The highly-influential Southern rock band The Black Crowes has officially broken up according to a statement released today from the band’s long-time guitar player Rich Robinson. The band was founded 24 years ago by Rich and his brother and singer for the band Chris Robinson.
“It is with great disappointment and regret that after having the privilege of writing and performing the music of The Black Crowes over the last 24 years, I find myself in the position of saying that the band has broken up,” the statement from Rich Robinson reads. “I hold my time with the Black Crowes with the utmost respect and sincerest appreciation. It is a huge swath of my life’s body of work. I couldn’t be more proud of what we accomplished and deeply moved by the relationships people created and maintained with my music. That alone is the greatest honor of being a musician.”
The Black Crowes’ debut album Shake Your Money Maker, and the followup The Southern Harmony & Musical Companion were both widely successful releases, both going multi-platinum with multiple charting singles. Subsequently the band became a consistent concert draw despite the lack of big singles or albums, and began to delve more into more experimental music modes and jam band material. The Crowes’ influence can be heard all across country and Southern rock music today. They were arguably the most successful Southern rock band of the subgenre’s second generation, after the high tide of Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers, and before the newer bands of today.
According to Rich Robinson, the issue came down to a spat over money with his brother.
I love my brother and respect his talent but his present demand that I must give up my equal share of the band and that our drummer for 28 years and original partner, Steve Gorman, relinquish 100% of his share, reducing him to a salaried employee, is not something I could agree to. There are so many people who have helped and supported us along the way. I want to give a heartfelt thank you to all of our fans, our friends behind the scenes, and to everyone who was a part of The Black Crowes.”
Both of the Robinson brothers have been focused on side projects in recent years—Chris with the New Earth Mud band, and more recently with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and Rich with solo projects such as Hookah Brown and Circle Sound.
The band had already announced a hiatus in the summer of 2014, with Chris Robinson saying, “It might be 18 months, it might be two years, it might be five — I don’t know. We’ll get back together when we feel it’s right. There’s no end or beginning; it’s, ‘Let’s just do some other stuff for a while, and we’ll get back together when we feel it’s right.'” But this new announcement sounds much more permanent.
The sound of The Black Crowes is often imitated in modern country, but is rarely or ever duplicated.
RIP The Black Crowes 1989-2015