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Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson rediscovering his love for rock 'n' roll

Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Entertainment News

A: I have to say that so many millions and billions of people had the same scenario, so in some ways that kind of helped. You know what I mean? I'm not a Buddhist, but universal suffering, I get that, and I just chalk it up to typical Black Crowes things. We've never done anything the way other [expletive] in show business works, so it really is a soulful thing — for the good, the bad, the sane, the mad. So, the team we put together, Rich and my relationship, the band we put together, the way that everyone put the project in order, just the idea of the “Shake Your Money Maker” thing — which never appealed to us till now, and it makes so much sense — and then, boom!

We just sort of laughed it off, like that's the way the world works for the Black Crowes. But it solidified Rich and my relationship even more. We wrote 20 new songs over the break. We were on the phone with each other three, four times a week. I feel like we could conquer anything together now.

Q: It seems like this either brought families together or just exploded things.

A: Yeah, yeah, I've heard both. I'm blessed to have my amazing wife and our Jamaican street dog that we adopted, but I miss my kids. We had great days, we had amazing days, and then we had the worst days. I just think the whole thing magnified that. I think sometimes as a creative person you're in touch with that anyway, whether it's depression, joy or whatever.

Q: A bunch of bands moved their tour dates back to 2022 or further into the fall. What made you decide “late July, we’re doing this,” and how did you prepare?

A: It's kind of like when you're on an airplane and you have to circle around Newark for like four hours. You’re already on the list to land, so let's land this thing. I'm sick of sitting on the plane, I'm out of peanuts and the old lady next to me just farted. Let’s land. We had all the pieces in place and everything ready to go. The tour starts in Nashville, we rehearse in Nashville, we have an amazing band, they are raring to go, everyone's learned the material, Rich and I are pretty good with the material after 30-something years …

 

Q: Although there might be different songs that you haven't played.

A: There were. When we announced the tour in November ’19, which sounds bizarro now, to play “Shake Your Money Maker,” a song like “Strutting Blues,” we were like, “Wow, we maybe only played that song twice.” I can't even remember the ancient reasons for not doing it. We were at rehearsals, and I was like, “Let's try this.” Oh my God, Rich and I had giant smiles and the band was like, “That's the coolest song.”

The one thing The Black Crowes did, especially in the 2000s and onward, we played lots of different songs. I get that there's a certain part of the audience that wants that. I think the idea of focusing on the first record and the subsequent hit songs and stuff, for us, it works. We spent so much time searching for this energy and these sort of musical statements and feelings by having all this different stuff. Now, it’s been a long time since we were really just focused on rock ’n’ roll, and that's really where my interest is right now and the way I feel. I think maybe that's just part of the attitude of having to deal with the last 18 months or whatever. The frustration and anxiety and anger, those are all great ingredients, even when you're in your 50s, for rock ’n’ roll.

Q: I was thinking about that album, when it came out, and placing it in its context. We had just come through punk and New Wave and a lot of bands were rejecting the ’70s roots at that time

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