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Black Crowes' Rich Robinson is happy to be flying solo again

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Sunday, July 24, 2016

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"Flux" is hardly Rich Robinson's first solo outing. It's his fifth, in fact.

But it's the guitarist and bandleader's first since he announced the (apparently) final dissolution of the Black Crowes at the beginning of 2015, which would seem to make it akin to the beginning of a new era.

But Robinson doesn't necessarily see it that way.

"I've always written the way I write, just based on taste," Robinson, 47, says by phone from a tour stop in New Orleans. "That's never really changed, no matter what I'm writing for.

"But I had 'The Ceaseless Sight' out in 2014, and I knew I wanted to do another (solo album) at some point. I knew (the Crowes) were done in 2014; I just said, "F*** it. I'm done waiting. This is stupid." So two years later, having all this (music) ready and just being ready to go into the studio -- that was basically the reason this (album) happened."

This time around, the Atlanta-born Robinson took a different approach to creating the songs for "Flux." Very little was prepared, he says, and most of the tracks were created with his band, in the studio while the red recording light was on.

"I went in with less than I had on 'Ceaseless Sight,'" Robinson says. "I had a bunch of parts but decided I wasn't going to finish the songs until I got into the studio up in Woodstock. I really like that energy of having certain things to use as a springboard and going in and seeing what happens.

"It's all about how it feels. So I took the parts and went in and worked them out and we wound up recording about 18 songs. The record covers a lot of musical ground. It feels kind of different from the rest. Sonically, vocally it's like a next-level record. I'm really happy about it."

"Flux" is part of a busy year for Robinson. He preceded the album's late June release with reissues of his previous solo albums -- and even had to re-record all the vocals for 2004's "Paper" when his original parts weren't on the master tapes. He also toured with Bad Company earlier this summer in place of group founder Mick Ralphs, who opted to sit out the trek.

As for the Black Crowes, Robinson is pessimistic. The group has split up and reunited in the past. but differences between Robinson and his older brother and Crowes frontman Chris have reached a divide that the guitarist feels is insurmountable.

"I think it's pretty much dead and gone," Robinson says. "I just can't see us doing it again, and it's a shame. I think Chris thought he had some leverage; the 25th anniversary was coming up and his wife sent this e.mail over demanding all this stuff and we said 'We don't agree to your terms,' and the rest is history.

"We could've done one final tour and ended on a high note with everyone in the band, done something really cool and say goodbye. We could've handed it better -- or Chris could've. It's a bummer, and that's all I can say."

Rich Robinson Band and Bonnie Bishop

Sunday, July 24. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

Tickets are $25.

Call 248-544-3030 or visit themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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