Meeting Your Heroes… Up First, Big Nick from 41 South

100_00071 My name is Nick Valceanu ,I live in Evansville,Indiana.   I was talking to Chuck Gee the other day and he asked me if I would share a story about LYNYRD SKYNYRD,And I said that would be great ,this is a once in a life time thing that happened,I was living in Augusta ,Georgia with my sister at the time this all happened.   the first night we all went out. Me ,my sister and her friend she took me to a bar that was called Bonnie and Clyde’s ,this place was all disco with a DJ,Not what I was looking for I was hoping for some kinda rock music but this stuff they were playing just about made me sick,I can’t stand disco music ,as you can tell, Anyway the next week-end rolls around and my sister said they were going to take me to see some southern rock tonight ,I said now your talking ,last week-end was not my thing,So we go to this place downtown in Augusta ,Ga. called the Whippin Post ,yes the place everyone used to play at,   Lynyrd Skynyrd ,Allman bros,and a bunch more .   Well we start to go down town and its raining real hard .So we get to the front door of this place all soaked and my sister tells me just give them a few bucks at the door and just keep on walking in the door ,well I do this and when I get in the door there’s a stage to the left as you come in the door and I was just standing there for a moment checking the place out ,then my sister comes and grabs my arm and said hurry up there’s seats up front. ,   Now I still can’t believe it ,but we got the seats that were right in front of where the singer was going to be singing ,I’m sitting straight in front of the microphone stand and my sisters to my left and her friends to my right and there’s this small table for three,well Were just joking around laughing about something funny then my sister said to me.   Hey you know who’s playing here tonight ,It’s LYNYRD SKYNYRD, I laughed and said yeah right , Then started laughing and I said the singers taller than that.AS I WAS LOOKING AT Ronnie van Zant.    Well at the time I was saying this Ronnie Van Zant was doing something to his microphone stand ,then he said to me with a funny look on his face,You don’t think were LYNYRD SKYNYRD?   And I laughed as I said this ,I said No,The singers taller than you are. Well Ronnie gets this funny look on his face as he goes over to Billy and Gary Rossington and he said something to the them, he comes back over to our table and said .We don’t usually do this but what song can we do to prove who we are. I said that smell,You have a lead guitarist by the name of Steve Gains who’s awesome on guitar and by the second verse I will know if its you, Well then he asked where I was from ,and I said Evansville,Indiana ,then he said they would do it ,   Then he turns around and said something to Billy and Gary and then as I look to my left I see other musicians getting up on stage and then he said this in the microphone, He said were going to do a song to prove who we are …There’s a non believer in the crowd tonight amongst us….”WHO ARE WE” , Then the crowd yells loud “LYNYRD SKYNYRD”. I was still in doubt ,Then as they started the song he’s looking right at me with his mic stand in his hand no shoes and that southern rock bad boy look.I tried to sink down in my chair as far as I could ,well there wasn’t much more to do when the center leg of the table stops right at my crotch, Then I lean over to my sister and said hey ,do me a favor, buy me a few jack and cokes and let me act like a stupid drunk instead of a sober fool .   Well she did and AND THE jacks feeling pretty good now then as they went on break I went to the bathroom and got stopped by Artimus Pile, THEIR DRUMMER big beard,long brown hair ,tee shirt and shorts and long tube socks , He said the lines back there ,as he pointed to a few guys back in the line, So then I wait my turn.   So after that I stumble to the stage ,the jack and cokes working fine by then and I go up by the stage and Ronnie’s still up there as well as Billy and Gary and I said TO Ronnie ,as I reached out my hand and said sorry about what I said , You sure proved who you are, and let me take this foot out of my mouth ,and say I’m sorry once again.   Well They all laugh ,and Ronnie said that’s cool .and then Billy and Gary said this from the back of the stage ,he hears that lots of times and they keep laughing and messing with Ronnie ,hell, hes laughing too ,saying yeah I get that from time to time ,Then I show them just who we are .then he takes a big drink of whiskey and said as he looked at me ,A believer now? I said , hell yes ,and thanks for doing such a great show ,He said we love this bar its one of our spots we like to come play at when ever we can . I got to say a few other things to him that night and before I left, I told him I would always remember this night and meeting Ronnie,Billy and Gary . I seen everyone else but there the only ones I got to talk to , and yes Steve Gains was awesome on guitar that night ,or should I say smoking on his guitars well as ALLEN COLLINS.   Like I said it was a once in a life time thing that happened at the “WHippin Post” in Augusta ,GA in 1977.   It wasn’t very long after that, when I heard about the plane crash. I was sick for days it seemed ,I just couldn’t believe it ,I didn’t want to believe it , But it was all true, Me and many other fans of this band will always remember how this band rocked and loved all there fans ,And I’m very thankful that I got the chance to see LYNYRD SKYNYRD play right in front of my table all that night and I got to meet a legend, Ronnie Van Zant. I have told a few people about this and when Chuck Gee heard this story he asked me if I would write it and send my picture with it and I said yes ,   I’m honored to have the chance to share this story with everyone who loves the LYNYRD SKYNYRD BAND.I have been playing rhythm guitar and writing my own songs as well as being a lead vocalist for my band 41SOUTH, We’re from Evansville,Indiana .Our music is a mix between Early LYNYRD SKYNYRD,BLACKFOOT, AND SOME HENDRIX HERE AND THERE ,I don’t try to be any of these bands because they are all in a class of there own,   My band plays more originals than covers because I love to write a song out and tell a story at the same time.One of the songs we will be doing is “That Smell”.by LYNYRD SKYNYRD Then I will play a song called nineteen seventy seven …guess what that ones about,Well if you read this story you will see why I wrote this song ,   My favorite song by LYNYRD SKYNYRD is “SIMPLE MAN” BECAUSE I THINK THAT SONG MEANS A LOT TO MY LIFE STYLE .and SOUTHERN ROCK MUSIC has took me through the good and bad times of my life ,its a good thing when you listen to a song and it just takes you away for a moment …sometimes that’s all we need is that moment, as a sigh of relief is let off one more time ,I truly think music is a magical cure for our souls and I know for a fact its helped me through the tough times in my life and I truly hope others feel the same way about this as I do . To all you SOUTHERN ROCKERS OUT THERE “ROCK ON MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS , SOUTHERN ROCK IS VERY VERY MUCH ALIVE AND WILL ALWAYS BE A BIG PART OF MY LIFE AND HOPEFULLY YOURS TOO.love life everyday you live ,and live life to the fullest.For me, that means playing my guitar for many more years to come and having a blast doing just that,and meeting some awesome people as I put my bands music out in the public.   I just hope the people who hear our band, see we are true artists, that feel freedom out of sharing parts of our lives with the fans of our music and in the stories we tell in the songs we write . I think that’s awesome .Big Nick/41SOUTH.(Evansville,Indiana)   Thank you “Chuck Gee”and Kickacts.com for giving me a chance to tell my once in a lifetime story.

