Lynyrd Skynyrd: 'Nowadays Every Song That Can Be Written Has Been Written'

"You hear a lot of the songs from yesterday in the songs of today," says guitarist Rickey Medlocke.

Ultimate Guitar

The fact that rock veterans are often able to pull in way bigger crowds than their younger peers isn't something new in the rock world. Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Rickey Medlocke recently touched on such state of affairs, explaining that the freshness aspect played a major role for Skynyrd and similar acts to reach the classics plateau. "It takes four or five decent contemporary bands to get anywhere near a full house for a particular bill," he told Seacoast Online. "With us, we sell it cold. You have to look back and think, 'wow...;' there's a lot of substance to that music.""I'm not putting anybody down, I'm just saying, back then it was virgin territory. Every song that could be written had not been written yet. Nowadays every song that can be written has been written. You hear a lot of the songs from yesterday in the songs of today." Medlocke then reminisced the old days, saying, "From my perspective, those roots, those early beginnings — the beginnings of Skynyrd ... this thing is timeless man. These songs will be here long after we're gone." And speaking of timeless Skynyrd tunes, Rickey addressed the band's staple rock classic "Free Bird," giving its author, late guitairst Allen Collins, nothing but kudos. "I've been playing 'Free Bird' now - the solo to that thing - I've been playing it for about 18 years now," he said. "Pretty much three or four times longer than Allen ever did. I hope that one day I'll meet him on the other side and will have the opportunity to shake his hand and say, 'Thank you brother, you wrote a hell of a song.'"

