Black Crowes survived what seemed to be a permanent break up to return with a new album and tour | Photo by Josh Cheuse

There was a time when Rich Robinson thought it was never going to happen. The guitarist felt like he and his brother, vocalist Chris Robinson, would never bring The Black Crowes back to life. After years of arguing or not communicating at all, it seemed like the band responsible for straight-ahead rock brilliance like “Hard To Handle,” “Remedy,” “She Talks To Angels” and so many more would never be able to reunite.

“We were pretty convinced that we couldn’t get it together,” Rich Robinson said. “Chris and I were convinced that we couldn’t work through our differences.” 

Despite, or perhaps because of, years of successful touring and a slew of gold and platinum albums, Rich said the brothers’ relationship, which was always at the heart of the band, seemed irreparable. 

Time tends to heal old wounds, though, and now a new and improved Black Crowes will be storming their way across the country this summer, playing all of their 1990 album Shake Your Money Maker along with other classics and a few covers from their new EP, 1972

“When you’re stuck in your corner and you think that you’re not at fault, which everyone tends to do, I could see ways that I was adding to the problem,” Rich said. “I could admit that to Chris, and I think that he felt the same way. He could admit that to me. And in doing so that sort of opened the way for us to make it a much cooler experience for both of us.”

Rich added that it took a little housecleaning to get the lines of communication open for him and his brother. With the exception of bassist Sven Pipien, who played with the band from 1997 until their 2015 hiatus, the current lineup of the Crowes is entirely new.

“We’re surrounded by people who are helpful to keeping us communicating,” he said. “In the past, people would try to communicate for us and always make it worse, and it was always to get a little power. There was a lot of manipulation, like a typical toxic relationship with a bunch of people, and Chris and I didn’t want that in this iteration. That’s why we brought in, other than Sven, a whole new band, a whole new team around us.”

The Robinsons have actually been back together for a while. Their original plan was to tour Shake Your Money Maker back in 2020, but Covid-19 put a stop to that. Now, with the tour finally underway, Rich said he’s had time to soak in all the songs on the band’s debut, which they released when he was only 19 years old. 

“We were so young,” he said. “I wrote ‘She Talks To Angels’ when I was like 17, and it’s harder to have a direct contact to the creation of that record anymore. But to go back and listen to it and immerse myself in it for the first time and actually play it in its entirety and going back there opens up a whole new appreciation for it.”

In fact, there’s at least one hidden gem from the back half of Shake Your Money Maker that Robinson is thrilled to finally be playing.

“It’s really cool to be able to play ‘Struttin’ Blues,’ which is a song we didn’t really play ever,” he said. “For some reason we couldn’t get it live, and now to be able to go back and play that song is really cool.”

The Crowes are even teaming up with another veteran Georgia band for a portion of the tour, which will see them sharing the stage with Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, a Georgia-based band led by storied fellow Atlanta musician Kevn Kinney.

“We’ve known those guys for over 30 years,” Rich said. “They were around at the same time as us when we got started so it’s really cool to be able to have them. It kind of feels like old times, and to have those guys on those shows is going to be great. We’re really excited.”

Ultimately, Rich said that he and his brother are just happy their music is still relevant to people more than 30 years down the line. 

“It’s why you get into music,” he said. “Ultimately you write these songs, and you want people to feel the same way I felt about Exile On Main St. or Murmur or Blonde On Blonde — these records that meant so much to me and got me through times and bring that joy and those memories. And so to be able to create something that still resonates with people 32 years later, is pretty amazing, and it’s humbling too at the same time.”

The Black Crowes present Shake Your Money Maker with Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ at 8 p.m. June 12 at Credit One Stadium on Daniel Island. For more info visit creditonestadium.com.


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