Damon Johnson On Joining Lynyrd Skynyrd As Gary Rossington’s Replacement

Thin Lizzy guitarist Damon Johnson recently spoke to Ultimate Classic Rock and reflected on joining Lynyrd Skynyrd to replace Gary Rossington temporarily.

Damon Johnson has been very active in his music career in recent years. Besides being a Thin Lizzy and Brother Cane member, he has also pursued a solo career. The guitarist released his latest solo studio album, ‘Battle Lessons,’ in 2020. Brother Cane, Johnson co-founded with bassist Glenn Maxey, had disbanded after releasing three studio albums. However, the band’s musical journey didn’t entirely end afterward.

They reunited in 2005 for a few concert shows and again in 2011 for a brief tour. The band is now active again and plans to tour in 2023. Besides all these occupations, Damon Johnson has also been performing with Lynyrd Skynyrd since 2021 as a temporary replacement for Gary Rossington. The latter has gone through some health problems in recent years but finally joined the band on stage on May 21.

During a recent interview, the guitarist reflected on his upcoming plans and experiences with Lynyrd Skynyrd on stage. Damon Johnson revealed that he has no complaints about stepping back and forth between Brother Cane and Lynyrd Skynyrd at the moment. His tenure within Lynyrd Skynyrd helped him introduce Brother Cane to a larger audience. When his bandmate, Johnny Van Zandt, presented him in front of all these people, they quickly turned to their phones to see who he was.

Johnson speaking on how it is to perform with Lynyrd Skynyrd:

“There’s no question that the Skynyrd situation is part of our weekly meetings, Kevin and I. They’re already looking at doing shows in 2023, but they wouldn’t get fired until the summer of next year. So there’s this poetic beauty about getting to step back and forth between Brother Cane and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Skynyrd is this built-in promotion for Brother Cane!

Johnny Van Zant introduces me every night in front of 10 to 20 thousand people and says, ‘This is our friend, Damon Johnson, stepping in to help us out for Gary Rossington from Brother Cane.’ You can almost see people look straight to their phones, like, ‘I’ve got to look this guy up!’ And then they go, ‘Oh yeah!'”

On April 9, 2022, Lynyrd Skynyrd launched their ‘Big Wheels Keep on Turnin’ Tour’ in Scottsdale, Arizona. They will continue to play across the United States until September 26, but they can still add new dates to the tour.