Having replaced original drummer Bob Burns in Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1975, Pyle (b. Thomas Delmer Pyle, 15 July 1948, Kentucky, USA) spent two years touring and recording with that band before the fateful air crash in October 1977 that killed Steve Gaines and Ronnie Van Zant. He then formed the Artimus Pyle Band (APB) in the late 70s with a line-up consisting of Darryll Otis Smith (vocals), John Boerstler (guitar), Steve Brewington (bass) and Steve Lockhart (guitar, keyboards). The band continued in the Lynyrd Skynyrd tradition, playing a mixture of souped-up rock ‘n’ roll and heavy rock with a pronounced southern flavour. However, in the process he knocked several of the rough edges off his former band’s sound. Despite the presence of numerous colleagues and co-writers, their self-titled debut and the follow-up collection (as APB, with Lockhart replaced by Russ Milner and new vocalist Karen Blackmon) failed to inspire sales beyond a loyal clique of diehard Lynyrd Skynyrd fans. Nightcaller in particular was an obvious attempt to penetrate AOR radio without the songwriting substance necessary to do so. Lacking any real hope of a commercial breakthrough, it was no surprise that Pyle put his band on hold in the mid-80s and elected to return to the re-formed Lynyrd Skynyrd. He revived APB in the following decade and has established the band as a leading southern rock attraction.
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