Gary Rossington

Lynyrd Skynyrd legend Gary Rossington has been talking to Premier Guitar about his new album with wife Dale Krantz-Rossington, plus his ongoing dates with Lynyrd Skynyrd and the “perfect” Gibson Les Paul.

2016 was a major year for Rossington: as well as the new album, Take it on Faith, he also recovered from two heart attacks – one in October 2015 and one this past summer. But he’s also still on a crusade to keep classic Lynyrd Skynyrd songs alive on the road.

 “All these years later, ‘Freebird’ and some of these songs have taken on an anthem-like feel,” Rossington understandably says. “Everybody yells out ‘Freebird’ or ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’ I’m the only one left that gets to tell about it... I’m gonna keep on going until I can’t.”

Of his new album with Dale he says, Most of them were blues songs, and blues never changes. You can play blues from way back in the day until now... We just did it with tape, analog, you know? Put down a basic, overdubbed a little bit, and ‘boom,’ there it was. For blues, that’s the best way. But we did a little Pro Tools for tuning up things and moving things and this and that.”

Gary Rossington

When it comes to guitars, Rossington doesn’t change much. He doesn’t need to, and nor he does he want to.

I always use Les Pauls,” he says. “With Skynyrd, I always used my ’59 Les Paul the whole time until 1977. I just use reissue Les Paul Standards now. They’re still old and good.”

And his perfect Les Paul, of all the variations?

“To me, it’s the Les Paul Standard,” Rossington says. “Humbucking pickups are great. I love the warm tones that you can get, and if you turn the treble up really high on the amp, you can get kind of a Fender sound, too, with a Les Paul. But you can’t get a Les Paul sound with a Fender. I always liked Gibson—really because of Keith Richards and Brian Jones. Way back when I was learning to play, they had Les Pauls. I saw them on The Red Skelton Show and I just fell in love with that guitar.”

Read the full interview at Premier Guitar.

Photos by Travis Shinn