Artimus Pyle thanks a small, but loyal crowd of Lynyrd Synyrd fans for coming
to the Southern Tribute Show on Johnny Motes farm near Gillsburg Mississippi.
Picture & Text from McComb Enterprise Journal October 8, 2002
A concert on the Mote farm, at the sight of the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash
25 years later, on Saturday October 5, 2002. Featuring Artimus Pyle,
Jay B. Elston, Russell Walker Jimmie Van Zant, & Travis Tritt
Molly Hatchett pulled out
Travis Tritt on Stage. Tritt would not let the other bands
play on his stage, saying, "they are not professional enough"
Artimus Pyle speaks to the crowd, after returning to the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash
Longtime Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle and his band signs autographs.
Picture by McComb Enterprise Journal. Bottom/Right: An autographed promotional
picture of Lynyrd Skynyrd & Artimus Pyle Band drummer Artimus Pyle.
Other APB band members includeTim Lindsey & Mike Estes (former Lynyrd Skynyrd members)
Pictures, Newspaper and Ticket Stub courtesy of Jacquelyn Sturdivant Cooper, who was there.
Artimus Pyle is an American musician who played drums with Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1974 to 1977
and from 1987 to 1991. He and his Lynyrd Skynyrd bandmates were inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. He currently tours with the Artimus Pyle Band.
Travis Tritt (2002) - Tritt's latest album, "Down The Rode I Go"
hits record stores Tuesday. The Georgia native, who's hits include
"Modern Day Bonnie & Clyde," "Trouble," "Here's A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)"
and "Country Club", has made nine albums, including Christmas and "Best Of" issues.
Jimmie Van Zant (2002) - touring in support of his first J-Birds Records
release "Southern Comfort," which includes a cover of what many believe
to be one of Skynyrd's finest songs, "Simple Man" and "Ronnie's Song,"
a tune he wrote. e in memory of his cousin. Other acts include Louisiana's
Jay B. Elston Band and Russell Walker, familiar to local music fans.
Southern Comfort: It's taken 25 years, but there's finally a concert with a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd in the area where the plane carrying one of the ultimate Southern rock bands crashed. When the plane carrying the group couldn't make it to the McComb-Pike County Airport in Fernwood on their way to a Baton Rouge Louisiana show in 1977, the pilot did the only thing he could do: Try to land with as little possible. But the plane, out of gas, sputtered down into the swampy woods of Fernwood Industries land adjoining Johnny Mote's property in Gillsburg, crashing through tall pines and falling in jagged pieces in the night. Six people were killed including three band members. Among the survivors was longtime Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle, a former marine who new about survival techniques. But this life-or-death mission was all to real. When the bleeding Pyle showed up at Mote's home - the same night Mote said there were prison escapees from Louisiana on the loose - it soon became clear to the landowner that this was no escape. The band members needed help and fast. Hours later, the dead and injured were carried out of the swampy area and whisked to hospitals throughout the area. The band, never
again the same - reformed several times with a different line up. There has been talk every since the crash that someday Lynyrd Skynyrd would play in southwest Mississippi. The band never did perform here, but it came close this summer. Mote had a deal all but sealed for the newest Lynyrd Skynyrd band to play the festival, but they backed out, as did roadmates 38 Special. Artimus Pyle, who heads the APB, the Artimus Pyle Band played at Mote's Gillsburg farm, joining an all-star lineup. The Southern Tribute featured country superstar Travis Tritt, Jimmie Van Zant, the Jay B. Elston Band and Russell Walker. Van Zant is a first cousin of the late Skynyrd frontman. The event ran from 11am until midnight.
Hurricane Lili gave farm owner Johnny Mote fits just before his Southern Tribute concert Saturday
October 5, 2002. Artimus Pyle, long time drummer for the band Lynyrd Skynyrd who's plane crashed
near the Motes property 25 years before, got knocked down quite few musical notches. It happened when personnel with headliner Travis Tritt told property owner Johnny Mote and promoter Arden Barnett that neither Pyle nor the other bands lined up to pay tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd, could play on the professional stage. It meant Pyle, the musician ran from the plane wreckage through the very field
on which he was playing, had to put his show together on a flatbed trailer at the last minute. Pyle and his band expected to play on the stage before Travis Tritt. "The professionals say we can't play on that stage" Pyle jeered. And, adding insult to injury, the drummer said Tritt's band threw Pyle's equipment from the stage. Tritt's band was the only one that didn't include songs in tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Many people, including Artimus Pyle believed that Judy Van Zant Jenness was behind many of the problems that went wrong during the day. She is the widow of the late Skynyrd singer Ronnie Van Zant. Others performing at the concert were Jay B. Elston, Russell Walker (whose show was cut short) and the Jimmie Van Zant Band. Molly Hatchet pulled out. This was the first time Pyle had been back to the Gillsburg site, and it was an emotional experience for him. "I'm here to honor the memory of Ronnie Van Zant, Steve and Cassie Gaines, Dean Kilpatrick, and the pilot and co-pilot who died here". He spoke of the feeling he had for the band members at the crash site as he ran for help. "My friends were dying; every drop of blood was a second" he said. "Cassie was one of the strongest women, I know. I was sitting right behind her. She died I didn't. Pyle's playlist, with one exception was all Skynyrd. But before it ended, he cut it short and announced that Tritt's band was threatening to pull the sound on him. He
finished the set and ended with a crowd sing-along of a couple of "Freebird" verses. An anxious group of
well-wishers rolled right past security officers, and Pyle signed autograph's, patient with each person.
Of the current Lynyrd Skynyrd band, only two original members remain; keybordist Billy Powell and guitarist Gary Rossington. Jimmie Van Zant, a cousin of the late Skynyrd frontman, made a toast to his
cousin and others who died at the nearby site with a bottle of Jack Daniels, then tossed the bottle out
into the crowd. "The thing at Johnny's farm was for closure", Pyle said.
VIDEO: Artimus Pyle on the 40th Anniversary from Nashville Tennessee. A plane crash killed the lead singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1977, and 40 years later, the drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd, Artimus Pyle, can still remember that day. He recalled the plane crash and
the effort afterwards to get help, which included him saying that he got shot by the first person he found.
Video from Nashville's News Channel 5 & YouTube.
This page was created by Pat Adams in Nashville Tennessee, with the help of Jacquelyn Cooper
in Gillsburg Mississippi (plane crash scene). Thanks to Jacquelyn for the Newspaper and Pictures!
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
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