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Mark Montemarano

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Mark Montemarano

Over the course of his life, music legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Artimus Pyle has developed his own unique blend of country and rock and roll music. Born Thomas Delmar Pyle in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1948, he developed an early talent for percussion. His parents bought him a set of bongos when he was nine and gave him his first real drum set a few years later. Artimus Pyle played in a band during high school, but after graduation he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After he left the service, Pyle enrolled at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, where he earned the nickname "Artimus" because of his youthful resemblance to the Greek goddess Artemis.

After college, Artimus Pyle moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he played with musicians Charlie Daniels and Marshall Tucker. In 1974, Daniels introduced him to Lynyrd Skynyrd. After Pyle played a single charity concert with the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd hired him full time when Bob Burns, the band's first drummer, left. Artimus Pyle’s mastery of percussion gave Lynyrd Skynyrd a unique sound, and his first studio album with the band, Nuthin’ Fancy, was a hit with fans and critics, reaching the #9 spot on the U.S. music charts. At the time, Lynyrd Skynyrd played 300 shows a year. Pyle kept up with the band’s grueling schedule and traveled to England for the 1976 Knebworth Festival, where he played for 250,000 people.

In 1977, Artimus Pyle survived a plane crash in Mississippi that killed three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the road manager, and both pilots. Four years later, he started a band called All Points Bulletin, or APB. He performed with the band until 1987, when he joined the Lynyrd Skynyrd reunion tour. He stayed with the new lineup for the next four years, but eventually left because of his bandmates’ heavy cocaine use.

In 2006, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Artimus Pyle for his work with Lynyrd Skynyrd. The same year, he released a solo album titled Artimus Venomous, which All Music Guide called “lean, mean, Southern boogie.” Pyle continues to tour the United States, both as a solo act and with groups such as The Crawdaddy Band.

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