Larry Junstrom, the founding bassist for Lynyrd Skynyrd and longtime member of 38 Special, has passed away at the age of 70. The sad news was shared Sunday, October 6th, by 38 Special on their Facebook page. A cause of death was not immediately disclosed.
Junstrom was an original member of Skynyrd — along with Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, and Bob Burns — when they formed under the name My Backyard in 1964. He would remain with the band until 1971, but left before they recorded their first album, 1973’s (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd). However, his playing appeared on the early 7-inch single “Need All My Friends”.
In 1977, Junstrom joined 38 Special, led by Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother Donnie Van Zant. He would remain in the band for nearly 30 years, playing on all 12 of the band’s studio albums, including such classic hits as “Hold on Loosely”, “Caught Up in You”, and “Teacher, Teacher”. He left the group in 2014 due to a hand injury.
In their Facebook post, 38 Special issued the following statement:
The Big Man on the Big Bass has left us. He rocked arenas all over the world and succeeded in living his dream. He was truly one of a kind, a congenial traveling companion and a great friend to all with a humorous slant on life that always kept our spirits high — a kind man with a big heart for everyone who crossed his path. There will never be another like him.
We are sending our devoted love, strength and comfort to his wife Thania and Larry’s family. We will miss our friend and partner. Larry “L.J.” Junstrom. 1949 – 2019.
See Larry Junstrom in 38 Special’s videos for “Hold on Loosely” and “Caught Up in You” below.