Donnie Van Zant is a rocker and guitarist who is famous as the vocalist of the rock band 38 Special. With a career that has spanned more than five decades, he has achieved a lot as a musician from a family that has also taken the path of music. Although he was a founding member of 38 Special, the vocalist left the band in 2013 and decided he was retiring from music as a result of some health challenges.
Donnie Van Zant Biography
It was as Donald Newton Van Zant that Donnie was born on June 11, 1952, in Jacksonville, Florida to Marion Virginia Hicks Van Zant and her husband Lacy Van Zant. He was brought up alongside his two siblings; Ronnie Van Zant who is the oldest of the three and Johnny Van Zant.
Although his father was not a musician himself, he gave all the encouragement necessary for his children to pursue a career as rock musicians. Interestingly, all of them became successful in it, including Ronnie who died at the age of 29 following a plane crash. Because of his influence, Lacy is considered by his sons to be the ‘Father of Southern Rock’.
For his education, Donnie went to Robert E. Lee High which had a policy that was strictly enforced against boys with long hair. Although his brother and other members of Skynyrd would later drop out of school because they were not ready to cut theirs, Donnie hid his long hair under a wig and was later able to graduate.
In the same way as his two siblings, he started his musical career when he was still a teenager. However, it was until 1974 that he started his band together with Don Barnes who was his neighbor at the time. Others who also started the band are Jeff Carlisi, Ken Lyons who only stayed a little while, Steve Brookins, and Jack Grodin.
Donnie remained the most consistent member of the band until 2013 when as a result of his doctor’s advice, he took a break from music. Before then, he has worked on 12 studio albums with the band and 4 live albums among other things. More so, he got to sell more than 20 million copies.
In addition to that, the band which is now led by Don Barnes bagged many Gold and Platinum album awards.
His Net Worth
With a career that ran for many years and through which he has achieved so much fame, Donnie Van Zant has also achieved so much in terms of fortune. He has a net worth that has been estimated at $8 million. He made his fortune from his musical career most especially as a member of his band, 38 Special.
Donnie Van Zant’s Family
Donnie was brought up in a closely knitted family with parents who were very encouraging and supportive. While his mother died in 2000, he lost his father four years later, in 2004.
Donnie Van Zant is a family man who has been married to Ashley Van Zant. Many years later, the two are still together, living in their home in Jacksonville, Florida.
Facts About The Vocalist
1. Although it is as a member of 38 Special that he is most famous, he has also performed together with his younger brother, Johnny Van Zant as Van Zant. They released their first album together in 1985 and have since then released four others including the very successful Get Right with the Man in 2005 and My Kind of Country in 2007.
2. His brother, Ronnie was a member of the rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd which their father supported greatly. In 1977, Ronnie died in a plane crash, but other members of the band survived with serious injuries. 10 years later, Jhonny Van Zant became the lead vocalist of the band.
3. Before the death of his older brother who died at the age of 29, he had told many people including his father that he was not going to live to be 30 years old.
4. Donnie Van Zant was forced to retire from music as a result of inner-ear nerve damage as well as some other health challenges because of which he was strictly warned by his doctor to take a permanent break from music, something he is known to always put in a lot of passion and energy into.