After thousands of live shows and 14 studio albums, Lynyrd Skynyrd is getting ready to call it quits.
Just not quite yet.
The band, which formed in Jacksonville, announced the first leg of its Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour on Thursday, with dates extending into September. But founding guitarist Gary Rossington said there will be more dates on the tour, which is intended to revisit the places where Skynyrd has played in the past.
“That’s just the first leg they announced,” Rossington said. “To do a farewell tour and go everywhere we’ve played, that’s gonna take a year or two. It might take two years or more to finish the farewell tour. So we’ll be around a while.”
The years since the band’s 1973 debut have been filled with ups and downs — number one records and sold-out stadium shows, a devastating plane crash and a revolving door of band members. Rossington said he feels it’s time to begin wrapping it up.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Rossington, 66. “It’s hard traveling at my age and I’m not in very good health these days, so it’s extra hard on me. I just wanted to go out on a high note.”
Family played a large part in the decision to bring the band to an end.
“We’re getting older and everybody’s got kids and grandkids and you miss a lot — we’ve missed a lot our whole lives because we were on the road. We want to just be with the family a little more, like anyone would.”
He said the band will go into a Nashville studio shortly to work on a new album in between shows, which are mostly played on weekends. “That way you can come home and relax a little. The road really is hard.”
The tour opens May 4 in West Palm Beach and the following night in Tampa. One city is missing from the tour so far, but Rossington said a hometown gig is definitely in the plans.
“We will be coming to Jacksonville,” he said. “You can count on that.”
Tom Szaroleta: (904) 359-4548