I love Lynyrd Skynyrd. One of the greatest bands ever IMO. I never got a chance to see the original band live, but was days away from going to a Rossington-Collins Band show that got canceled. Of course, I could’ve seen Skynyrd many times over the last 10 years but…even though I love the band and Rickey Medlocke, I just can’t.
Some people say the current Skynyrd is a tribute band. I don’t know what to think about that. Is KISS now a tribute band? Is Van Halen? Would Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones touring with Jason Bonham and a new singer be a tribute band?
Ah, screw it. If you want to see the band and have a good time, that’s all that matters – though that doesn’t explain why I still haven’t gone to see Skynyrd. (End of therapy session….)
In 1998, Skynyrd had just released the album Lyve From Steel Town, its second live album after the amazing One More From The Road. The axe-slingers in the band at that point were Gary, Rickey and Outlaws founder/axeman Hughie Thomasson (who died in 2007). Pretty sweet lineup, and the now-defunct Guitar Shop magazine interviewed all three. Following are the gear highlights – which are pretty darn good!
Gary: At the time he was playing his 59 Gibson Les Paul named Berneice, his mother’s name.
Rickey: “I have two Gibson Explorers, an old Ibanez Explorer [actually a Destroyer], an old reverse-body Gibson Firebird, an old Black Beauty [’50s black Les Paul Custom], an old Gold Top and a ’57 [Les Paul] Special. I use open tunings on a few of the guitars for the slide stuff on ‘I Know a Little’ and other songs. My granddaddy, Shorty Medlocke, taught me all these open tunings.”
Hughie: “Right now I’m playing a custom-made guitar, a magic guitar, made for me by Gary Smalley. He’s the best. It’s a Tele-style that he built from the ground up. It’s got Strat pickups and a couple of little extra things, like a preamp. Gary was our guitar tech up until about a year ago [when he got cancer].
Gary: “…a Peavey Mace, it’s 25 years old. It’s the same amp I’ve had the whole time Skynyrd’s been together. We keep rebuilding it every few years – it’s a souped up powerhouse amp.” [More on Skymyrd’s Maces here on AmpGas.com.]
Rickey: “I’ve got old Marshalls, and I had them hotrodded. I call them Freight Train Number 1 and Number Two…’70 and ’71 Marshalls. They’ll both put out 180 clean watts. I get a low-end chunk that’ll make a man sterile. I also have one that Jim Marshall gave me – an original JCM800 head.”
Hughie: “I’m playing through a blackface Fender Super Twin with a Marshall cabinet…. The Fender has clarity and it doesn’t distort much at high volume. I need that nice clean tone at a loud volume, and that’s what the Twin gives to me. It’s also 180 watts. It’s one of the old ones. It was like God said it was okay to play through this.”
Gary: “I’m not into using a bunch of pedals or sounds that a machine does for you.”
Rickey: “I used to be into it, man, [but] sold off everything. I believe in the guitar-to-the-amp-to-the-speakers-to-you approach. Maybe that’s not hip in today’s world, but you know what? I don’t give a damn about hip.”
Hughie: “Over the years I’ve used very few effects. With the Outlaws I used a little bit of echo, delay and a wah pedal, but I don’t use that stuff anymore. That’s how Ed [King] and Allen [Collins] played. That way, you can’t cover up nothing. Can you play or are you full of it?”
‘That Smell,’ live, ’97
Vid link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXWh_N-yuAk
End of part 1 of 2