Lynyrd Skynyrd is wearing its hearts on its sleeves, almost literally, after canceling two shows last week “due to an unforeseen medical emergency by one of the members” of the band.
Now the group has revealed that it wasn’t a rumored heart attack suffered by frontman Johnny Van Zant but another heart procedure for guitarist Gary Rossington last Friday (August 4) “to address some blockage in the arteries in his heart.”
Rossington was advised by doctors to stay off the road for at least a week, and Skynyrd has also canceled its planned appearance this week in Sturgis, S.D.
A statement from the band says that Rossington “has been home recovering and in good spirits” and that Skynyrd will resume its summer tour on Friday (August 11) in Virginia Beach).
Rossington has gone through several heart procedures in recent years and has continued playing, and his wife and Skynyrd backing vocalist Dale Krantz-Rossington tells us they’ve both determined this is the way it should be:
“He’s got several stents in his heart now. After his last stent we really had a serious talk about just letting it go for now and being happy to be alive. But after a few days he was just miserable and he said to me, ‘I would much rather go out kickin’ it than sitting here in my chair.’ And that was the last time we talked about it. After that we just decided to hit the road and ask for God’s mercy and do it ’til we drop. It’s just the way you do when you’ve lived it your whole life. Every musician of age will tell you that, I bet.”
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.