Lynyrd Skynyrd ready to rock

CHRIS THOMPSON
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014
Chris Collins

GUITAR MAESTRO: Rickey Medlocke, back left, is in the Lynyrd Skynyrd lineup coming to Matakana.

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When guitarist Rickey Medlocke and the rest of Florida southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd walk on stage at the Matakana Country Park Summer Concert, it'll be their first New Zealand tour.

Together with English art rock band 10cc - one of Medlocke's favourite bands - and American rockers Starship, Lynyrd Skynyrd is set to play there on Sunday.

Lead guitarist Rickey Medlocke spoke to the Rodney Times from his studio in Fort Myers, Florida.

"We are so excited and so looking forward to this," he says.

"Everybody's really getting geared up for and talking about it.

"We're just excited to be coming to that part of the world and bringing Lynyrd Skynyrd music there for the very first time."

Medlocke, who was born and raised in Jacksonville, where the original Lynyrd Skynyrd band is from, has had two spells with the band.

A member of the original southern rock band Blackfoot, Medlocke first switched to Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1971 when lead singer Ronnie Van Zant needed a drummer.

He features in the posthumous Skynyrd's First . . .and Last and Street Survivors albums.

He returned to Blackfoot in 1972 as vocalist and guitarist, making eight albums before his 1996 return to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Three band members were killed in a plane crash in Mississippi in 1977, including Ronnie Van Zant. The only founding member in the band is guitarist Gary Rossington.

Although Medlocke is skilled at a range of instruments, the six-string is his real calling.

"The guitar has been such a part of my life. I started playing when I was 5-years-old. It never ceases to amaze me that when I pick up a guitar I feel like I'm 17 again.

"I pick up the guitar every day and I play it for an hour. You never stop learning in your life."

Medlocke, who turns 64 two days after the last show of the tour in Queenstown, is well-known by fans for his high on-stage energy.

"‘Personally, I put out so much energy when we perform. It's very important for us to be 100 per cent on it.

The Matakana Country Park Summer Concert is on Sunday with performances by Lynyrd Skynyrd, 10cc and Starship following Wanaka-born Jody Direen at 11.30am.

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- Rodney Times

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