How Many Original Members Of Lynyrd Skynyrd Are Still Alive?

Lynyrd's band consist of left to right: Mark Matejka, Rickey Medlock, and Gary Rossington performing in a music festival
Lynyrd's band consist of left to right: Mark Matejka, Rickey Medlock, and Gary Rossington performing in a music festival( Source : instagram )

How many original members of Lynyrd Skynyrd are still alive? None of the original members of Lynyrd Skynyrd as still alive.

The Jacksonville band is known for its Southern twang and integration of genres like Country Rock, Hard Rock, and Blues Rock.

One of the most popular Southern rock bands during the 70s and 80s, their songs Sweet Home Alabama, and Free Bird are still quite popular with the mainstream audience. 

According to Rolling Stone, the band is 95th in the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time." They have sold more than 28 million records in the US. 

The band has constantly adapted throughout the course of nearly 60 years of music career. At present, the influence of soft rock and EDM can be heard in the band's songs, thus the artist seems to still inspire new generations with their music. 


Lynyrd Skynyrd Original Band Members

Lynyrd Skynyrd band logo and name, the band was reformed after ten years by Van Zant's brother
Lynyrd Skynyrd band logo and name, the band was reformed after ten years by Van Zant's brother( Source : facebook )

Lynyrd Skynyrd original band members were Ronnie Van Zant, Bob Burns, Gary Rossigton, Allen Collins, and Larry Junstorm.

All the founding members of the band have passed away. A brief description of the musicians is as follows;

Ronnie Van Zant

A black and white headshot of Ronnie Van Zant. After his death a film If I Leave Here Tomorrow (2018) was made honoring his legacy.
A black and white headshot of Ronnie Van Zant. After his death a film If I Leave Here Tomorrow (2018) was made honoring his legacy.( Source : imdb )

Ronnie Van Zant was the lead vocalist and lyricist of the band.

The musical group gained mainstream hype after their single "Free Bird" from their debut album Leh-nerd Skin Nerd. 

After the album, they went on tour to "The Who's Quadrophenia" which stirred further interest in the band.

Thus, their breakout hit "Sweet Home Alabama" led the band towards overnight stardom. 

Bob Burns

Billy Powell (left) Bob Burns (center) alongside Gary Rossington in an award ceremony
Billy Powell (left) Bob Burns (center) alongside Gary Rossington in an award ceremony( Source : cbc )

Bob Burns was the original drummer of the band. He left the band in 1974.

He contributed to the band's two consecutive albums including their debut album and second studio album Second Helping

Burns later rejoined the band in 2006 for one performance, during the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2006. Unfortunately, the musician passed away in 2015 due to a car crash. 

Garry Rossington

Gary Rossington in a Guitar Shop photographed by Michael Wilson, the musician departed from the band and started his own rock group.
Gary Rossington in a Guitar Shop photographed by Michael Wilson, the musician departed from the band and started his own rock group.( Source : jacksonville )

Garry Rossington was the guitarist and songwriter of the band. He was the longest-surviving founding member.

He also founded a band called "Rossignton Collins Bad" with his band member Allen Collins. 

Rossington passed away at the age of 71. As a guitarist, he played both lead and rhythm guitar.

Allen Collins

Allen Collins (left) alongside Ronnie, the band was never the same after the passing of their lead singer.
Allen Collins (left) alongside Ronnie, the band was never the same after the passing of their lead singer. ( Source : instagram )

Allen Collins was one of the guitarists of the band. However, due to an unfortunate turn of events, he left the band in 1986. 

Collins co-wrote multiple songs with the lead singer of the band. Unfortunately, the artist was involved in a car crash where he was paralyzed from the waist down along with the death of his girlfriend. 

Larry Junstorm

Larry Junstrom's obituary by 38 special after his death in 2019.
Larry Junstrom's obituary by 38 special after his death in 2019.( Source : facebook )

Larry Junstorm was Lynyrd Skynyrd's original bassist. Later, the musician was replaced by Donnie Van Zant, brother of Ronnie Van Zant. 

Junstrom created his own band called .38 special in 1974. The artist retired from the band in 2014.

Unfortunately, the artist passed away at the age of 70 on October 5, 2019. 

Current Lynyrd Skynyrd Band Members

Skynyrd band photo along with their fans after their performance in 2019.
Skynyrd band photo along with their fans after their performance in 2019.( Source : instagram )

Current Lynyrd Skynyrd band members include Rickey Medlocke, Johnny Van Zant, Michael Cartellone, Mark Matejka, Peter Keys, and Keith Christopher. 

