Rich Robinson - Interview Exclusive Print
Written by Russ P   
Sunday, 04 March 2012 05:00

Rich Robinson, guitarist extraordinaire, barely needs an introduction on these pages. Together with brother Chris, as The Black Crowes, the pair are interwoven into the very life fabric of many of our writers here. With The Black Crowes' hiatus being a string of no known length I catch up with Rich at the end of his European tour and keep the questions to all things 'Crooked Sun'.





The tour's coming to an end. How was it? What will you remember from this tour?


Freezing our balls off and riding in a van (laughs). All the shows throughout Europe and the UK were great. And the fans were really cool. We had a lot of great experiences and the band, in my opinion, reached a whole new level of playing together and how we interact musically. I'll leave with very fond memories of the tour which is great.


Rich_Robinson_PaperYou're not playing anything from your first solo album 'Paper' on this tour.


We play one song maybe here and there but for the most part no.


Why is that?


I really like what we're doing now. I made that record about seven or eight years ago and I like the record and I was happy with it but I feel that this is where I am now and this is kind've what I want to focus on.


'Through a Crooked Sun' is a great sounding album. The feel is great and it's hard to imagine that a lot of it is just you on your own. How did you manage to capture that feel?


Joe (Magistro), my drummer, is just great. He and I have been playing together for so long that we kind've...even in The Crowes when sometimes we didn't have a bass player Steve (Gorman) and I would play drums and guitars - the guitar was the rhythm with the drums and Joe and I really play that way as well. And so to lay down that kind of track and then for me to overdub bass was really where we came from with that you know?


The themes you explore on the album are of loss, hardship and uncertainty. Can you talk about the financial difficulties that you went through?


For some reason the person who wrote the bio only really focused on that negativity. It really wasn't about loss - I went through all that shit but the record's more about the future, falling in love, having a new family, having babies, moving know, that's more where it is...that's what the record means. A lot of times people don't want to write about the positive. I look at it as a positive place to come from and that's why I really connect with this record and feel really good about it because it is coming from a more positive place.


Rich_Robinson_15Do you write from both positive and negative experiences? Do they both inspire you?


The inspiration comes more from the positive outcome of learning from shitty things that happen in life. I mean its just know?


'Hey Fear' deals directly with the emotion of fear. Have you ever been debilitated by fear?


I haven't been debilitated by fear. There are people who are severely debilitated by fear. Fear can really alter people's view of the world. It's something that is inherent in all of us. It's one of the truest emotions or feelings that we have. You can use it and learn from it. Or you can let it consume you.


Conceptually the idea of the song was taking a real dry Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid version of Bob Dylan playing 'Billy 4' or whatever it may be - which, to me, represents freedom of the West and what people were doing in the late 1800s out West in America. And then this bigger thing coming from behind and overtaking. You can let fear overtake you or you can learn from it and accept it as this thing that's there but you just ignore it.


'I Don't Hear The Sound Of You' is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Tell me about how that one came into being. And how the different feel for the ending came about.


I had this short pop song. I had this melody and this idea of what I wanted it to be about. I'd recorded the song as is and I'm like: "it kind've needs something else". I want it to dissipate into something. I felt that there was a perfect opportunity to disintegrate into...almost white noise. But then I had this other part that I had written later and I'm like: "I think these two work really well together". So I just kind've went in there and threw it down and it worked.


Rich_Robinson_Through_A_Crooked_SunAnother of my favourite tracks is 'Standing On The Surface Of The Sun'. For me there's something powerful about that type of groove. Do you feel it too?


Yeah. I think it's great. You know having Joe...there's a sparseness to it but a heaviness to the approach with the Taurus pedal organy bass part and this thing that kind've crawls around. Yeah, absolutely.


What have been your personal highs and lows in your musical career?


I don't really look at there having been any lows. There are really no lows. I've been very fortunate to be able to do what I do and play with idols...The Stones, Jimmy Page, Page and Plant, touring with Neil Young and Bob Dylan and playing with bands like Aerosmith, Grateful Dead, AC/DC and every band in between. I mean we've been incredibly fortunate in that sense. I look at those as highs. Plus our own success. To have songs that move people and have people get joy out of...those are the highs.


What makes you happy these days?


My new wife, my babies, my older kids - they make me happy and playing music makes me really happy. And when we have a great show it's a great feeling to just know that we connected and had this experience that night as a band and as an audience and all together. And to be around friends and tour with friends - it's great.


And what happens next for Rich Robinson?


We go to the States and do about 3 weeks there - which is our second time around over there. And Joe is going to be touring with his girlfriend in a band called CALLMeKAT and they're playing in Europe. Then we don't know. We'd like to come back and do festivals in Germany and the UK - all over if we can. Other than that, no plans right now.


Thanks for talking to us Rich.


Excellent, yeah sure.


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