Artimus Pyle On Surviving Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash: ‘My Friends Met Their Deaths With Honor’

Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle spoke about his late bandmates and the 1977 plane crash. The rocker appeared on WKRN News 2 to discuss his music journey, where he also discussed the day their plane crashed and opened up about being one of the survivors.

Pyle was asked about the experience of going through a plane crash in which most of the original Lynyrd Skynyrd members passed away.

“When we lost both engines, and it was very quiet, everybody was in prayer. My friends met their deaths with honor and dignity, and bravery. We knew we were going down, and it wasn’t gonna be good. I literally choked up, but I think about it every day, and there is not a day that goes by.”

The drummer shared how he decided to make his latest album that consists of the band’s classics:

“But I just decided I didn’t wanna be sad about it anymore. I wanted to celebrate the music and celebrate life because in your family, in all of our families, our people would want us to live life to its fullest.”

The interviewer shared Pyle’s quote about the band saving his life. He affirmed that it indeed saved his life and continued:

“It did. Being the drummer of Lynyrd Skynyrd saved my life because everybody has ups and downs. I’ve had some ups and downs like everybody else. Being the drummer of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the music and the strength that I find in it playing it every time I’m playing it, I’m not thinking about something else. I’m thinking about each song, I’m thinking about my members both up here [points up] and the guys on stage with me and all the bands that I’ve played with.”

As a result of the crash, Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist and vocalist Steve Gaines, backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, Captain Walter McCreary, and First Officer William John Gray passed away. Years later, the crash was detailed in a biographical 2020 movie, ‘Street Survivors,’ with Pyle telling about his experience.

Now, the drummer is still making music with his band, Artimus Pyle Band, for which an album release date was recently announced. In the upcoming album, ‘Anthems,’ the drummer paired with names like Dolly Parton, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sammy Hagar, and more to honor his late bandmates, duetting Lynyrd Skynyrd classics.

The album is scheduled to drop on February 2, 2024, with a track released on October 20, marking the 46th anniversary of the plane crash.

You can see the latest interview below.