Artimus Pyle, a marine, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and the Wild Man of southern rock, is one of the last surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. He played drums with the band during its seventies heyday. He is the first bandmate to write about the tortuous rise and tragic fall of the Jacksonville hell raisers, offering detailed insights into the band s complex personalities and anthemic music. Packed with anecdotes of booze-fueled violence and destruction, he also lays out the exquisite musicianship and sheer hard work that transformed Lynyrd Skynyrd into one of America s greatest rock n roll bands. It all came to an end on October 20, 1977, when four shows into a world tour to promote its new album, Street Survivors, the band s rickety private plane ran out of gas just minutes from its destination, and crashed into a Mississippi swamp. Artimus survived, but three of his bandmates including leader Ronnie Van Zant did not. Artimus recounts every moment of that flight, as well as the days leading up to the crash, and the years of painful recovery. Remarkably, he would encounter even greater challenges when he was falsely accused of horrific crimes. But Artimus is a survivor with a keen sense of humor, and he continues to perform Lynyrd Skynyrd music with just as much energy and precision as in his youth.
ARTIMUS PYLE was born in Kentucky and raised in Tennessee and Ohio. He joined the US Marines in 1968 and Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1974. He played drums on four albums, including Street Survivors, released three days before the plane crash that killed his friends Ronnie Van Zant, Steve and Cassie Gaines, and Dean Kilpatrick. He has five children, and lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina. DEAN GOODMAN (Los Angeles) is a veteran journalist, lives in Los Angeles. He is the author of Strange Days: The Adventures of a Grumpy Rock n Roll Journalist in Los Angeles.