1SOUTHERNROCKER@insightbb.com

There you have it folks … Most bands have no idea how important it is to inspire and to meet your fans. Apparently Lynyrd Skynyrd knew it was important and changed Big Nick’s life forever. Enough for him to break out the all “CAPS” button … Do you have a story to tell also? We are waiting on you… Send it to

chuck@kickacts.com

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4 Comments


  1. //

    hey Allen

    It’s ok if your in any kind of rock or any kind of music what ever it is.
    Just as long as you have a blast at playing what ever your playing.
    So to answer your question.
    Play what ever feels good to you.and if it doesn’t feel good stop playing and find something that will work for you.


  2. //

    Thanks Dave for checking this story out. it was a blast doing it for kickacts.com I also thank Chuck for asking me to do this story ,I kind took me back to the good ole days back then in Augusta,ga.
    I got to relive it in a way as I wrote this story and it felt great.I just wish the place was still open .I checked on it earlie this year when I was in Augusta and the people in the area said its been closed for several years.they used to have some great bands playing there I miss that place and I’m very glad I got the chance to see my favorite band play there as well as meeting Ronnie Billy and Gary. Like I said it was a once in a lifetime chance and I was the one it really has made a very big differance in my life.
    Like I said ” LONG LIVE SOUTHERN ROCK MUSIC”.

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