were not. Around 1970, or so, Skynyrd was in Chattanooga, TN playing at McCaully Military Academy for their prom or something, and afterwards, they came to a small club where my band was playing. The club was called Natty Bumppo's. They listened until we took a break and then asked to sit in. This is a whole 'nother story in itself, but to the point, Ronnie really liked our guitar player, an excellent musician named John who played with James Brown and some other R'n'B bands. He could play our set list in the style of Hendrix one night, Jeff Beck the next, The Meters the night after that, etc.
Anyway, after Ed left the band Ronnie, who had gotten John's mother's number that night, called him up and offered John the gig. John said something like, "Are you crazy?", I can't see me standing on stage in Waycross Ga. under a confederate flag playing 'Sweet Home Alabama' for your redneck fans!". Ronnie assured him it wasn't like that and that it would be OK. But John stayed in Chattanooga.
I never doubted John's voracity, but if I had, I would have known the story was true after the crash when I saw him. He was visibly shaken. "I would have been on that plane", he said. "I would be dead".
I forgot to mention, John was black. Skynyrd thought he was great. Ronnie apparently wanted him in the band. Enough said.