Led by Johnny Van Zant, the band has released seven studio albums including popular albums like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Last Rebel, Endangered Species, and others. The brief info about current band members is as follows:

Rickey Medlocke

Medlocke celebrated by the Skynyrd, he was missed in the band's tour as the members were wishing him well in his fishing trip at Florida.
Medlocke celebrated by the Skynyrd, he was missed in the band's tour as the members were wishing him well in his fishing trip at Florida.( Source : instagram )

Rickey Medlocke is the oldest member among his current bandmates. He is 73 and was born on February 17, 1950.

Initially, the artist started as the band's drummer. After his first stint, he became the band's lead guitarist in 1996. 

Medlocke is Native American who belonged to Lakota Sioux and Cherokee tribes. The artist was inaugurated in the Native American Music Hall of Fame in 2008. 

Johnny Van Zant

Johnny Roy's first Instagram picture admiring his truck and saying hello to his followers.
Johnny Roy's first Instagram picture admiring his truck and saying hello to his followers.( Source : instagram )

Johnny Van Zant is the brother of the band's former lead singer Ronnie. Zant replaced his brother after his death.

He has been leading the band since 1987.

Zant is also known for his solo works and has released four solo studio albums. Prior to joining Lynyrd, he was in The Johnny Zant Band. 

Michael Cartellone

Michael admiring his first painting of 2022 in New York.
Michael admiring his first painting of 2022 in New York. ( Source : instagram )

Michale Cartellone is the current drummer of Lynyrd Skynyrd. He joined the band in 1999.

The 60-year-old musician is the former drummer of Damn Yankees.

Cartellone has worked on more than two dozen of albums. He collaborated with Freddie Mercury on the album The Great Pretender released in 1992. 

Mark Matejka

Matejka performing Jimi Hendrix song
Matejka performing Jimi Hendrix song "Voodoo Child" in the tour of Jimi Hendrix( Source : societyofrock )

Mark Matejka is the guitarist of the band.

He was a member of Hot Apple Pie a country music band before joining Lynyrd.

He has good chemistry with his bandmates thus he has become an indispensable member of the band since 2006.  

Peter Keys

Peter Keys plays keyboard and other instruments in the band
Peter Keys plays keyboard and other instruments in the band( Source : instagram )

Peter Keys is a keyboard player for the band.

He is known for his P-funk lineups. Keys has worked in multiple genres of music including his collaboration with Snoop Dogg, Bootsy Collins, and Isaac Hayes. 

Keith Christopher

Keith plays bass for the band, he joined the band in 2017 and has been with the group since his initiation.   

Where Did Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash?

The original members of Lynyrd Skynyrd band in 1973 before the band's crash in 1977.
The original members of Lynyrd Skynyrd band in 1973 before the band's crash in 1977.( Source : instagram )

Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash occurred in a wooded area in the vicinity of Gillsburg, Mississippi. 

The crash resulted in the death of lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines. 

Insufficient fuel was the reason for the crash. The airborne flight ran out of fuel while nearing its destination.

The plane was flying from Greenville, South Carolina toward the location of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

Similarly, Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane crash casualties are as follows;

  • Ronnie Van Zant (lead singer)
  • Steve Gaines (guitarist of Lynyrd)
  • Cassie Gaines (sister of Steve, guitarist)
  • Dean Kilpatrick (road manager)
  • Captain Walter McCreary
  • William John Gray (First Officer)

As for living casualties, Rossigton was knocked unconscious, Keyboard player Billy Powell suffered massive injuries in the nose and his face, and drummer Pyle was injured with broken ribs. 

Where is Lynyrd Skynyrd From?

Ronnie Van Zant memorial park in Jacksonville, the band have traveled throughout the country during their tour.
Ronnie Van Zant memorial park in Jacksonville, the band have traveled throughout the country during their tour. ( Source : instagram )

Lynyrd Skynyrd is from Jacksonville, Florida. In the beginning, the band started out as Mods.

They entered a competition titled "Battle of the Bands" and won which led them to start their musical career. 

The founding members' Van Zant, Rossington, and Burns were just teenagers starting out. After changing the band's name they started headlining local tours in Florida. 

Lynyrd Skynyrd Meaning: How Did They Get Their Name?

Skynyrd Spotify streams, Lynyrd are one of the most streamed band in Florida, they are quite patriotic and give proper respect to veterans.
Skynyrd Spotify streams, Lynyrd are one of the most streamed band in Florida, they are quite patriotic and give proper respect to veterans.( Source : instagram )

Lynyrd Skynyrd got their name from a strict Gym teacher named was "Leonard Skinner."

They were also inspired by Alan Sherman's Song "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddu" whose character name was Leonard Skinner.

Bob Burns was responsible for coming up with the idea for the name. The intrigue of the name and the combination of their talent catapulted the band toward stardom. 

They were the most popular band in Jacksonville, Florida. Lynyrd Skynyrd most popular songs are:

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