Ronnie Van Zant’s Threat Against Gary Rossington

In the ’70s, Lynyrd Skynyrd reached its peak in the music scene, popularizing the Southern rock genre with the songs like ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and ‘Free Bird.’ After achieving considerable success with the debut album ‘(Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd),’ the next one, ‘Second Helping,’ became the band’s breakthrough record by reaching number 12 on the Billboard 200 chart. Most of their albums sold more than one million copies during that period.

Although the band enjoyed success in its career, personal issues between the members started to arise. The drummer Bob Burns parted ways with the band as he suffered from a mental breakdown during the band’s European tour. On the other side, as their fame increased, the members’ alcohol and drug addictions also began to grow, so disputes surfaced. One night while drinking alcohol, Ronnie Van Zant threatened Ronnie Rossington and ultimately did what he had said as he started harming the guitarist’s hands. That night did not end well for the band.

Ronnie Van Zant Threatened To Cut Gary Rossington’s Hands

As Louder Sound revealed, on the night of 1975, while they were in Hamburg, the band consumed a large amount of alcohol. Ronnie Van Zant, known for his violent attitude while drunk, got mad at someone for a reason nobody could be sure of and started to swing his fists at the road manager. As everyone tried to pull him away, Van Zant got angrier. He grabbed a bottle and hit it so hard on the manager’s head that it was smashed.

Then he started threatening Gary Rossington with cutting his hands off so that he could never play guitar again. What Van Zant said was not just words as he took one of the broken bottle pieces and began to attack Rossington’s hands. There were so many cuts on the guitarist’s hands that the floor was covered in blood. The night ended in the hospital.

Ronnie Van Zant yelled at Gary Rossington:

“I’m going to cut your hands. You’re not gonna play guitar ever again.”

The next day, Rossington took his place on the stage with his hands bandaged. He occasionally had difficulty playing because of the blood flowing through the bandages. The answer to whether Van Zant apologized to him was: ‘no.’ As Rossington stated in the interview, the singer only said to him that he should get on the flight and go home the next day. However, the guitarist decided to stay and carry out his duty on the show.

Gary Rossington said the following when asked if Van Zant apologized:

“Nah. He just said, ‘Catch the first flight home tomorrow.’ I said, ‘Nah.’ And that was it. You just gotta do what you gotta do.”

In the following years, Van Zant opened up about his concerns regarding Lynyrd Skynyrd’s public image. He mentioned they did not want to be known for their violent attitudes. The rocker also revealed their willingness to change their reputation in media.