Ronnie Van Zant

by Regis Boff

A friend from a long time ago sent me this picture of Lynyrd Skynyrd​ with me in it.
Ronnie and I started delicately, with him throwing a nearly empty bottle of Jack Daniels at me.
I watched his little brother coldcock his father in front of the stage as they were finishing a sound check. His father had been dancing on the floor.
I remember looking at Skynyrd’s audience from the stage on a hot, dusty afternoon in Texas at a stadium show and realizing for the first time how big they were. And how loved. Even the women were tough motherfuckers.
One morning while waiting for the last band member to get to the lobby so we could leave Ronnie headed back into the elevator coming back down a few minutes later. When the door opened, the guitarist flew out face first, tumbling awkwardly and looking very embarrassed.
I followed Ronnie to one of the cars. After a few minutes of silence, I asked him what happened. He looked at me and said, ” Late.”