Saturday, October 20, 2018

RIP Cassie Gaines, One of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Honkettes

The Honkettes: JoJo Billingsley, Cassie Gaines and Leslie Hawkins
A new documentary is out on Lynyrd Skynyrd, the rockin' Southern Rock band that lost its singer/songwriter Ronnie Van Zant along with band members Cassie & Steve Gaines in a tragic plane crash on this date in 1977.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: If I Leave Here Tomorrow interviews surviving members of the band and reveals how Cassie and her fellow Honkettes classed up the group as its back-up singers.

Cassie Gaines joined the band in 1975 and later recommended her younger brother Steve join in as a guitarist. She was mentioned in stories recounted in the film as the band member who always had marijuana, and it was said of Steve that he "was no farmer, but he could grow some bud." When the band opened for the Rolling Stones, Very Important Pothead Jack Nicholson smelled Cassie's weed and asked if he could take a toke.

Cassie often wore her blonde hair in braids and was described as resembling a wholesome milkmaid. She was 29 years old when she died. It was three days after the band released their album Street Survivors, containing the song "That Smell," a warning against overindulgence in alcohol & drugs.

You can see Cassie and the Honkettes performing with the band here:

Despite Skynyrd's association with the Southern flag (to distinguish them from “Yankees” in Europe), members of the band interviewed in the film were against guns and said they didn’t own them. Their song, "Mr. Saturday Night Special" is an anthem against gun violence. One band member described himself as a “liberal hippie, and always will be.” It must have been the marijuana.


Unknown said...

I always thought Honkette Leslie Hawkins was such a cute Southern girl!
The Honkettes added a deeply Spiritual ingredient to the Lynyrd Skynyrd sound!

JShip31 said...

Could you tell me what the necklace, Cassie is wearing in the picture is? Wolf fang, bear claw, etc?? Thank you so much!

jimntn said...

Cassie was such a beautiful young lady! Brother Steve has long been one of my favorite guitar players. So tragic that their parents lost them both. �� My heart