Around here at least, YouTube is the new radio. If you want to be taken by surprise, go on the internet. Based on my viewing habits, this popped up when I was looking for something else entirely (don’t ask me what, this blew it clean out of my head)….
And it was followed up by this, caught three months before Ronnie Van Zant and Steve and Cassie Gaines were killed in a plane crash, traveling from Toy Caldwell’s home state to Huey Long’s.
“That Smell” hadn’t been released–the album would come out three days before the crash–but you can smell the death already. The only surprise is that it didn’t come for all of them, only some. And that you can’t tell which it will be, even after the fact.
The Devil’s tricky that way.
Toy Caldwell died from cocaine abuse in 1993, having lost two brothers to automobile accidents.
Toy and Ronnie were part of a new idea. They weren’t bound to die young because they were Sensitive Young Men (though they may have been). They weren’t bound to die young because they were Too Good for This World. They weren’t bound to die young because they were courting a cult that demanded their bodies for sacrifice.
They were bound to die young because they were born hell-raisers who weren’t going to change.
You can hear it in every second of either performance, including the seconds–a guitar solo here, a drum crash there, a vocal chant in the back–provided by people who would live to see old age.
The Devil’s tricky that way, too.