Hurricane Lili gave
farm owner
Johnny Mote fits
just before his
Southern Tribute
concert Saturday
October 5, 2002.  
Artimus  Pyle
, long
time drummer for the
Lynyrd Skynyrd
who's plane  crashed
near the Motes
property 25 years
before, got knocked
down quite few
musical notches.
It happened when
personnel with
Travis Tritt told
property owner
Johnny Mote and
promoter Arden
Barnett that neither
Pyle nor the other
bands lined up to pay
tribute to Lynyrd
Skynyrd, could play
on the professional
It meant Pyle, the
musician ran from
the plane  wreckage
through the very field
on which he was
playing, had to put
his show together on
a flatbed trailer at the
last minute.
Pyle and his band
expected to play on
the stage before
Travis Tritt.
"The professionals
say we can't play on
that stage"
Pyle jeered. And,
adding insult to
injury, the drummer
said Tritt's band
threw Pyle's
equipment  from the
stage. Tritt's band
was the only one that
didn't include songs
in tribute to
Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Many people,
including Artimus
Pyle believed that
Judy Van Zant
Jenness was behind
many of the problems
that went wrong
during the day. She
is the widow of the
late Skynyrd singer
Ronnie Van Zant.
Others performing
at the concert were
Jay B. Elston,
Russell Walker
(whose show was cut
short) and the

Jimmie Van Zant
. Molly
out.This was the first
time Pyle had been
back to the Gillsburg
site, and it was an
emotional experience
for him. "I'm here to
honor the memory of
Ronnie Van Zant,
Steve and
Cassie Gaines,
Dean Kilpatrick,
and the pilot and
co-pilot who died
here". He spoke of
the feeling he had for
the band members at
the crash site as he
ran for help."My
friends were dying;
every drop of blood
was a second" he
said. "Cassie was
one of the strongest
I know. I was sitting
right behind her.
She died I didn't.
Pyle's playlist, with
one exception was all
Skynyrd. But before it
ended, he cut it short
and announced that
Tritt's band was
threatening to pull
the sound on him. He
finished the set and
ended with a crowd
sing-along of a
couple of "Freebird"
An anxious group of
well-wishers rolled
right past security
officers, and Pyle
signed autograph's,
patient with each
Of the current Lynyrd
Skynyrd band, only
two original members
remain; keybordist
Billy Powell
and guitarist
Gary Rossington.
Jimmie Van Zant,
a cousin of the late
Skynyrd frontman,
made a toast to his
cousin and others
who died at the
nearby site
with a bottle of
Jack Daniels, then
tossed the bottle out
into the crowd.
"The thing at
Johnny's farm was for
closure", Pyle said.
Text and some of the Images from the McComb Mississippi, Enterprise-Journal
Southern Tribute (2002) Concert in Gillsburg Mississippi
Artimus Pyle & others at the Plane Crash Site
A concert on the
Mote farm, at the
sight of the Lynyrd
Skynyrd plane crash
25 years later,
on Saturday
October 5, 2002
Jay B. Elston
Russell Walker
Jimmie Van Zant
Artimus Pyle
& Travis Tritt
Left: Longtime Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle signs autographs.
Picture by McComb Enterprise Journal.
Right: An autographed promotional
of Lynyrd Skynyrd & Artimus Pyle Band drummer Artimus Pyle
An APB (Artimus Pyle Band)
member signs autographs
behind the trailer stage
Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane
crashed at the site
on October 20, 1977
Click on Images to Enlarge
Jacquelyn &
Terry Cooper
at the concert
Above: Local residents
Jimmie & "Pop" Gerrit
Click on Images to Enlarge
Travis Tritt
on Stage
Tritt would not let the other
bands play on this stage, saying,
"they are not professional enough"
Thanks to Jacquelyn Cooper for pictures
& information.
Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane
crashed on her families property,
in the woods behind the house
Southern Comfort:
It's taken 25 years, but
there's finally a concert with
a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd in
the area where the plane
carrying one of the ultimate
Southern rock bands
crashed. When the plane
carrying the group couldn't
make it to the McComb-Pike
County Airport in Fernwood
on their way to a Baton
Rouge Louisiana show in
1977, the pilot did the only
thing he could do: Try to land
with as little possible.
But the plane, out of gas,
sputtered down into the swampy woods of Fernwood Industries land adjoining
Johnny Mote's property in Gillsburg, crashing through tall pines and falling in jagged
pieces in the night. Six people were killed including three band members. Among the
survivors was longtime Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle, a former marine who new about
survival techniques. But this life-or-death mission was all to real. When the bleeding Pyle
showed up at Mote's home - the same night Mote said there were prison escapees from
Louisiana on the loose - it soon became clear to the landowner that this was no escape.
The band members needed help and fast. Hours later, the dead and injured were carried
out of the swampy area and whisked to hospitals throughout the area. The band, never
again the same - reformed several times with a different line up. There has been talk
every since the crash that someday Lynyrd Skynyrd would play in southwest Mississippi.
The band never did perform here, but it came close this summer. Mote had a deal all but
sealed for the newest Lynyrd Skynyrd band to play the festival, but they backed out, as did
roadmates 38 Special. Artimus Pyle, who heads the APB, the Artimus Pyle Band played
at Mote's Gillsburg farm, joining an all-star lineup. The Southern Tribute featured country
superstar Travis Tritt, Jimmie Van Zant, the Jay B. Elston Band and Russell Walker. Van
Zant is a first cousin of the late Skynyrd frontman. The event ran from 11am until midnight.
Concert Lineup:
Travis Tritt (2002) - Tritt's
latest album, "Down The
Rode I Go" hit record
stores Tuesday. The
Georgia native, who's hits
include "Modern Day
Bonnie & Clyde,"
"Trouble," "Here's A
Quarter (Call Someone
Who Cares)" and "Country
Club", has made nine
albums, including
Christmas and
"Best Of" issues.
Jimmie Van Zant (2002) - touring in support of his first J-Birds Records
release "Southern Comfort," which includes a cover of what many believe
to be one of Skynyrd's finest songs, "Simple Man" and "Ronnie's Song,"
a tune he wrote in memory of his cousin.
Other acts include Louisiana's
Jay B. Elston Band and Russell Walker, familiar to local music fans.
Johnny Mote
Artimus Pyle thanks a small, but loyal crowd of Lynyrd Synyrd fans for coming
to the
Southern Tribute Show on Johnny Motes farm near Gillsburg Mississippi.
Molley Hatchet, scheduled to appear at the tribute, pulled out because of Hurricane Lili.
Above: Pictures & Text from McComb Enterprise Journal October 8, 2002
Below: Former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer and plane crash survivor
Artimus Pyle speaks to the crowd. His band, the Artimus Pyle Band
featured former Skynyrd members (after the plane crash)
Tim Lindsey on bass and Mike Estes on guitar.
Search this website

