The Lynyrd Skynyrd Band and the Holy Land
Once upon a time there was a large Woodstock Festival gracing the field of Jerusalem’s Kraft Stadium gathering sometimes over 1000 spectators to see the best of Israel’s rock tribute bands usually brought in from outside of Jerusalem. One of the bands that frequented the stage every year of this festival was Long Time Gone performing the best of Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Doors, Credence Clearwater Revival and more. The last year of the festival this band requested to perform a tribute to one of the worlds most famed rock bands, Lynyrd Skynyrd, but was told that no one in Israel would recognize them and they were turned down.
I’m excited to say that the newest Woodstock Festivals that I initiated over seven years ago after the original WS events ended, not only include many local bands, this year will feature Israel’s first Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band “Alabama”! This controversial band which typically performed in front of the Confederate Flag, until recently, has been accused of representing the racist South of yesteryear. There are many theories about this and Skynyrd’s original singer and songwriter Ronny Van Zant’s actual attitude about the South. When he sings “In Birmingham they loved the governor “Boo Boo Boo” he seems to be conceding that George Wallace had negative attitudes. He also seems to be against popular gun possession which is typically known to be supported in the South when he states in his song “Saturday Night Special” that killing is all that guns are good for. Sometimes it’s hard to determine what is said in honesty and what is said tongue and cheek. Either way, the South and what it stood for is a reality of American History and whatever Van Zant and his band actually believed seems irrelevant. They are just stating what has been felt and thought about for decades, a fact we need never forget and can’t be forgotten even with the tearing down of General Stonewall Jackson’s statue. Whose idea was that anyway? Oh and by the way, it was not Skynyrd that decided to put a Confederate Flag on the stage with them, it was their recording studio MCA Records!
Back to Jerusalem and an interesting fact connecting Skynyrd to Jerusalem. In the 1980s Artimus Pyle, Skynyrd’s drummer decided to move to Jerusalem for a few years and actually studied at the Diaspora Yeshiva in the Old City. No, he wasn’t Jewish but something compelled him to take his spiritual journey among us Jerusalemites next to King David’s Tomb this king known for psalms speaking to those of all races and religions. Rumor has it he even left his drums at the Yeshiva for their use. Yay Artimus!
I only remember two tragic incidents that I heard on the radio and where I was at the time. One was Rabin’s assassination and the other the plane crash that killed three members of the Skynyrd band. I was crushed by both of these events and never forgot how I felt when I heard the news.
It’s hard to explain why certain bands and types of music speak to us but, when it came to Lynyrd Skynyrd I was hooked from their first song “Don’t Give Me A Hard Time Tonight”. Though I was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, not exactly the South, I connected to their Southern sound and in Chesterland Ohio hanging out at the local dive bar in my later years we were about as Country as we could be and guess what? I’m proud of that!
My Cleveland “brothers” looking so much like the Van Zants photo by Tracey Shipley
I must say, this brand new band that I am excited to say I initiated and recruited most of the members for, blew me away when I heard their last recording. Closing my eyes I could picture the original members of the band with or without the Confederate Flag “gracing” the stage behind them. This band may have originated in Jacksonville Florida but they seem to have a grasp of the attitude of the entire South which ironically gets more Southern as you travel north up to Georgia and the Mississippi!
Join us Thursday August 24th to hear the best of Skynyrd, Led Zepplin and Jimi Hendrix as well as Spare Parts with their fantastic assortment of rock’s greatest hits. And yes, once again Hendrix will be performed by none other than Israel’s own Jimi Hendrix Shlomo Mizrachi! https://www.facebook.com/events/613129387522624?acontext=%7B%22event_action_history%22%3A[%7B%22mechanism%22%3A%22your_upcoming_events_unit%22%2C%22surface%22%3A%22bookmark%22%7D]%2C%22ref_notif_type%22%3Anull%7D
Tickets only 60 shekels in advance and 65 shekels at the door. And of course the festival will take place at our favorite venue, The Silo Café in the parking lot of the First Station. Contact me for more details Tracey 0548108918 and advance tickets can be purchased through bit to the same number. Hope to see you there. It will be an Epic event!!!