That time I asked Gary Rossington what happened to Allen Collins

By Steve Newton

Back in 1986 I did my one and only interview with Gary Rossington, the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist who passed away yesterday at the age of 71.

At the time Rossington was promoting the release of Returned to the Scene of the Crime, the debut album by his band Rossington, which also featured his wife Dale Krantz-Rossington on vocals.

The two of them were together on a call from the New York City offices of their latest record label, Atlantic Records (no more “Workin’ for MCA”), and the first thing I asked was “what happened to Collins?”.

I asked that question because the last album the Rossingtons had made was with Gary’s old bandmate in Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allen Collins, in the Rossington-Collins Band.

Remember, this was 1986, before you could just google “Allen Collins” and find out what he’d been up to lately.

If I’d been paying attention to the non-online music press I would have known that, earlier that year, a drunk-driving Collins had crashed his new Ford Thunderbird, claiming the life of his girlfriend and paralyzing himself from the waist down, with limited use of his arms and hands.

Dale wasn’t too thrilled with how the interview kicked off on a negative note, but hey–I didn’t mean any harm.

On a positive note, you could say that the Rossington-Collins guitar team was reunited yesterday, so the sound of heaven just got a whole lot more of that southern twang.

Have a listen:

To hear the full audio of my 1986 interview with Gary Rossington and Dale Krantz-Rossington–and my 1997 interview with Skynyrd’s Rickey Medlocke as well–subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can eavesdrop on over 350 of my uncut, one-on-one conversations with the legends of rock.

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