In a new interview with Audacy Music, THE BLACK CROWES singer Chris Robinson spoke about the band’s upcoming album, “Happiness Bastards”, which is due on March 15. The band’s first full-length LP of new material in 15 years comes after Chris and his brother, THE BLACK CROWES guitarist Rich Robinson, repaired their relationship and reunited in 2019 for a string of more than 150 shows in 20 countries in celebration of the 30th anniversary of their breakthrough 1990 album “Shake Your Money Maker”.
Regarding the circumstances that led to the making of “Happiness Bastards”, Chris said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “It took both my brother and I’s sort of expedition into the wilderness of our solo careers, just to kind of take the heat off the kettle and get into the world and see… We went from basically living in mom and dad’s house to being rock stars in a few years. We never really had any perspective. We never had any really time to untangle that. And both of our lives and not being in each other’s lives and not having THE BLACK CROWES, for a long time I was, like, ‘Wow.’ I didn’t really know we would be back. But then things happen — in your life, things happen. And in my case, meeting the love of my life after all these years and having a partner in this that could really let me see things for what they are, to be able to heal my relationship with Rich — and he would say the same thing, I think — to have the team of people we have around us. And then I personally, I think the most important thing was not doing any new music. ‘Let’s get this band back together. Let’s see, let’s get these people in on this and let’s hit the road.’ ‘Cause that’s the proving ground, if you will.”
Chris went on to say that he and his brother were able to move forward in their relationship without dwelling too much on the past.
“Well, I think if you don’t have that attitude, then you’re just like mucking about in resentment and anger,” he explained. “And I don’t think either of us or anyone around us would be interested in that. And like I said, I think being on tour and getting it together, getting our feet under us and getting this whole thing, in a sense, to working order that we needed it to be was the fertile ground to finally make this new record.”
Asked if he sees “Happiness Bastards” as a reflection of the past or the start of something new, Chris said: “I don’t think it has anything to do with… I mean, yeah, of course it has something to do with the past, because it’s a body of work. We’re songwriters, we’re working artists, we’re musicians and we’ve been doing this through the ’80s, ’90s. I mean, the world changes quite a bit in 40 years, whether you like it or not. I think we’re focused on this, and this is what we’re excited about. But yeah, I think this just opens up the opportunity for Rich and I… When Rich and I are together or when Rich and I can work things out and when we have a great team around us and people care about us, it’s just the way it is in our lives and I think for a lot of people, we’re just more checked in with how we’re feeling and respect for one another and our experiences. We have a dual aspect to it because yeah, we’re family, but we also have this band that we dreamed up one day back in the ’80s. So the responsibility lies for Rich and I to be brothers and be there for each other. And we know when that is working, then the band is better, everything is better in our lives.”
The follow-up to 2009’s “Before The Frost… Until The Freeze”, “Happiness Bastards” was recorded with producer Jay Joyce in early 2023 by the Robinson brothers along with longtime bassist Sven Pipien.The 10-track album features a duet with Lainey Wilson, a Grammy-nominated country singer and songwriter who rose to prominence after her music was featured on the television drama “Yellowstone”. She was named the 2023 CMA Entertainer Of The Year.
“Happiness Bastards” track listing:
01. Bedside Manners
02. Rats And Clowns
03. Cross Your Fingers
04. Wanting And Waiting
05. Wilted Rose (featuring Lainey Wilson)
06. Dirty Cold Sun
07. Bleed It Dry
08. Flesh Wound
09. Follow The Moon
10. Kindred Friend
THE BLACK CROWES released an acoustic collection called “Croweology” in 2010. An EP, “1972” — a collection of covers — arrived in May 2022.
Joining Chris and Rich in THE BLACK CROWES‘ most recent touring lineup were Pipien, who played with the band live from 1997 up until the band’s hiatus in 2015, along with Brian Griffin on drums, Joel Robinow on keyboards and Isaiah Mitchell on guitar.
In celebration of the culmination of their 2021-22 reunion tour, THE BLACK CROWES released “The Black Crowes: Shake Your Money Maker Live”, an ode to the band reuniting and following an epic two-year anniversary tour with over 100 dates worldwide.
A deluxe reissue of “The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion” arrived on December 1, 2023. The set included previously unreleased studio recordings, rare B-sides and a live performance from 1993 at Houston’s Sam Houston Coliseum.
THE BLACK CROWES‘ debut album, 1990’s “Shake Your Money Maker”, was re-released in multi-formats sets in February 2021 through UMe/American Recordings. The album, fueled by singles “Jealous Again”, “Twice As Hard”, “She Talks To Angels” and a cover of fellow Georgian Otis Redding‘s “Hard To Handle”, has sold over five million copies.
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