Early life and career
Pyle was born in Louisville, Kentucky and began playing the drums at age 12. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1967-71 as a sergeant in aviation. He joined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1974. He survived the 1977 plane crash that killed Ronnie Van Zant, Cassie Gaines and Steve Gaines. Pyle suffered several broken ribs, but he and other survivors walked several hundred yards to a farmhouse to try to get help. The appearance of Pyle and his companions alarmed the residents of the farmhouse, who greeted them with guns and demanded they leave the premises. Eventually the Gillsburg Volunteer Fire Department arrived and assured the occupants that the men were survivors of a plane crash. The farmer's son actually shot Pyle in the shoulder with an air rifle.
After the crash
In 1982, Pyle began touring with the Artimus Pyle Band (A.P.B.), including Darryl Otis Smith, John Boerstler, and Steve Lockhart. A.P.B.'s albums include A.P.B. (1981), Nightcaller (1983) and Live From Planet Earth (2000).
Pyle took part in the Skynyrd Tribute tour and joined the reformed Lynyrd Skynyrd in recording Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 before departing the band during a show in Toronto on August 2, 1991. In a radio interview with Rick Lewis and Michael Floorwax on The FOX in Denver, Colorado on the 20th anniversary of the crash, Pyle said, "I left the band in 1991 basically because there was a problem with drugs and alcohol and I felt as though we should have put all that stuff behind us years and years ago."
Pyle called in to The Howard Stern Show on October 16th, 1997 and discussed the plane crash and the story of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
In 2004, Pyle recorded four studio tracks on Southern Rock band Rambler's album "First Things First" with vocalist Pat Terranova, guitarist Mitch Farber, bassist Willy Lussier and acoustic guitarist and vocalist Rikki Cuccia. In 2007, he toured with the band Deep South.
Pyle currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina, playing solo and with various musicians, including previous members of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute bands. He also plays with his own band, "The Artimus Pyle Band", which released "Artimus Venomous" in 2007 on Storm Dog Records Group/Cleopatra Records. He also appears with "The Floyd County Rangers."
On Nov. 22, 2010, Pyle appeared at the "Another One For Woody" benefit concert at New York's Roseland Ballroom, performing the Skynyrd song "Simple Man" with Gov't Mule. On June 16, 2012, he appeared at the annual "Winthrop Days" celebration in Winthrop, Iowa.
On Sept. 21, 2012, Pyle called into The Nick & Artie Show and recounted Lynyrd Skynyrd's fateful plane crash of October 20, 1977. He gave bone-chilling details about being shot by a farmer as he walked for help after the crash. In his words, he was "covered in blood and looked like Charles Manson."
Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 1.