Billy Gibbons Salutes Gary Rossington

SHARE NOW

ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons took time out to pay tribute to his sadly departed friend, the late-Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington. Rossington, the last remaining original member of the band, died on March 5th following years of ill-health and numerous heart procedures. ZZ Top will be on the road this summer with Skynyrd.

Gibbons told Rolling Stone, “Gary Rossington’s loss is especially profound for us as we’ve spent countless hours in his company on tour and all points in between. We facilitated getting Lynyrd Skynyrd on the bill with ZZ Top at a South Carolina date way back during the start of the band’s rise in '73, which started an enduring friendship.”

He went on to say, “Gary’s extraordinary ability as a guitarist was nothing less than inspirational. It’s an old cliché about somebody who has paid their dues to call them a 'survivor,' and it this case it is literally true. Gary was the last of the breed and will be missed.”

Not too long ago Gary Rossington told us that his numerous health scares had given him a new-found awareness of what's important in his life: “It makes you appreciate everything when something like that happens to you, like dogs, and cats, and good meals, and a great day — I notice the weather a lot now (laughs). If it's a great day, I think, 'Wow — look at this weather,' y'know? And here, I'm just thankful for everything. Everybody should be thankful like this every day.”

Rossington told us that the only ambition for Lynyrd Skynyrd upon forming was to make it to the big time: “Our dream was, all our lives — in the start of it, after we saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, y'know? — was to make it big and try and die trying. If we never made it, we'd just still be playing clubs, y'know, trying to make it big. I guess we did it.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd kicks off its next string of dates on March 12th, in Plant City, Florida at the Florida Strawberry Festival. Guitarist Damon Johnson will continue to sit in for Gary Rossington.

ROCKERS SALUTE GARY ROSSINGTON

Peter Frampton: “This cannot be! My heart breaks for Dale Rossington and the entire Skynyrd family today. We have been friends since first touring together in the 70s. We will miss you my friend. Gary Rossington RIP”

Neal Schon: “RIP Gary”

James Hetfield: “RIP Brother Gary. Thank you for bringing me so much joy with your guitar playing and songwriting in one of my all-time favorite bands, Lynyrd Skynyrd.”

Zack Wylde: “God Bless Gary Rossington”

Motörhead's Phil Campbell: “Sad news today about this man.”

Joe Bonanassa: “This has been worst week in my memory. Literally everyday another legend or friend has passed away. Rest in Peace Gary. Thank you for being so nice to me over the years.”

Bret Michaels: “I send this with all of my heart, prayers & condolences to the family, friends & fans of Gary Rossington. On behalf of my family, he brought a lot of great music & many great memories to so many people. May he rest in peace.”

Kenny Wayne Shepherd: “Rest in Peace my man. One of the best to ever do it. And thank you and Skynyrd for all the great memories on the road over the years.”

John 5: “Ever since I was a kid I have loved Lynyrd Skynyrd & Gary’s guitar playing. I was fortunate to make a lotta great music with Gary & the boys. We stayed friends for many years. I will miss you. Rest in peace brother.”

The Charlie Daniels family: “The last of the Free Birds has flown home. RIP Gary Rossington, God Bless the Lynyrd Skynyrd band. Prayers to Dale and the rest of his family. – CD, Jr. & Hazel Daniels”

The Oak Ridge Boys: “Our hearts go out tonight to our brothers in Skynyrd …. Legendary guitarist Garry Rossington has passed”

Travis Tritt: “I just learned that my dear friend, Gary Rossington passed away today. I’m heartbroken! Gary was not only a friend, but a collaborator that wrote songs with me and played guitar with me in studio recordings and onstage so many times. My heart goes out to Dale and the girls.”