RockPagesGR have interviewed Donnie Van Zant, brother of Johnny and of course the great Ronnie...talking about his recent album with Johnny, the chance of working with him again on a new album, Van Zant's turning to country on album three, his retirement, the tragic plane crash in '77, childhood and the stories about Ronnie's ghost...
You can find the interview here: http://rockpages.gr/en/interviews/item/4630-van-zant
Here are some extracts...
Rockpages.gr: How did your collaboration with Johnny as Van Zant brothers come up in 1998 when you released the album “Brother To Brother”?
Donnie Van Zant: Well, my brother, the only way I can explain it is that in happened back in 1977. You know, that was when my older brother Ronnie was killed on the plane crash. After that a lot of things changed for me. One thing with John, I just told myself right then and theere that I will make sure that I spend a lot of time, as much I can spend with him. Basically, I was just starting and I wanted to spend as much time with him being brothers more than anything. So, when these opportunities came up to do musical projects I jumped on it, he did too.
Rockpages.gr: Is there any chance that you guys make another record, what do you think?
Ronnie Van Zant: You know what? I say “never say never!” Because, I will be truthful with you, we write constantly! I mean when he is home and I am not doing other projects and stuff we just constantly write. We probably have enough songs to do another two records. So, it’s just a part of our lives, it’s what we actually do, sort of our hobby: writing songs. We are next door neighbors, so it’s very easy. Johnny has a little office and we get together and bang them out, you know.
Rockpages.gr: Are you officially considered retired?
Donnie Van Zant: You know what? If this is retirement I am doing more work than I should, hahaha! You know, what happened was that I wass out on tour with .38 Special somewhere in Texas, I can’t remember where we were at, but it was Texas, and it was our first show, I was gettingg ready for the show there and I had some bleeding from one of my ears and that freaked me completely out! And then it stopped and went ahead, but I had a really hard time on that particular show. I couldn’t really hear chords very well and between you and me I was singing out of key and that was really embarrassing! So, we had a few more shows and then I called my specialist and when I came how I went to see him and he couldn’t see where the bleeding came from, but he told me to take a hearing test. Obviously, I agreed to it and when I did the hearing test I haven’t realized how much of my hearing I have lost. I knew I was having problems, but I’d never admitted to myself, but, I hhave lost probably about 75% of high and mid range, so I got about 25% left here, so I am doing what I can,
Rockpages.gr: There have beeen many stories, and lots of them are published about Ronnie’s spirit, even Ronnie’s ghost, people seeing Ronnie fishing or wandering around, do you believe any of that? Havve you seen any of that?
Donnie Van Zant: You know, I WISH! I would love to see him again! I don’t care how! Hahahah! But, firstly I haven’t! I’ve been always a true believer and that, I believe in spiritual beings and stuff like thhat and I can tell you that through all those years of playing there were times when I thought Ronnie was on that stage with me, I could feel him! And it was sort of weird but I could! As well as other people, my mother and father, my sister, so, yes I do believe it but I havenn’t seen Ronnie. I wish I could!