November 20, 2020 / No Comments

Madison Records Releases PYLETRIBE EP, “Ser’viver-A Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd Hall of Fame Drummer Artimus Pyle”

More than 40 years ago, a tragic plane crash ended the life of talented rock musician Ronnie Van Zant far too early, along with five others. Now, fellow Lynyrd Skynyrd band member Artimus Pyle is finally getting to tell his story the way he wants it to be told. As one of the 20 survivors and the person instrumental in getting help to the crash site, Artimus tells his story in Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash. The biopic, where Pyle narrates the story of his experience as a band member in Lynyrd Skynyrd and the tragically fateful day of the plane crash in 1977, made its debut on Amazon Prime on June 30. 

“The movie tells about how I got the gig with Skynyrd, and then progresses through to a three day span of the plane crash, explains Artimus. “We were on a 95 city world tour, going back to England for the 10th time, going to Japan for the second time, and going to Australia for the first time.  At the time of the crash, we were 5 shows into the tour when we ran out of fuel over Mississippi and spiraled in and hit the ground hard, and it killed Ronnie, which changed everything.”

“The reaction from our fans has been overwhelming,” Artimus says. “They know how difficult it was to make this movie, and they appreciate that it tells the story they’ve been wanting to know. The story is about more than the crash, it’s about the genius of Ronnie and the close personal relationship we had. I loved him like a brother and still miss him to this day.”

Being part of Lynyrd Skynyrd was a life-changing opportunity for Pyle. Not only did he form a close friendship with Van Zant, but the music he made with the band cemented his place in rock and roll history. He and the other band members were recognized for their talent in 2016 when they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“I credit my success to two main people,” says Artimus. “Charlie Daniels, who believed in me, and gave me a high recommendation to Ronnie. And of course, Ronnie, whose prolific writing and amazing talent helped propel the band to great success.”

Favorite Moments

“Reflecting back on favorite moments with Lynyrd Skynyrd, one of the most rememberable shows had to have been Knebworth, opening up for the Rolling Stones, hanging out with Paul McCartney, Todd Rundgren, and all the great players that were there that day” said Artimus. “300,000 people in attendance was a big gig but we had so many stadium shows back in those days.  We were the pioneers of arena rock with all the other great bands that were out at that time”.

“Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, Leslie Hawkins, JoJo Billingsley….now that’s a 10 person band and we were powerful,” explained Artimus. “There were so many great moments, it was always a laugh riot.  Being on the road with Lynyrd Skynyrd was really funny; every time we checked into a hotel, every time we stopped at a truck stop, every time we were backstage before and after a show, there was so much fun.  And that’s just the way it was.” 

The Next Generation

Today Artimus continues to make music and share his talent through PYLETRIBE, a band formed by his son Chris Pyle. “PYLETRIBE really has been in the making my entire life, although most of that time I was playing as a drummer in other people’s stories”, said Chris. “Then it hit me one day that I had a lot to say, so I picked up the guitar and started writing the songs, and of course I had to have my dad on drums.  Playing with my dad, who was in one of the biggest bands in the world, has been a joy.  And there’s just this natural bond that we share musically, which feels just like breathing to us when we play.  We don’t even have to think.”     

The band’s music pushes creative boundaries and introduces a percussion-influenced style inspired by Chris and his travels.  “When I was 16, I moved to Jerusalem where I became fascinated by the traditional Arabic and Jewish music,” Chris says.  “My interest in world music continued to grow during my early 20s while living in New York, where I was exposed to a lot of Latin, African, and Indian music.”  Chris then set out to travel around the world in search of more music, spending time in Nepal and Ghana. “That’s where my dream came true and I was able to play drums with a tribe in the middle of the jungle,” Chris says. “It hit me in a very deep spot in my soul, and I find I’m trying to interweave those ancient rhythms into my southern rock roots in my own music.”

The Music of the Movie

Madison Records recently released PYLETRIBE Ser’viver, an album which contains three tracks featured in the Street Survivors movie. “Chris is an incredibly talented musician and songwriter, and I know Ronnie would be proud of him,” Artimus says. “It was a great opportunity for Chris as he wanted to get the story told as much as I did, and he learned that perseverance and patience will always prevail.”

The music on the PYLETRIBE EP directly addresses specific events and people, serving as a real companion to the movie. “The first track ‘Curse’ is about finding love in your heart when people keep doing you wrong,” said Chris.  “And ‘Black Creek’ is a very personal song for my family.  My dad had people turn their backs on him, but he held his head high and proved that he is a true survivor.”

In addition to the three songs, Ser’viver also features three commentary tracks by Artimus Pyle, which were mixed at Madison Studios by Wyatt Oates and Tanner Hendon.  Artimus shares his insights and experiences he had with Lynyrd Skynyrd, as well as his thoughts on making the movie.

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