THE BLACK CROWES guitarist Rich Robinson spoke to USA Today about his reunion with his brother Chris for a 46-date 2020 tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the band's classic debut album, 1990's "Shake Your Money Maker". 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.
Asked what was behind the decision to reform THE BLACK CROWES and bring in all new musicians for the rest of the lineup, Rich said: "You know, a band of 30 years is basically a family, and the family dynamic embeds quickly and strongly. And then that dynamic, throughout the 30 years, shifts dramatically but sort of entrenches itself, you know what I mean? When success comes in, when less success comes in, and when new people come in and old people leave, when you throw drugs on the fire, and you throw money, and all of these things, everyone starts having their own agenda. Everyone starts bringing their own desires and needs to the table. And the way that manifests itself, at least in THE BLACK CROWES, it became this incredibly toxic, dysfunctional scenario. And it's easy just to blame Chris or blame me, or Chris and I. But there were a lot of people in that band working very actively to keep Chris and I from communicating and getting along. Because they couldn't get their way if Chris and I talked and got along."
He continued: "That's one of the problems with success. People have their own agenda. The way it's always been, the core of this band is me and Chris. We wrote the songs. It was our band when we started in 1985. It was our band when we stopped in 2013.
"We just said, 'Look, the only way this is gonna work is if we continue to stay healthy, get along and speak to each other, and we don't have a scenario where people keep getting in our way and trying to pit us against each other.' The only way to do that is to bring in all new people. No one from our past — no one in the crew, no one in management, no one in the band. It just has to be new. It has to stay positive. We want to stay in each other's lives, and we both would love to make music again in the future."
THE BLACK CROWES' upcoming tour will mark Chris and Rich's first proper run of shows together since 2013. The group will perform its multi-platinum 1990 debut album in its entirety, along with a smattering of other hits and favorites.
THE BLACK CROWES launched the reunion with a concert on November 11 at New York City's Bowery Ballroom and took the stage again on November 14 at Los Angeles's Troubadour club. 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.
Former THE BLACK CROWES drummer Steve Gorman, who recently published his tell-all memoir, "Hard To Handle: The Life And Death Of The Black Crowes", has said that he was not surprised to see Chris and Rich teaming up with new musicians for a tour. "To me, it's been an inevitability for years," Steve told Meltdown of Detroit's WRIF radio station."I think they both made serious efforts to establish themselves in solo careers that could sustain them, that could provide a living, and I guess that neither one of those really worked out. And so they were always gonna need to be THE BLACK CROWES again. And this tour is an indication of the fact that, to them, they always were THE BLACK CROWES. And to me, THE BLACK CROWES was a band. It wasn't about their band; it was our band. It was six people, or it was five people, or it was four people, depending on the year, but it was always a much greater thing than two brothers who wrote the songs. The success of that band had a lot to do with a lot more than just them, is my point. And the thing that was most special about that band, as I said before, was what six people were able to do when we were on the same page."
Gorman went on to say that he doesn't necessarily fault the Robinson brothers for wanting to keep THE BLACK CROWES brand alive.
"This tour has nothing to do with me — it never did; it never would have," he explained. "THE BLACK CROWES are my past. Now, the music is still around. And if anybody goes to see this tour and decides that they love THE BLACK CROWES now, I think that's fantastic. I'm all for preserving the legacy of the band I was in. I think this tour has nothing to do with that. I think this tour is the two of them needing money. And to that I say — and that's fine. I know what it's like to be concerned about my finances; everybody does. And if you're in your 50s and you can make a living playing music, then, by God, you should be playing music, if that's what you wanna do. So, they're fully within their rights to do it — legally and ethically and morally; whatever. It's fine. It's got nothing to do with me. So, live and let live."