As we continue to make up what we missed in 2020, the time has come for The Black Crowes to grace our stages again. The brothers will return to the road with their Shake Your Money Maker Tour and will play the full album of the same name, plus plenty of their hits. You’ll get “Jealous Again,” “She Talks to Angels,” “Twice as Hard,” and “Hard to Handle” in the first half, then likely “Good Friday,” “Remedy,” “Thorn in My Pride,” and “Soul Singing” in the second half.
“Shake Your Money Maker” was released 30 years ago and took the rock world by storm. The debut album from Chris and Rich Robinson brought “gritty” guitar rock back to us when “rock” was being suffocated by hair bands. The Atlanta brother’s debut went double platinum in its first year and music hasn’t been the same since. “Shake Your Money Maker” is now FIVE times platinum, and it truly launched them into the rock stratosphere.
Of course, The Black Crowes didn’t just have talent, they also had attitude to match (which, let’s be honest, we love that in our rock legends). Their 30-year history includes band break ups, being kicked off ZZ Top’s tour, addiction, bad record deals, sold-out tours, band reunions, personal life highs and lows, plus a bunch of amazing albums. Then it came to a crashing end when they called it quits, followed by years of not speaking to each other.
But a funny thing happened in 2019. Just before the February 2020 anniversary of “Shake Your Money Maker,” legendary radio host Howard Stern announced to his listeners that The Black Crowes would be touring again – together. While the true anniversary tour had to be pushed back a year, the time has come for the Robinsons to hit the road and see what happens.
Although I say we love attitude in our rock idols, it needs to be backed up by talent. Plus, what kind of crap have we experienced in our own 30+ years of life, which presumably wasn’t broadcast in tabloids and social media. Fortunately, The Black Crowes CAN kick ass musically, so let’s put the drama aside and prepare to have our asses kicked sonically.
“The Black Crowes are straight-up rock and roll. Blues, rock, angst, good times and hard times, all wrapped-up in great songs and albums. While it hasn’t been the easiest road, brothers Chris and Rich and their bandmates have left an indelible mark on American rock and roll, and all music fans are better for it.”
KEITH CUNNINGHAM | 95.5 KLOS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
While members have come and gone, the Robinson brothers have been the constant since they created the band in their high school days. When their debut album made them known to all of us in 1990, they were young, and perhaps unprepared, for the overnight success it got them. Who could really be ready for that though? But while many bands can have a chart-topping debut with nothing to follow it up with, The Black Crowes were able to strike chart success again with “The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion” in 1992. The album debuted at number one and proved they had what it takes with hit singles “Hotel Illness,” “Remedy,” “Sting Me,” and “Thorn in My Pride.”
Going for a trifecta of hit albums, The Black Crowes dropped “Amorica” as their third release. It got attention for a racy (back in those days!) cover, but also brought us “High Head Blues,” “A Conspiracy,” and “Wiser Time.”
Alas, the drama had been simmering between the brothers regarding production duties and the album’s sound, and things started to get more chaotic. They were able to release additional albums “Three Snakes and One Charm,” “By Your Side,” and “Lions” before a 2002 hiatus.
Chris and Rich each did solo material and projects with others, but reconvened The Black Crowes in 2005. Although there had been live albums and DVDs, the next studio album came in 2008 with “Warpaint.” It got them back toward the top of the charts along with critical acclaim, plus spawned a live album with unreleased tracks and covers. Not stopping, they put out another studio album in 2009, “Before the Frost…Until the Freeze.” After extensive touring to promote it, additional years of touring, and another live album, there was a brief hiatus in 2013 that was followed in 2015 with the final break up.
Photo by Josh Cheuse
Once again, solo projects were the focus: Chris Robinson Brotherhood, As the Crow Flies, and The Magpie Salute among them. While each of them is successful in their own right, many of us are glad to have the brothers together again as The Black Crowes; not just for music, but to end the drama.
After the announcement that the brothers had repaired their relationship, but before the pandemic shutdown, they performed a few gigs as Brothers of a Feather, but they are itching to get back. Rich told Pollstar, “I can’t wait. It’s the longest I’ve gone without playing live since I was 19 years old.”
The pandemic did bring something good though; it gave them time to completely go through material for a “Shake Your Money Maker” re-release. As part of its 30th anniversary, the reissue includes unreleased studio tracks, demos, B-sides, and a previously unreleased live recording of a 1990 two-night Atlanta “homecoming show” and was published in multiple formats.
The Shake Your Money Maker Tour begins July 20th in Nashville and will play outdoor amphitheaters, except for the stop in Los Angeles which will be indoors at The Forum on August 19th. Chris recently told Pollstar, “We’re all vaccinated. We’re doing meet-and-greets. We’ll take our precautions and wear masks (backstage) and do what we need to do.”
The Robinsons will be joined by Sven Pipien on bass, Brian Griffin as drums, Joel Robinow on keyboards, and Isaiah Mitchell on guitar. Los Angeles’ Dirty Honey will support the Crowes as the opener.
Grab your tickets now – if you have not already – so we can see these brothers rockin’ it out like they used to do. “To come full circle and concentrate on playing these songs in the album version with no jamming, it’s a different energy and a different focus,” Chris said. “Cruising around America, playing in these outdoor venues where people will feel safe … we’re just happy to be making a racket.”