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Lynyrd Skynyrd eyeballing next album

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Sunday, July 3, 2011

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There may be more prototypically American ways to celebrate the Fourth of July than a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert.

But it’s hard to imagine too many.

“Yeah man, the Fourth of July to us is a great day,” says the Southern rock group’s frontman, Johnny Van Zant. “It’s independence, y’know? And we’re such big supporters of our troops and their families, and to be able to celebrate it and keep on celebrating it and hopefully we’ll be able to celebrate it the rest of my life and my kids’ lives and grandkids’ lives. ...

“We don’t take it for granted, in other words.”

And, Van Zant adds, to be in Detroit for the holiday isn’t too shabby, either.

“Peter Keys, who plays keyboards with us, he’s from Detroit (circa 2000-2009) and he asked me, ‘Have you all ever had a big gig here?’ and we said, ‘No, never’ — and that’s not just because we’re doing an interview. We’ve just never had a bad gig in Detroit. It’s always been good for us.”

Skynyrd, meanwhile, is “getting ready to” make a new album, its follow-up to 2009’s “God & Guns.” Van Zant, 51, says the band has been writing new material and foresees hitting the studio soon, although tour demands may push the date back to November or so. And the singer — the younger brother of late Skynyrd founder Ronnie Van Zant, who died in a 1977 plane crash that killed two other band members — says fans shouldn’t expect too many drastic changes this time out.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it,” Van Zant explains. “We write about things that we’ve done or things that have happened to people around us. It’s for the common people, people who have made this great country of ours. That’s what the heck I say we always write about.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Whitey Morgan & the 78’s perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 4, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $29.50-$59.50 pavilion, $18 lawn with a $54 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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