Damon Johnson Updates Lynyrd Skynyrd Icon Gary Rossington’s Health Status
During a new conversation with Ultimate Classic Rock, Thin Lizzy guitarist Damon Johnson revealed that he recently had a chance to play with Gary Rossington in rehearsals, and he seemed very healthy.
Lynyrd Skynyrd rhythm guitarist Gary Rossington started battling health problems when he suffered a heart attack in 2015. He underwent surgery following the incident. Later on, he again underwent an operation to repair a leaky heart valve in 2019. Lynyrd Skynyrd had to postpone several shows after the 2019 surgery, and Rossington stayed away from the stage for a while.
These wouldn’t be the only heart problems he faced, though. In July 2021, Lynyrd Skynyrd shared a statement and announced that the guitarist had undergone emergency heart surgery and was at home recovering from the procedure. The incident didn’t change the band’s plans as they continued with scheduled shows. Gary Rossington will finally return to the stage at the band’s concert in a few days.
Damon Johnson, who temporarily replaced Rossington in Lynyrd Skynyrd, was asked whether he had a chance to play with him in rehearsals. Johnson said they just played last week and made some arrangements regarding the upcoming shows. Johnson will be playing the first half of the shows, and Rossington will join them halfway. Damon Johnson revealed that Gary Rossington seemed very healthy and sounded terrific in rehearsals.
When asked whether he had a chance to play with Gary Rossington, Johnson replied:
“Yeah, man. Honestly, it just happened last week. We had three days of rehearsal. Basically, what we’ve planned is, on the shows that he comes to and wants to play, I’ll do the first half of the set. Then, he’s going to come out halfway through. There’s a little segment where we’re going to play acoustic. We’re going to do a couple of blues songs from the first record. So he’s going to play his electric, and the rest of us are on an acoustic guitar.
Then, when the band transitioned to full electric, he asked me if I would stay up there. He wants me to be on stage with him and everybody. So again, man, what an honor to be asked to do that. I said, ‘Listen, man, whatever you want, the answer is yes.’ I’ll probably play acoustic and be there to have that extra energy on stage. But, you know, he was in great spirits. Honestly, he looked and sounded healthier than he has. He played his a** off and just sounded fantastic.”
On April 9, 2022, Lynyrd Skynyrd launched their ‘Big Wheels Keep on Turnin’ Tour‘ in Scottsdale, Arizona. The band continues to add new dates to the tour. Gary Rossington will join the band on their fourth show in Fort Campbell on May 21.