p.s. nothing like shouting down a cell phone in a crowded train terminal trying to explain the connection between "Lynyrd Skynyrd" and "Leonard Skinner" to your 84-year-old mother, because she Saw It On the News and Wanted To KNOW.
Mom: "Speaking of bands from 25 years ago, were you familiar with some band called 'Lynyrd Skynyrd'?"
Me: "Yeah, they were probably the biggest band out of the South other than the Allman Brothers. On my fifteenth - no, fourteenth - birthday, Dee and I went bowling at Kamms Corners because our birthdays were one day apart, so we were spending the day together to celebrate. And it came on the news at the bowling alley, that they had a plane crash and several of them died. The band reformed but it was never the same."
Mom: "Oh. So who's this 'Leonard Skinner' on the news who died?"
Me: "Their high school gym teacher who wouldn't let them have long hair. So they named their band after him and of course they all had hair about down to their butts. "
Mom: "So how does Leonard Skinner relate to Lynyrd Skynyrd?"
Me: "I told you, they named the band after him. Lynyrd Skynyrd, the band, was named after Leonard Skinner, the gym teacher."
Mom: "And he died in a plane crash."
Me: "No Mom, he just died of old age. He was like 77."
Mom: "Well who died in the plane crash then?"
Me: "The band's lead singer."
Mom: "What was his name?"
Me: "Ronnie Van Zant. He had two brothers named Lonnie and Donnie." (Editor's Note: WRONG! Lonnie Van Zant was their dad. The brothers were named Donnie and Johnny. Close, but no spliff!)
Mom: "So why did they name their band after this Leonard Skinner person?"
Me: "Gary Rossington released a statement saying something nice about how he had such a big influence on their lives as their high school gym teacher, that they named the band after them as a tribute. Personally, I think he just annoyed them so much about having long hair that they did it out of spite, and then the band happened to get famous under that name."
Mom: (politely snarky tone) "Oh, so he took an interest in these young men's welfare - he cared about the length of their hair, so they didn't look like bums. I see."
Me: "I guess..."
Mom: "I'm glad I have you around to explain these things to me. Now, I have another question for you. Who's Frank Zappa? I saw on the news they were having a tribute to him..."