The Black Crowes

The Black Crowes are a blues-oriented hard rock jam band that have sold over 15 million albums and were hailed by Melody Maker as 'The Most Rock 'n' Roll Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World.' The band has toured with acts such as Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Jimmy Page, AC/DC and Lenny Kravitz. The Crowes are listed at #92 on VH1's '100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock'.

History

The first incarnation of the band began as Mr. Crowes Garden in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1985. Although the Crowes have had many members over the years, the driving force behind the band has always been the brothers Chris & Rich Robinson. In 1989, the rockers, who have been heavily influenced by the Rolling Stones, the Faces and Southern rock, made a demo cassette tape that got them signed with American Recordings.

The Crowes released their first studio album Shake Your Money Maker, in 1990. On the strength of singles 'Hard to Handle,' 'She Talks to Angels,' 'Jealous Again,' 'Twice As Hard' and 'Seeing Things,' the debut sold over 5 million copies and was certified 5× platinum in 1995. 'Hard to Handle' and 'She Talks to Angels' both broke the top 30 on the pop charts in 1990, and the crossover appeal of the songs helped catapult the Black Crowes to stardom. It is widely acknowledged that engineer Brendan O'Brien was the creative force behind their first album, and that the band struggled to live up to his vision.

After replacing guitarist Jeff Cease with Marc Ford, the Crowes released their second album The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion in 1992. (This album title is a tribute to the shape note anthology of the same name that has been sung annually at the Big Singing in Benton, Kentucky since 1884.) The effort spawned the singles 'Remedy,' 'Thorn in My Pride,' 'Sting Me,' 'Sometimes Salvation' and 'Hotel Illness,' and in 1995 the disc was certified double platinum (sales of over 2 million records). Eddie Harsch, who played on the album, became a permanent member of the group beginning on the 'High as the Moon' tour. The spelling of his last name is often listed as 'Hawrysch.'

In 1994 the now six-piece offered up Amorica after scrapping the unreleased album Tall the previous year. Though Amorica failed to produce a hit single, the underrated album still eventually reached 'gold' status, selling over 500,000 copies. Controversially, the album cover featured a photo showing pubic hair. Three Snakes & One Charm was released in 1996, followed by another unreleased album, The Band the following year and the Deadhead-friendly Furthur tour, after which Marc Ford and Johnny Colt left the band. Bass player Sven Pipien joined in 1998 and the following year saw the release of the lackluster By Your Side again as a five-piece. Guitarist Audley Freed, formerly of Cry Of Love, joined shortly after.

In October 1999, the band were joined by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page for two pairs of shows in New York and Los Angeles, yielding a live release, Live at the Greek on TVT Records. Due to contractual issues with Columbia, Live at the Greek does not feature any of the Crowes' songs performed with Page. The collaboration led to a more extensive tour with Page and the Who in summer 2000, during which bassist Pipien was replaced by Greg Rzab. Following the tour, singer Chris Robinson married actress Kate Hudson on 31 December 2000, before heading back to the studio for the Crowes' sixth studio album.

In 2001, the band put out their sixth studio effort, Lions, which included the singles 'Lickin' and 'Soul Singin'. A live album pieced together from two sold-out shows performed at Boston's Orpheum Theatre appeared in 2002 around the same time the Crowes announced they would be taking an indefinite hiatus. Some members of the band did reunite to play one song with Gov't Mule at the 2003 Jammy Awards. During this period, Chris Robinson released two albums as Chris Robinson and the New Earth Mud: a self-titled album in 2003 and This Magnificent Distance (2004). Meanwhile, Rich Robinson formed a short-lived band called Hookah Brown before recording his own solo album, Paper (2004).

'Remedy' was used in commercial promotions of the ESPN series Tilt (starring Michael Madsen) in January 2005. The hiatus ended in early 2005 as the Robinson brothers reassembled the band - bringing Marc Ford and Sven Pipien back into the fold - for seven shows at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom in late March. When those shows quickly sold-out, the band added dates in venues across the country, including multiple-night sell-outs. In May of 2005, the Black Crowes reunited with original drummer Steve Gorman at the Tabernacle in Atlanta and played a five-night sold out stand at San Francisco's Filmore Auditorium.

As part of their reunion tour, the Crowes played a New Year's Eve concert (2005) at New York's famed Madison Square Garden, along with the North Mississippi All Stars and former Phish frontman Trey Anastasio. Anastasio was out to play guitar on 'Hard to Handle'. On 21 March 2006, the Black Crowes released their first DVD entitled Freak n' Roll... into the Fog, that features a live performance recorded at the historic Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, CA. There is also bonus material featuring a Behind-the-scenes short film. Also, Chris and Rich Robinson are out on the road as a duo for a special run of multiple-night acoustic shows. They will be performing a collection of their catalogue, influential covers as well as new material. Billed as Brothers of a Feather: An Acoustic Evening with Chris & Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes, all shows will be in a very intimate setting and will be recorded for a possible acoustic release at some point in the future.

Discography

  • Shake Your Money Maker (1990)
  • The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992)
  • Amorica (1994)
  • Three Snakes and One Charm (1996)
  • By Your Side (1999)
  • Lions (2001)
  • Warpaint (2008)
  • Before the Frost...Until the Freeze (2009)

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