59 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Speaking as a guitarist and composer, it's really difficult come up with something "new", I can only write something "fresh". Of course this might be due to a lack of genius on my side, but I think there are millions out there who struggle with the same problem
    I strongly disagree. We're not even close. Just because popular music is stuck in a rut doesn't mean we're done writing original material.
    Exactly. Also, there are still many musicians who manage to make some very original and good music, look at Porcupine Tree, IAMX, Tool ffs!
    After reading this, I have the urge to strap Rickey to a chair and make him listen to Animals as Leaders for a few hours
    unfortunately, original music is over come by popular music, plenty of genius' out there that will never be heard, they may be playing underground shows or im someones garage, never given a chance.
    On the contrary I'd say we're in an easier state for "genius". Decent recording gear is cheap. Virtual instruments can be cheaper. And you can globally distribute your music at no cost in only a few clicks. The only counter to it is that there's so much that it's still hard to be the one that sticks above the rest, and I don't think that problem is possible to fix, but I still say the opportunity is bigger.
    That man is absolutely right. Nowadays when you hear a band, even a great one, there's often something like "It reminds me a lot of (insert 3-4 famous bands)" or "They are like a modern (insert a band)".
    This is so true. Over the last 30/40 years all the music that we can make has been exhausted. Electronic music was the last major advancement in music. Maybe im wrong.. maybe we'll be playing guitars with our brains in 2034. who knows.
    A guitarist using their brain? ain't gonna happen :pBut in all seriousness, there's only 12 notes (in western music) and only so many combinations of them that sound good together; overlap is bound to happen. Electronic music just had different tonalities of the same notes. I still think there's fresh music to be made though, human creativity is limitless.
    "Only 12 notes in western music". That phrase is really all you need to sum up this whole issue. Of course he's right about this, and i'm sure there was older people saying the same thing around the time Skynyrd was starting out.
    Sorry for the large block of text; apparently UG doesn't want paragraph structure to work for news comments. Yeah, people are going to keep coming up with new ideas. I hear this "there are only 12 notes in western music" argument a lot, and it really is way more complicated than that. This doesn't take rhythmic values and timbre (along with other things like musical form and lyrical content) into consideration at all. This is like trying to explain the concept of 3D to somebody and neglecting to mention anything about width and height/depth. I don't think it's that hard to assemble a decent, unique musical idea. However, it seems like most people like music to fit into certain genres; many are disappointed when someone makes something outside of what's expected of them. However, in a certain sense it's really convenient that people generally like hearing the same kind of music over and over- they're easy to please because you already know what they want to listen to! That's not necessarily a bad thing.
    Original music tends to be more underground these days. People who listen to mainstream bands tend to stick to what they know and like IMO.
    What is mainstream these days though? It's pretty hard to define I think. Cause in the rock world the new metallica album will probably become mainstream, but their song's will not make the Top40 in any country, since One Direction dominates those kinds of lists.
    no. a band like metallica will be in top 40 man are you kidding. literally like their past what 6 albums have all topped the charts upon release?
    So wrong. Everybody has always said that. And every now and then a new genre is invented. For example dubstep is a pretty new genre. Pop music has really existed only for about 50-60 years. And 60 years in the history of music isn't a lot. Also, people shouldn't try to be different. They should just listen to lots of music and get lots of influences. You can't really create anything completely original. Everybody has their influences. I'm sure Lynyrd Skynyrd (even though I don't really know their music) was heavily influenced by some band and I'm sure you can hear similarities in their music. My point is, you can't create anything completely new. Starting a "new" genre takes time. And even if you start a new genre, you still have influences from other genres. Genres develop slowly. For example Black Sabbath kind of invented heavy metal. But their music wasn't that far away from blues and rock. But then some other bands started developing what Black Sabbath had started and the genre developed and now sounds pretty different. Also you just can't know which songs will be remembered ten years later. You'll only know that after ten years.
    Well said, sure you only have so many scales and chords, but it's what you do with them that counts, like you said with Black Sabbath, their music came from Blues and Rock, but the way they approached it is was what made them groundbreaking.
    "Everything that can be invented has already been invented" Edward Bruce Moore, Director of the United States Patent Office.
    The man has a point, but everyone has their influences that they want to and are gonna sound like. They just put their own spin on it. Its been that way for a long time. It's not all like new A7X where you can pinpoint what everything sounds just like.
    I kind of agree, all these shitty chart bands are rehashing old riffs and ****ing them up disgracefully.
    Chart music does not represent modern music as a whole.
    No matter what position those artists on the billboard charts are in, their music will always be terrible and tasteless
    That's a classic artist's take on modern music. When Led Zeppelin was modern they were getting flack for sounding like this blues guy or that jazz guy or this country outfit. There are only so many emotions that a person can feel. Eventually 2 people have to write about love, happiness, sadness, anger, pity, remorse, excitement, etc.
    I think it's more about musical structure than lyrical content. Emotion doesn't really come into it, there are far more songs than there are emotions.
    Think about what you are saying. Most people are simple minded and dont really care about originality or technical skill, they like music that is catchy and simple. All simple pop Music has already been writen because there are only so many simple combination of sounds that are naturally pleasing to the human ear so its really impossible to write truly original chart music. Saying the todays music sucks is a very ignorant, cliched thing to say. People who say that have either never heard any good new music, because the only thing they hear is pop on the radio or they are just closed minded and only open to music that sounds like what they already know.
    I disagree with the idea that the Skynard guitarists is trying to convey.Looking at the era of when Skynard was breaking new ground compared to today,there are way to few people with a true variety of influence in their playing in this day and age,everyone wants that awesome ground breaking stuff to come easy,,it just dosent.True devotion to the craft will get you very far,,,but who has time or patience for that these days right?
    You gotta love bold statements like this from people who obviously don't dig through the surface of mainstream music to hear new original music...
    Mr Winters
    These old rockstars need to stop thinking they're the hottest shit and realize times change.
    4-5 bands to sell out? Skynyrd play casinos and small venues. There are lots of newer bands that can sell out arenas.
    I'd say about 80-90% of tours in Australia sell out most venues. Most of those tours are 1, maybe 2 international bands, with a local, not very well known support band. In America, it's probably a lot different. If you miss a band or don't have the money to see them, it won't be too long until you can see them again. Here, if you miss a band, you've likely got a 5-6 year wait to see them again. At least we have Soundwave, which is starting to bring heavier bands back more regularly.
    I not sure that song originality is the reason for not selling out venues. The music industry has changed a lot over the years and I'd wager that there are a lot more bands competing to get people to their shows. To say that bands don't sell out shows is also a little naive. I mean a few recent examples I can think of are Muse, One Direction, Sigur Ros. Whether you like them or not, they are selling out big shows.
    To an extent, it's kinda true. There's only so many chords, notes, scales, etc. But inventive guitarists find new ones to mix shit up.
    I think that's a little negative. if you listen to the Mars Volta for example it would be hard to say that any one of their songs is really similar to anything from the past
    yeah, just check the drm patterns on their latest album, i've never heard anything like it before. It really isn't that hard to find new ground breaking bands, i also think a lot of stuff like roli tomassi and Dillinger Escape Plan is pretty damn different to anything recorded in the 70s.
    I have nothing to say, I just felt obligated to comment because of my screen name.
    He's also forgetting the fact that while Lynyrd Skynyrd has fans in the younger age group, they also have fans from the 30+ years they've been around. Whereas a newer generation of band is most likely not going to hit home with 40 somethings and probably will only have a fan base in the younger generation. So perhaps this is a matter of longevity over quality.
    Wow, not a single mention of Coheed & Cambria, and their 6 part rock-opera/comic book anthology about some Star Wars-meets-godzilla deal? They were the first thing that came to mind when I read this, because if anyting like that has ever been written, it's been buried pretty deep.
    Blind In 1 Ear
    who cares? this isn't news.
    Please click on >News< at the top of the page, then in the left row, click the last option: >submit your story< I'm DYING to read the "news" you have to share with us!
    That's BS. The only things we've used are tones based on the standard music theory, notation, and instrumentation of the times, which are all VERY recent things and not even present in every culture. The electric guitar is only around 100 years old. Electronic and digital instruments still have a ton of untapped potential. It sounds like all songs are alike because everyone writes with the same standard of music (myself included), but it's complete BS to say that every song has already been written.
    my neighbor's mother-in-law makes $67 hourly on the laptop. She has been fired from work for nine months but last month her payment was $21816 just working on the laptop for a few hours. look at these guys
    I'm sorry, did LS invent Southern Rock?. . . no, they just made it famous. I am sure there were a ton of influences they drew from, and I am pretty sure it is bound to sound similar to something else.
    Awww, such a discovery. I guess the older you get you're starting to realise most obvious things.