Johnny Van Zant is of course member of the Southern rock’s “royal family” as the younger brother of rock legends Ronnie Van Zant from Lynyrd Skynyrd and Donnie Van Zant from 38 Special. Having watched his older brothers enjoy great success in the 70´s, he formed his own Austin Nickels Band in 1977.
The Austin Nickels Band featured Robbie Gay and Eric Lundgren on guitars, Danny Clausman on bass, Robert Morris on drums and of course, Johnny on vocals. They got signed to Polydor Records and changed their name to the Johnny Van Zant Band. With little help by former Skynyrd producer Al Kooper, they released strong debut album, No More Dirty Deals in 1980.
Southern rock had started lose its momentum couple years earlier and the album got little notice. Not the ones to give up, they released the sophomore effort, Round Two the following year. Last of The Wild Ones followed in 1982 and featured slightly AOR’ish material.
They kept touring couple more years, but eventually broke up in 1984. Johnny went onto release self titled solo album for Geffen Records in 1985. In 1987 he joined the re-born Lynyrd Skynyrd as lead singer, but had a brief reunion with his old band members Eric Lundgren and Robert Morris to record one more album, Brickyard Road, in 1990.
The Johnny Van Zant Band Discography:
1980 No More Dirty Deals
1981 Round Two
1982 Last Of The Wild Ones
1985 Van Zant
1990 Brickyard Road
1994 The Johnny Van Zant Collection