Down south it’s all Van Zant. If talent is genetic, then these brothers are the archetype. Each has earned success in the rock music world, and the two surviving brothers, Donnie and Johnny, continue to make music together, as well as with their own respective bands, 38 Special and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Both groups will make an appearance at Fraze this summer. For the inside scoop on these soulful southern brothers, keep on readin’!
Ronnie Van Zant was one of the founding members of Lynyrd Skynyrd until his untimely death at the age of 29 in a plane crash that claimed the lives of fellow band-mates Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines. His legacy as a talented singer/songwriter lives on in hits such as “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Gimmie Three Steps,” and “Free Bird.” During an interview before his death, Ronnie said, “To me, there’s nothing freer than a bird, you know, just flying wherever he wants to go. And, I don’t know, that’s what this country is all about, being free. I think everyone wants to be a free bird.” And essentially, that’s Ronnie’s legacy, a love for the land of the free.
Donnie Van Zant is the frontman for rock legends, 38 Special. Since 1975, the group has turned out hits such as “Hold On Loosely,” “Caught Up In You,” “If I’d Been The One,” and “Back Where You Belong.” In 2008, the group filmed a CMT Crossroads special with Trace Adkins, which received repeated airtime because it was so popular with fans.
In 1998, Donnie released an album with younger brother Johnny, aptly calling themselves Van Zant. Then, they turned out a country album in 2005, and were even able to tour together despite the demanding schedules of 38 Special and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Now, Donnie continues to tour and make music with 38 Special.
Johnny Van Zant, like his older brothers, found success in the rock music industry. During the 1970s, Johnny performed with The Austin Nickels Band, who later changed their name to The Johnny Van Zant Band. The group disbanded in the 80s, and after a brief hiatus from the music industry Johnny reunited Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1987, and has been making music with them ever since.
Johnny released another solo album in 1990 called Brickyard Road and the title track reached Number 1 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Now Johnny tends to focus his time touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd and making country records with his brother Donnie.
Be sure to catch Donnie in 38 Special on July 30th, and Johnny in Lynyrd Skynyrd on September 2nd.