The new Lynyrn Skynyrd documentary If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd premiered this week at the Nashville Film Festival, Rolling Stone Country has compiled a list of 10 big takeaways. Here they are:
Ronnie ticked off Mick Jagger when Lynyrd Skynrd opened for the Rolling Stones. During a UK show in 1976, Ronnie encouraged his guitarists to solo on the stage’s extending ramp–in the shape of the Stones’ famous tongue logo.
The definitive story about the band’s name. Burns says in archival footage that he suggested the moniker to the group after hearing a variant of it in the lyrics to the 1963 novelty hit “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh.”
Producer Al Kooper had a tense relationship with Ronnie. The producer says, “I hated Ronnie and I liked him at the same time…He was a very weird frontman.”
The band foraged hallucinogenic mushrooms while rehearsing at the infamous “Hell House.” Guitarist Gary Rossington says they’d find psilocybin mushrooms growing in the “cow patties” and make a pot of mushroom tea.
Burns once thought he was possessed by the devil. After seeing The Exorcist, thought his wife was the devil, his cat was the devil.” he also “went nuts” while on tour in Europe.
The band has conflicted messages over its use of the Confederate flag. In an archival interview, Ronnie says the flag was a “gimmick” employed by MCA to promote Lynyrd Skynyrd as a Southern band.
Ronnie Van Zant was in favor of gun control. “I think they ought to throw them all away,” says Ronnie, who admits he owns “an old flintlock gun that hangs over the fireplace.”
One of the first people on the scene of the plane crash was confused by what he saw. Upon looking inside the plane wreckage, Dwain Easley recalls thinking, “‘What’s a bunch of hippies doing on an airplane?’ Back in those days, hippies didn’t usually have any money.”
The band was calm and quiet as the plane was in its tragic descent. “The one thing I want the world to know about my band is how bravely my band met their death,” says drummer Artimus Pyle. “There was no panic, no chaos. Everyone was in prayer and deep thought.”
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