Brickyard Road. Have you heard of them? They are the “Mid-Atlantic’s Premier Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band” (or at least so says their website). Rob Terry plays guitar for them and they’ll be at the Francis Scott Key American Legion Post #11 on Saturday. The event is a benefit for American Legion baseball. Doors will open at 6 p.m., dinner, included in the $25 ticket, will be served at 7 p.m., and the music begins at 9 p.m. We spoke with Terry about what it was like to receive support from the Van Zant family, how his band eventually began writing songs of its own, and, of course, what we can expect from the event on Saturday.
How did you guys come up with the idea for a Brickyard Road in the first place? How did everyone get together and how long have you since been together?
The idea came from me in 1998. We were tired of the bar scene, playing four sets of random music — being a human jukebox. At that time, to the best of my knowledge, we were the only Skynyrd tribute band on the East Coast. Some of the band members had played together previously and others came from advertisements for specific artists. We played all over the country until 2007, working for an agent out of North Carolina. Several band members had families with young children and it was difficult to be away from them for days at a time, so we decided to take a break for awhile. We decided to get back together in 2014 to do a benefit. It was only planned to be a one-time thing, but we had such a positive response that we decided to keep playing — but not travel the distances we did in the past.
Your bio says “Every song, every note, is faithfully recreated in this authentic, concert style approach to the original band.” What are some of the things you pay attention to the most when it comes to recreating each song and note? More so, what do you pay attention to the most when you re-create the Lynyrd Skynyrd experience?
We do our best to play the original, 1970s live Skynyrd shows. For us, it’s out of respect that we put the time and effort into playing the music as authentically correct as we can. We have fans that tell us that we sound just like the original Skynyrd. We do not try and change the music at all. We play it like Skynyrd wrote it — not our version.
What do you think makes you guys the Mid-Atlantic’s “premier Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band,” as your website says?
I have to say our background and experience. We’ve played in about every state on the east coast. We’ve opened for many national acts and have done many large outdoor events. In 1998, we were the only Skynyrd tribute band that was personally endorsed by Lacy Van Zant, the father of Ronnie, Johnny and Donnie Van Zant. He was also nicknamed The Father of Southern Rock. Our introduction is a recording that Lacy made for us before he passed away. We have opened for .38 Special in the past, at Xhale in Frederick. Donnie Van Zant told me that we could give the current Skynyrd band a run for their money when we played for a sold out crowd. We are currently nominated for several awards through the Maryland Music Awards, including Biggest Contributor, Best Live Act and Best Cover Band, to name a few.
I see you have original music on your Reverb Nation page — at what point did you start to branch out into writing your own material? Why did you make that decision and how you do think that holds up next to the other songs you guys perform live?
We started right in 2006, shortly before we stopped playing. Our goal was to convert to playing our own music versus the tribute act.
Where are some of your favorite places to play and why?
Xhale was a favorite from years ago. Also the Chicago State Fair, Kent State College, HD Spokes in Myrtle Beach and Cancun Cantina, to name a few — but I really like the big outdoor events. We are not really a small bar kind of band.
Who, outside of Lynyrd Skynyrd, are some of your biggest influences and why?
For me, Eric Clapton because of the soulful guitar work and songwriting. The Eagles and Creedence Clearwater Revival as well. These artists were true to what they do — real guys, making real music. A down-to-earth way of thinking shows in their songwriting and playing.
Do you guys have any favorite local bands that you would go see on a free weekend you might have, where you’re looking to see live music?
We don’t get much of an opportunity to go and see other bands, but I would recommend Aphelion and No Tell Motel. They are both dedicated to original songwriting and give a great show. Both bands have opened for us and we continue to schedule dates together in 2016. They are class acts and a lot of fun to see live.
How did you get involved with this cause — benefiting the American Legion baseball program?
As a band, we have done numerous benefits. My son played fall baseball for the Frederick American Legion. The coach asked us if we would be willing to help out with the event. Of course, we were glad to be asked to be a part of it. We did a benefit for the BAH (Bikers Against Heroin) as well. We are glad to do our part to give back to the community and raise awareness.
And finally, what can we expect from your show this weekend?
We look at it like this: Every time we walk on stage is a gift. We give it 100 percent. There’s always a chance that this could be our last show. Our motto is that we rock from start to finish — two-and-a-half hours of solid, non-stop Skynyrd music that is the true Lynyrd Skynyrd experience.