Marijuana Policy Project

Rather Than Celebrate 25th Anniversary, Black Crowes Break Up

Black Crowes founders Chris and Rich Robinson

The bad blood between the brothers Robinson - Chris and Rich - has resulted in another band breakup for the Black Crowes. This time, it's serious, with Rich accusing Chris of demanding "that I must give up my equal share of the band."

In a statement issued on Jan. 15, Rich also claimed that longtime drummer Steve Gorman has been asked by Chris to "relinquish 100% of his share, reducing him to a salaried employee." In both cases, he said, this is "not something I could agree to."

For his part, Chris has called the band tedious and says, "The Black Crowes don't write songs anymore. They don't think of the present or the future. I like making albums and playing concerts. I was sitting on two EPs' worth of written songs."

He's currently touring and recording with his own group, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. "The Black Crowes were a rebellion," he explains. "This [Chris Robinson Brotherhood] is a pragmatic reaction to how I feel. The only revolutionary thing we're doing is staying out of the music business. There's Olive Gardens and Red Lobsters in music. We just don't eat there. We're grassroots."

Gorman discussed Rich Robinson's decision to disband the group at length on his Fox Sports radio show:

"There's no surprise. I've known this for quite some time. I knew Rich Robinson, my guitar player in the band for 28 years, was going to put out a statement. The statement is entirely true. That's what happened, yes. Obviously that's something that there was no chance in a million years that would be agreed to."

He had some choice words for Chris Robinson: "Rock singers at the end of the day all share certain traits… Singers are nuts. He was a great rock & roll singer at one time and he wants to do something different obviously."

About the brothers' sour relationship: "I think if (Chris) had a flat tire on the side of the road (Rich) would buzz right by in his BMW and wave."

About their scuttled 25th anniversary tour plans: "We had every intention of going out this year. This is 25 years since the first record came out. We had every intention of doing an anniversary tour. That was in the books. Those plans were formulated and they had been agreed to.

"Bands break up all the time," Gorman added wistfully. "The Beatles broke up. REM broke up. We're not going to go on forever. That's it. It's done. It happens. We had a fantastic run. What are you going to do?"

The Crowes were the lead rock band in the stoner wave of the '90s. They appeared on the cover of High Times in 1992. That year, they had a No. 1 album with Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. Over the years, they recorded eight studio albums and released numerous live discs. The band went on hiatus in 2002 until 2005. In 2010, the Crowes split up again only two re-form two years later.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.