Thomas Delmer "Artimus" Pyle (born July 15, 1948 in Louisville, Kentucky is an American musician best known for playing drums with Lynyrd Skynyrd, for which he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
Artimus Pyle joined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1974. He survived the 1977 plane crash that killed Ronnie Van Zant, Cassie Gaines and Steve Gaines. Artimus Pyle emerged from the aircraft wreckage with several broken ribs and joined others traveling several hundred yards on foot 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. Varying accounts have the farmer's son either firing a warning shot into the air or actually shooting Pyle in the shoulder with an air rifle.
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).
Artimus 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 in August of 1991.
In 2007, Pyle released a solo album, 'Artimus Venomus', on Cleopatra Records. In 2007, Pyle was also touring with the band Deep South.
Artimus Pyle currently plays solo and with various musicians, including previous members of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute bands.
According to the drummer, after he left Lynyrd Skynyrd, his longtime girlfriend (with whom he had two daughters) had him arrested on charges of capital sexual battery, by claiming that he sexually abused their daughter while giving her a bath. He claims that his former girlfriend told their two daughters that when their father gives them a bath, that "he is having sex with them." Pyle added that "It was that simple. The state never had a case. Their whole case was 'we think he touched his children.' I said, 'You're damn right I did. I changed their diapers...I've got six kids, I mean, what would you do?' And they go, 'O.K., so you admit it. You did touch your children.'"
In 1993, Pyle was arrested and charged in Jacksonville Beach, Florida with sexual battery against both daughters, ages four and eight. Facing a potential life sentence, Pyle arranged a plea bargain with prosecutors to spare the children a trial. He received eight years of probation, and he was entered into the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's "Sexual Offender" database.
Little of this subject matter was covered in the press until November 19, 2007, when Pyle was arrested in St. Johns County, Florida for failure to register as a sex offender. He was re-arrested on November 27, 2007 on the same charge, and came to trial again in 2009, charged with two counts of failing to register as a sex offender in St. Johns County, even though the defendant was a North Carolina resident at the time, and charged with failing to change an incorrect address on his driver's license.