Rossington Collins Band – Don’t Misunderstand Me

Rossington Collins Band,

was a southern rock band founded in 1979 by guitarists Allen Collins and Gary Rossington following the 1977 plane crash which killed three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, of which both had been members. The band included two other surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Billy Powell and Leon Wilkeson. The band wished to develop their own sound rather than being regarded as a reformed Lynyrd Skynyrd, and toward that objective they hired a female lead vocalist, Dale Krantz, who later married Rossington. The Jacksonville-based band released two albums before disbanding in 1982. Their biggest hit, “Don’t Misunderstand Me,” charted in late 1980.
Following the crash of the Skynyrd plane in October 1977, chances for a reunion looked slim. Allen Collins had severe injuries to his arm that almost made it necessary for the arm to be amputated. Leon Wilkeson had suffered internal injuries that initially made doctors declare him dead at the scene of the crash, only to be resuscitated later. He also had a badly broken arm. Gary Rossington had also suffered severe injuries in the crash. Only Artimus Pyle (former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer) and Billy Powell were in good enough condition to be released from the hospital within two weeks of the crash.

rossington collins band

The earliest recording effort made by former band members were Pyle and Powell’s involvement in the studio sessions for musician Leo LeBranche. Soon after, Powell, Pyle, Wilkeson, and Jo Billingsley (former Skynyrd vocalist) formed the band Alias (not to be confused with the 1980s Canadian rock band of the same name), which only existed for one album and a small round of live shows. The band also featured guitarist Barry Lee Harwood (who had played mandolin on Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets” record of 1976) and who would later be involved with the RCB.

Charlie Daniels gave new hope to fans in January 1979, when he announced “Lynyrd Skynyrd is back!” at his Volunteer Jam V in Nashville, Tennessee. All remaining members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, with the exception of bassist Wilkeson (whose arm was still in a cast) performed an instrumental version of “Free Bird.”

From there, plans began to form a new band. However, Collins and Rossington did not wish for this new venture to be another Lynyrd Skynyrd, so they opted for Dale Krantz, who had been a backing singer for .38 Special. Guitarist Barry Harwood was living in Atlanta at the time when he got the call from Collins and Rossington to be in the band.

All seemed set, until Artimus Pyle, who had been slated to start rehearsals with the band, was involved in a motorcycle accident that broke his leg. Pyle decided that the RCB should find a new drummer rather than wait for him to recuperate. The suggestion came from Harwood to hire Jacksonville native Derek Hess.

The Rossington-Collins Band, as it was christened, then began rehearsals and writing, which took a little longer than expected because of Krantz’s initial anxiety about being in this band. Even while in the studio, RCB would continue to write and revise their songs until they were considered finished. This led to the use of many master reels of recordings.

rossington collins band
Touring history

The band initially premiered in the summer of 1980 to positive reviews. One highlight of the 1980 tour backing their album Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere was a New Year’s Eve performance at the Omni in Atlanta, GA. One permanent feature in the set lists was “Free Bird,” which was performed without vocals and was dedicated to Ronnie Van Zant, Steve and Cassie Gaines, and Dean Kilpatrick.

At one performance in Springfield, Massachusetts during 1980, guitarist Rossington had to play onstage with a broken leg, which happened the day before.

Following the death of his wife, Kathy, Allen Collins would routinely walk off from gigs or not appear. This led to the cancellation of many performances during 1982. In addition to his Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Explorer, guitarist Collins switched between two double-cutaway Gibson Les Paul Specials during the live shows. Collins had not used a Les Paul since the early 1970s.

Despite the short length of The Rossington-Collins Band‘s existence, there were many soundboard recordings made of live shows, and studio recordings made by Allen Collins in preparation for their first studio album.
Allen Collins Band

In 1983, the Allen Collins Band, featuring Allen Collins, Barry Harwood, Leon Wilkeson, Billy Powell, and Derek Hess from RCB along with Randall Hall and Jimmy Doughtry who was the singer in Alias was formed, but also soon fell apart. Members of both bands, along with friends and relatives of the deceased, eventually reformed Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1987, ten years after the plane crash.

rossington collins band
Rossington Collins Band Members :

Gary Rossington – Guitar
Allen Collins – Guitar
Leon Wilkeson – Bass Guitar
Billy Powell – Keyboards
Dale Krantz-Rossington – Vocals
Barry Lee Harwood – Guitar, Vocals
Derek Hess – Drums and Percussion

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