Rich Robinson is most associated with the Black Crowes, a band who featured his brother Chris. Now that band have called it a day both brothers are busy pursuing their own musical paths. Rich Robinson has just released his new solo album ‘Flux’ and here GRTR!’s Nikk Gunns asks a few questions about the album, touring plans and more…
Following your recent re-issue campaign and the release of new album “Flux”, are you planning to play any shows in Europe this year?
We are looking into hopefully coming over in October.
Your new album “Flux” has to be one of the best of your career, could you take us through the new album (e.g. story behind the songs, song writing process)?
This record in particular I went into the studio with a real sense of urgency, there’s a finite amount of time, as I was only in there with the band for a month. You have to make decisions, so a lot of these songs I like to work out on the fly.
As far as this record goes I didn’t actually finish the songs before I went in, I like that process because it really makes me focus. That’s where the record sprung from. As we were recording the album we felt like it was a really different sounding album, for what I do.
It sounds like me in terms of the way I write songs but it’s definitely a step into something new – I feel really happy with it. The single, Music That Lifts Me is the first single, and a song that I had after I went on tour and it was bugging me, as I really liked it. I went back to finish some vocals and ended up laying down the track & rocked it out in a day.
Are there any other artists that you would like to collaborate with?
I would love to work with Jimmy in the near future. I would love to work with Jeff Tweedy from Wilko, or Chris Cornell – those guys are really cool.
What have been the most memorable live shows from you and why? Is there a career highlight that you will look back on as a defining moment for you?
There are a bunch of great shows out there that we did, – with AC/DC , The Stones. Playing with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant – they were such cool people. Having Jimmy play in our band – well, there’s nothing better than that.
How did you get your first break into the music business? What piece of advice would you pass onto budding musicians?
It’s so different now than it was . I don’t even know how people would start now. For us it just happened that we played some shows, on the local scene and got big there. It just used to be the way – build up a regional thing and expand from there.
I think the main thing is to get into music because you love music and your intention is to play what you love – and you can’t go wrong. If you get into music to be famous it’s a problem – I feel like we don’t need any more of that kind of music in this world.
On an indie level there are probably a lot of good bands out there – staying true to themselves. But in some cases the music industry has been taken over by bankers who have corporate degrees who could just as easily be working at IBM than in music. They look at music as product and have contempt for the artist, it’s a strange mentality. If all they think about is money the creative content suffers. And what’s happened is the focus has now become all about technology, Protools etc. These can be great enhancements in some cases. But the creative endeavour has to be pure, and come from a real place.
There seems to be a number of high profile hard rock musicians moving to Nashville and giving their career a country tinge. Do you see this as a fad or is this the way forward?
I think it’s silly. A lot of these dudes that moved down here wrote big songs in the 80s and are just putting a little ‘twang’ on it. I think that other than a couple of artists like Chris Stapleton, who is legit, much of that popular country music is the worst of the worst – vapid and lacking in any soul. It’s commerce.
I find it uncool that Steven Tyler is making a country record. It’s way different than when the Stones went down this road, they were not trying to fit into a trend, it was just an influence to their music. Keith had been hanging out with Gram Parsons, and the songs were deep and beautiful. Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds touched on the truest element of country music. Whereas now people just see it as a way to sell records.
What are your plans for the next 5 years or so? Is there anything that you haven’t yet done in your career that you aim to achieve?
I would love to work with Paul McCartney or Ringo. George Harrison had some nice things to say about my old band before he passed away, which was beyond flattering. I’d also love to work with Jimmy, Keith, or Ron Wood. I would love to make a record with Dylan. There are a tonne of people I would like to work with really. I don’t really have a 5 year plan though, I don’t think that far in advance!
Have you got a message for your fans here in the UK?
I hope to see you soon, and when I come bring as many friends as possible, let’s fill these venues so I can keep coming back.
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