Website by Pat Adams.
Web site by Pat Adams
in Nashville Tennessee,
with the help of
Jacquelyn Cooper
in Mississippi (plane
crash scene)
Web sites include:
Nashville Tennessee
Pyle served in the
Military from 1967-71
as a sergeant
in aviation. He joined
Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1974.
He survived the 1977
plane crash that killed
Ronnie Van Zant, Cassie
Gaines and Steve
Gaines. Pyle emerged
from the aircraft
wreckage with several
broken ribs and joined
others traveling several
hundred yards on foot to
a farmhouse to try to get
help. The appearance of
Pyle and his companions
alarmed the residents of
the farmhouse, who
greeted them with guns
and demanded they
leave the premises.
Eventually the Gillsburg
Volunteer Fire
Department arrived and
assured the occupants
that the men were
survivors of a plane-
crash. Varying accounts
have the farmer's son
either firing a warning
shot into the air or
actually shooting Pyle
in the shoulder with an
air rifle.

After the crash In 1982
Pyle began touring with
the Artimus Pyle Band
(A.P.B.) including
Darryl Otis Smith,
John Boerstler, and
Steve Lockhart.
A.P.B.'s albums include
A.P.B. (1981),
Nightcaller (1983) and
Live From Planet Earth

Pyle took part in the
Skynyrd Tribute Tour
and joined the reformed
Lynyrd Skynyrd in
recording Lynyrd
Skynyrd 1991 before
departing the band
during a show in Toronto
in August 1991.
Pyle currently plays solo
and with various
musicians, including
previous members of
Lynyrd Skynyrd and
Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute
In 2007, Pyle released a
solo album, Artimus
Venomus, on Storm Dog
Records Group /
Cleopatra Records.

In 2007, Pyle was
touring with the band
Deep South.

Pyle currently resides
in Floyd, Virginia. He
occasionally plays with
a southern rock band
known as The Floyd
County Rangers.

On Nov. 22, 2010 Pyle
appeared at the Another
One For Woody benefit
concert at New York's
Roseland Ballroom,
performing the Skynyrd
song ‘Simple Man’
with Gov't Mule.
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Tribute Menu
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