In a new appearance on Ultimate Classic Rock, classic Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer, Artimus Pyle, discussed his current relationship with the band members by taking them back to the band’s unfortunate plane crash, which was killed the band’s lead singer, and explained why he refused to play on their farewell tour.
While they were talking about the issue, he recalled his getting shot by the farmer, Johnny Mote, and shared the true story. He said:
“It’s exactly what happened. There’s a lot of controversy about me getting shot. The farmer, Johnny Mote, when he was interviewed by Jake Tapper for VH1, said, ‘Did you have a gun?’ Johnny said yeah. He said, ‘Did you come out of your cabin and point it at Artimus?’ He said yes.
“He said, ‘Did you pull the trigger?’ Johnny said yes. And Jake said, ‘Well, how can you say you didn’t shoot him?’ And Johnny, I think his reaction was, ‘Well, it must have been a ricochet.’ My reaction to that is: I don’t give a damn what he thought it was. I was in shock from the plane crash; I was injured.
“I heard a gunshot. I saw the gun. I felt something sting me, and I fell to the ground. I don’t care if it was a ricochet. That’s his problem. I got hit with something, and he just doesn’t want to admit the truth.
“But he did to Jake Tapper. And Jake saw that the guy was trying to cover up. Just like when Jake Tapper interviewed Judy Van Zant and the rest of the band members, Billy Powell and Gary, he could tell that they were not telling the truth and that they were covering up.
“So, at the end of that documentary, which is called Uncivil War, Jake totally sides [with me] and says, ‘Poor Artimus, you know the guy has saved lives and is a hard-working member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, yet they steal all of his money and don’t allow him to be a part of the band.’
“Everything that was portrayed in the movie happened, and there’s only a couple of little things that happened to a degree. But it’s an accurate portrayal. As I say in the beginning of the movie, some people that were on the plane have a totally different recollection.”
“But I was never knocked unconscious, and I remember everything that happened. It is what it is, and, as far as I’m concerned, from now on that is the story. Maybe we didn’t have the exact right plane, maybe there’s a couple of sequencing things, but we had to do things that way.
“I was trying to tell the story of the day before, the day of and the day after the plane crash. So we had to compress a lot of time. If we did everything in proper sequencing, the movie would be a 10-part, two-hour-per-part miniseries.
“The fact is Judy Van Zant came up to me one day to try to get information from me and said that she wanted me to be a part of the forever farewell tour that they’re doing. I said the only way I would do it is if I came out and played at least seven songs.”
He continued his words by criticizing Lynyrd Skynyrd and made harsh comments about the band. He touched the drummers that they included in the band and said that they were bad.
“I’m not gonna wave at the crowd after ‘Free Bird’ like a party monkey. I will play with the band or I don’t want to be there. Besides, who is that band? I don’t know them. They call themselves Lynyrd Skynyrd. They’re not. They don’t play the music right.
“The 15 drummers they’ve gotten since I left, they can’t play the drums properly. They can’t play the parts, and if you can’t play the parts, you should get someone who can. They cut my parts in half.
“So, I don’t want to be a part of a farewell tour where they’re fleecing the fans, going back to cities two and three times. It’s supposed to be the farewell tour. All they care about is money.”
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