Gary James' Interview With Darryl Reed Of
A Tribute To Lynyrd Skynyrd And Frynds
Southbound And Company

As Skynyrd bands go, Darryl Reed's Southbound And Company is one of the most successful. Not only do they perform on the West Coast, but they also perform on the East Coast. And to top it off, Southbound And Company is comprised of seasoned musicians. Darryl Reed portrays Ronnie Van Zant in Southbound And Company.

Q - Unlike other West Coast based Skynyrd groups, you guys are going to perform at the Epcot Center at Disney World in Orlando in July (2013). How'd you get that gig?

A - Well, I submitted a package to Disney World and they liked what they saw and they asked us if we'd like to perform. That was last year. We performed last year. Then, we did so well they asked us back for this year.

Q - In July, that's got to be one hot gig!

A - Yeah. Everybody says the same thing. We're like, "Hey, why don't you come out and vacation with us?" Well, maybe if it was in March, not July, the worst time of the year. But it's still a great gig. A really great gig.

Q - I see the guys in Southbound And Company have been in bands that opened for Quiet Riot, Great White, Ratt, Mitch Ryder, Asleep At The Wheel and the list goes on and on. When that's brought up to a potential booker, does that give you an advantage would you say?

A - You know, it might. I've never really had anybody say anything. In all honesty I think the music speaks for itself. I mean, I hate to sound conceited, but I think we do a really, really, really great job at producing the Skynyrd sound. We don't have the third guitar, but we have two solid guitar players, a solid piano player, a great bass player, a great drummer and then the girl backups, and I sing the lead. I was a huge Skynyrd fan anyway from the time I was pretty young. I know a lot about 'em. I like their style. I'm originally from Florida, so I guess there's a little bit of a bond there too.

Q - Did you ever get to see Skynyrd in concert?

A - Oh, yeah. I saw them twice. I saw them before the plane crash and I saw them after the plane crash. A few years after they regrouped, they had Ronnie's little brother singing lead.

Q - Johnny Van Zant.

A - Yes. Johnny is the singer.

Q - Where did you see the original Skynyrd?

A - I saw them at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim. It's now called the Big E or the Big A, something like that. They've changed the name a few times.

Q - Did you ever get to meet any of the original members of Lynyrd Skynyrd?

A - No, I never had the opportunity to meet them. I wish I could say I did.

Q - When did you put Southbound And Company together?

A - Actually, Southbound And Company is about four years old. The tribute is fairly new.

Q - What were you doing before the tribute group?

A - Well, before we did the tribute, it was just four of us playing Classic Rock. Then we decided to add four more members and make it a solid tribute.

Q - Were you playing primarily clubs when you were doing the Classic Rock band?

A - Correct.

Q - You're thinking was what, if we entered the tribute market circuit, we could make more money and play bigger venues?

A - Absolutely. It was also because it was just such a perfect fit. We could've done a lot of different acts but Skynyrd, I hate to say it, it fit me. I did most of the singing already anyhow. I came from more of a Country background, where they came from more of a heavier Rock 'n' Roll, Heavy Metal background, so it worked out fine. They could play the chops. They liked the music. They didn't per se love the music like I did, but they all liked it. So, by adding the other members it just came to a nice full sound.

Q - You said you could've done other tribute acts. What other tribute acts were you thinking about?

A - We thought about Jackson Browne, The Eagles, Rod Stewart, Bad Company. A few different ones. The Allman Brothers too. That probably would have been our second choice. If we hadn't done Skynyrd, I think we would've ended up doing Allman brothers, just because I have kind of that lower tone voice too. It's very similar to some of the stuff we do.

Q - Who would you have been in the Allman brothers, Gregg?

A - Yeah. I would've been Gregg. I do "Ramblin' Man", "Blue Sky", "Southbound". It would've been a mixture between Gregg and Dickey Betts.

Q - What you have to do to get yourself in character every night before you go on stage?

A - Well, that's kind of a good question. I guess it's my own mental meditation about what the guy would have done, what it would've been like back then. We obviously wear the wigs. It's not a whole lot of prep. We do play before we go on. We kind of all just high-five each other. We just know what a great feeling it is to be able to create what we're creating.

Q - How long of a show do you present?

A - Mostly 90 minute sets. We've done 120, but most of 'em are 90 minutes.

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