When Lynyrd Skynyrd announced their Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour in the beginning of 2018, they didn't intend to play just a few shows can ride off in the sunset. Instead, the iconic rock band determined to cross as much of the globe as they could, as a parting gift to their loyal fans.
"When you say farewell tour, you've got to understand what that entails," guitarist Rickey Medlocke told PopCulture.com. "You just don't do the United States and call it a day. You've got to realize this band has toured all over the world, and you've got fans all over the world, so if all of the sudden we did it just for the states, what are the people in the rest around the world going to think? 'Well they snubbed us.' We don't want anybody to feel like they're left out."
Lynyrd Skynyrd covered most of the United States this year, before they get their passports ready for 2019.
"Next year we're going all the way across Canada," Medlocke revealed. "We're going all over Europe, I think a couple of times. We've got to make it to South America. We've got to make it to New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and then back here to the United States to finish up spots that we didn't get to this year. So, we've got a ways to go. I mean, anybody that thinks this is it, they need to look deeper into it because you just can't do that to the rest of the fans around the world."
Lynyrd Skynyrd is going on 50 years of being a band, which means that, in many ways, the band members have grown up along with their fans.
"Johnny [Van Zant] likes to make the comment every night, and it's a true comment, but what he says is that we're three generations going into four generation of fans," Medlocke said. "I think, and I've said this many times, what keeps people coming back all the time, tour after tour, night after night, is the music itself. The music is going to be here a lot longer after I'm gone, and all of us are gone. It's great music that has stood the test of time and it will here. So when we say it's farewell, it's not really good-bye. It's kind of goodbye to the rigorous touring schedule that we've had, that we've kept up ever since the band reunited in '87. When you go out, when you talk about going out and doing 80 to 100 shows, maybe 110 a year, that is an awful lot."
Lynyrd Skynyrd might have continued touring into the next decade, if not for original member Gary Rossington's ongoing heart issues.
"We did this because of Gary Rossington, the last founding member of the band," Medlocke explained. "In the recent years it's been pretty well publicly known that Gary's had a heart issue. And so for us, what we wanted to was, we wanted to make sure that Gary stays with us as long as possible. And, you know what? It wasn't worth losing him during heavy touring like that. He just can't do it anymore."
Lynyrd Skynyrd might be eventually coming off the road, but they aren't done making music. In fact, Medlocke hints that there is another record already in the works.
"We've got all this material laying around, and we want to try to start getting it together to get it out," the 68-year-old revealed. "To record it, we put it out, and maybe make special appearances at certain events, and maybe even do a residency in Vegas a couple of times a year, or something. But, all of us, I'm sure, have side projects that they want to get done. I know I do. And, at some point, you'll see probably what we're doing, and what we're into, and just going forward in our life."
Lynyrd Skynrd will headline the upcoming Southern Rock cruise, which sets sail on Jan. 6 from Tampa, Florida. The cruise, which will stop in both Cozumel and Progreso in Mexico, will include performances by .38 Special, the Marshall Tucker Band, Blackberry Smoke, Molly Hatchet, Jonell Moser, and many more. PopCulture.com will receive an exclusive discount to cabin prices by visiting SouthernRockCruise.com, using this link.
Photo Credit: Getty images/Denise Truscello