THE BLACK CROWES guitarist Rich Robinson spoke to the Los Angeles Times about his reunion with his brother Chris for a 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 returning bassist Sven Pipien, who played with the band live from 1997 up until the band's hiatus in 2015, along with Brian Griffin on drums, Joel Robinow on keyboards and Isaiah Mitchell on guitar, plus backup singers Mackenzie Adams and Leslie Grant.
THE BLACK CROWES reunion notably excludes founding member/drummer Steve Gorman, who penned 2019's memoir "Hard To Handle: The Life And Death Of The Black Crowes". Asked whether Gorman's book pained him, Rich told the Los Angeles Times: "It didn't really affect me or make me sad. No one really takes Steve that seriously. He was our drummer for a long time, and a long time ago, he was our friend. But he was also the one who kind of schemed the most and was more willing to allow a division between me and Chris." Rich added that he remembered Gorman "telling me that the scariest thing to him and some of the people in the band was when Chris and I got along, because then they couldn't change our minds."
Rich previously addressed Steve's absence from THE BLACK CROWES' current tour in a June 2021 interview with Long Island Weekly. At the time, he said: "Steve was one of the incredibly negative and manipulative forces in the band that we really didn't want to deal with. In order to get back, we really had to do this very specific purge where we focus on the two of us and let this be something that will be positive. We can be in charge of our own triggers, but if you have other people around that have an agenda, which a lot of the older people around did, it’s just going to crash and burn. We didn't look at this as a one-time thing. We want to focus and do it right for ourselves as human beings. For ourselves as brothers. For ourselves as writing and creative partners as well as the other reasons."
In a February 2020 interview with Meltdown of Detroit's WRIF radio station, Gorman 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 said."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."
THE BLACK CROWES' rescheduled tour will conclude on September 25 at Bethel Woods in Bethel, New York.
When THE BLACK CROWES announced their split in 2014, Rich issued a statement saying that he loved his brother and respected his talent but that "his present demand that I must give up my equal share of the band and that our drummer for 28 years and original partner, Steve Gorman, relinquish 100 percent of his share … is not something I could agree to."
"Shake Your Money Maker" was re-released in multi-formats sets in February through UMe/American Recordings. The album, fueled by singles "Jealous Again", "Twice As Hard", "She Talks To Angels" and a cover of fellow Georgian Otis Redding's "Hard To Handle", has sold over five million copies.
Photo credit: Josh Cheuse / courtesy Rogers & Cowan