'Father' of Southern rock dead at 89

posted 2004-08-05 08:24:18 by doug

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (AP) -- Lacy Van Zant, father of members of the Southern rock bands Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special, died Tuesday of pulmonary illness. He was 89.

Van Zant died at his Jacksonville home, according to a release posted on Lynyrd Skynyrd's Web site

He was the father of Ronnie Van Zant, the founder of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Johnny Van Zant, the band's current lead singer. Ronnie Van Zant and two other band members died in a 1977 plane crash near McComb, Mississippi.

Another son, Donnie Van Zant, was a member of .38 Special.

Van Zant, known for his long beard, white hair and overalls, purchased music equipment, drove the bands to shows, lent them money and repaired their vehicles. Early versions of Lynyrd Skynyrd would practice at his home, which he later opened to fans so they could see the bands' gold and platinum records.

"He was the father of Southern rock 'n' roll, as far as I am concerned," Johnny Van Zant told The Florida Times-Union on Wednesday.

Lynyrd Skynyrd will postpone its show Friday in Louisville, Kentucky, to September 26, and its show Saturday in Greenville, Wisconsin, to August 20, according to the band's Web site.