Finally, The Black Crowes are back together and back in Las Vegas at their ideal home, the House of Blues. Atlanta-born rock ’n’ roll brothers Chris and Rich Robinson were set to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their seminal album Shake Your Money Maker two years ago with a massive reunion tour when COVID changed the plans. But they merely delayed the celebration and spent the downtime creating new Black Crowes songs after years of writing and recording quite a bit of music individually. Las Vegas Weekly caught up with both brothers to gauge the temperature of this blues-rock revival.
On the reunion: Chris: “A global killer virus will dampen any weekend, to say the least, so of course it was a lot. By the time Rich and I were on the same page to do it and we put a great band together … and then to put it on the backburner [because of the pandemic], that was frustrating. But it’s not like only our band had to deal with it; it’s been so tough for millions of people. To finally get out there and do exactly what we wanted to do—all the loud guitars in this era where there’s a lack of rock ’n’ roll—to do something that’s really alive and kind of woolly and wild, it’s amazing.”
On the Shake Your Money Maker shows: Rich: “We’re playing the album front to back, then mixing it up. It’s something we’ve never done in our whole history of being musicians. We’ve always pushed ourselves to move forward and do different things, even from day one. The minute we made Shake Your Money Maker, it was, ‘That’s done; let’s move on.’ So it’s been really interesting for us to look at this and have the discipline to focus on one album and the way it was written and recorded.”
Chris: “It feels like we got better every night, and there’s a different mindset and focus. It’s not just to celebrate that record. We’ve been through a lot, and it’s a celebration of all the things Rich and I have done.”
On new Black Crowes music: Rich: “The [pandemic] definitely opened up a huge space for us to be able to do it. Chris and I were never ones to sit around and not do anything, but we tried to take advantage of the time we had. I sent him 30 or 40 songs over the course of 18 months, like I always did, and we don’t really think about an album. I just write what I write depending on what moves me.”
On a lifetime of creative collaboration: Rich: “Every time I’d write a song, my unconscious focus was writing for Chris, his voice, the way he sings and phrases, all those elements. So to get back into that and just be a fan and be excited to hear what Chris brought, that’s always where my head was anyway, but to have that come back in and be able to hear his voice and lyrics over what I do again, it was really amazing.”
Chris: “No matter what we’ve been through, the writing is always just me and him. There weren’t other guys or producers around; we were always left to our own to do the composition, and that would be the time we never really argued or got into fights. Rich plays me something that sparks something or inspires me, and it can be any little thing that dictates where the lyrics and melodies come from. That’s just always been there for us, and we’re lucky that way.”
THE BLACK CROWES November 18-19, 8 p.m., $99-$180. House of Blues, 702-632-7600.