Brothers Chris and Rich Robinson spoke to Planet Rock's "My Planet Rocks" about their 46-date summer tour, marking THE BLACK CROWES' first shows together since 2013. The group will perform its multi-platinum 1990 debut album "Shake Your Money Maker" in its entirety, along with a smattering of other hits and favorites.
THE BLACK CROWES officially disbanded in 2014, with Rich Robinson releasing a statement suggesting his brother demanded that he give up his equal share of the band.
Asked about the differences that led to the band's split, Chris said: "It's funny, I think it was way more personal reasons than musical ones, although we had our musical differences here and there. But just the whirlwind of the first decade of this band and the things we survived — the good things, the bad things — we never had a chance to stop and take any inventory, emotionally or physically [or] mentally. So, in a sense, it was definitely… All change is cathartic in nature. But taking that time off and being where we are now, Rich and I having that time apart, has allowed us this opportunity to sort of start again as brothers and be adults and look at each other's lives without resentment and judgment and without any of the issues or hassles of the past. That being said, I think Rich and I, no matter what, the music is always there for us. We have that language together. Rich, when he plays me something, I grab a piece of paper and start humming a melody and we write. That's what we do, when it's time to do that. That was never one of our issues; the music was never an issue, really. And now that we're older and been through lots of things and marriages and we have children… It's sad when my 10-year-old daughter's, like, 'I have cousins? I've never met them.' That's real life."
Regarding how they reconnected after more than half a decade of not speaking to each other, Chris said: "When you think about the music business, Rich was doing [THE] MAGPIE [SALUTE] and other things, I had the [CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD]. But we're not changing the world — we're out doing good work, making great records and touring and finding ourselves. But every year, someone was, like, 'You wanna do THE BLACK CROWES?' People wanna make money, and they know that there's money attached to that. But for many years, Rich and I separately said, 'No. No. No. No, we don't. Thank you very much. We're doing this. Thank you. No, thank you.'
"Honestly, I didn't even realize that it was 30th anniversary [of 'Shake Your Money Maker']; it just happened," he continued. "The CRB was coming to a close. I didn't even really know what Rich's plans were, 'cause we hadn't talked to each other in close to seven years. And it just so happens that it started to come around. Someone in our life was, like, 'By the way, I talked to Rich…' 'I talked to Chris.' And we were in a place. Personally, in my life, in the last few years, with my girlfriend, who's now my wife, I started a new relationship, left an old relationship — a lot of things changed in my life, things that opened up a lot of stuff that I'm not looking at the world in a negative way or as the past, at Rich and I's relationship. And then it was just, like, oh, here we are in this new sort of place. And as the little baby steps took place, everything is the same — we both want the same things; we both feel the same way about what this could be, what it could look like, what are the colors? What does it smell like? What does it feel like? And that's all you needed — that spark."
Asked if there are any plans for THE BLACK CROWES to make new music after the upcoming tour, Chris said: "The music has always been there for Rich and I. But I think one thing we've learned is even a few years ago, we'd be, like, 'Okay, let's do a record.' 'Okay, what are we doing next?' Now, we have this tour, and we wanna celebrate this music. And we've never played this music in the way that we recorded it and put it. So, I think we just wanna stay focused and enjoy celebrating this music. And for us, I think the rock and roll part of it's important. Just like in 1990, there was no one playing music like this. Well, here we are in 2020, and no one is playing music like THE BLACK CROWES. So that's what we're gonna do. And feel really grateful about the whole thing. And just wanna make a righteous racket."
According to Chris, both he and his brother are in a much better personal headspace now than they were just six years ago.
"For Rich and I to be masters of our own ship is also something that was a long time coming," he said. "It's just communication, but that's any relationship, and that's sometimes the hardest thing of all.
"We don't have regrets," Chris added. "I've apologized to Rich about being negative and being horrible and saying things about him," he explained. "And I think he knows instantly if I say that that that's sincere. But I also explained a lot of my attitude and stuff came from long depression and negative sort of stuff. And maybe my ego was hurt and my resentments — just normal things — but once you start to unpack them and deal with them, accept responsibility for those things."
Pressed about whether he thinks his reunion with his brother is here to stay, Chris said: "I know for sure that Rich and I's relationship as brothers and as family is not going anywhere. And now in terms of what we wanna do musically, that's up to us. And I think we're super happy, and I think it's a real pragmatic way of looking at it to say all we really have to do is this summer and the fall, coming to Europe and to the U.K. to play this music. And that's easy."
THE BLACK CROWES played two reunion shows in November — in West Hollywood, California and in New York City.
Joining Chris and Rich in the new BLACK CROWES lineup are EARTHLESS guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, former TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND bassist Tim Lefebvre along with ONCE AND FUTURE BAND members Joel Robinow on keyboards and Raj Ojha on drums.
The official tour kicks off properly on June 17 at Austin's Austin360 Amphitheater in Austin wraps on September 19 at the Forum in L.A.