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BLACK CROWES AMORICA TOUR And More

BLACK CROWES AMORICA TOUR AND MORE

Today we are looking back at the BLACK CROWES THE AMORICA TOUR AND “MORE” With videos such as the story behind the Amorica Tour and /a few of the best footage of the Black Crowes.

I have at times been a late bloomer on bands. The Black Crowes were not one. They appeared on my radar the same as the Rest of the world. I saw the growth from “Shake Your Money Maker” to “The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion”. I owned and wore out a few copies of these Masterworks. I however didn’t get the opportunity to go to a Crowes show until “Amorica” was released. That entire experience made up for the lag time. It had less to do with the show than what was happening about an hour and a half before they were to take the stage. With the Amorica Tour on March 14, 1995, in Cleveland, Ohio.



The ticket purchase was a Birthday present for me. It quickly became much more than anticipated. The opening act was “The Dirty Dozen Brass Band” on Paper. The REAL Opening act was The Crowes themselves in a Reality sense. You often want to interact and witness behind-the-scenes things with your music heroes. This was weirdly perfect timing.

Our little group was walking up the sidewalk and right about the time we reached the Tour Bus on the left of us and the backstage door on our right I stopped dead in my tracks. I was asked what was happening and had to say “SHHHHH!” In a Muffled manner, I knew what I was hearing. There was nothing quite like a Band fight between Chris and Rich Robinson. Screaming, Obscenities straight from the script of “The Exorcist”, Chairs being thrown, Bottles Breaking, and this went on for a couple of minutes. Then the Door was KICKED open and Bassist Johnny Colt stormed out. Another afternoon for him watching his band explode. He walked across in front of me about 4 ft away and I just nodded at him and he shook his head in weariness and we locked eyes.

This was not the time for an autograph, his eyes told the story. It was an appreciation for not bothering him, with a pinch of “I swear if you speak to me right now I might have to kill you.” Those things don’t need to be spoken, you just know. I’d rather it have gone that way than it to have been the boring “Hey I got Johnny Colt’s autograph like millions have done before”. We had a Human Being Moment. He got on the bus. I looked over to my right and see the door is still open, so a few steps forward and I can see more chairs and bottles flying, and then Chris Robinson jumped from the food table like a Cocaine Superman to tackle to the ground brother Rich. A Huge Security Guard reaches out and slams the door. We 4 all in astonishment wondered if there would be a show or a murder. On Reflection, I knew Johnny asked himself that same question…every night.

Two Hours Later they turned in one of the best concerts you could ask for. I’ve been able to find tons of audio and video from shows the same week in other cities, some just a matter of days before or after Yet never that show. So I’ve come to this to give you a perspective on the period of the band’s life as their downward spiral began. Toronto 48 hours later. Secondly a better recording just 3 months later.


The Black Crowes – 16 March 1995 – Maple Leaf Gardens – Toronto, Ontario – Full SHow



The Black Crowes – Glastonbury Festival 1995-06-23



That Cleveland fight carried on until the following week where they did a run of shows at New York’s Beacon Theater and on the first night the band was ready to cancel the entire rest of the 1995 tour and literally break up. Luckily Management convinced them to hold it together. So my first show was almost my only show.

AMORICA

It’s an album that had to grow on many of us. Southern Harmony was undoubtedly impossible to follow and in time you realized that songs like “Wiser Time” “Gone” “A Conspiracy” worked well.
They were living in their own World they did state publicly that was “AMORICA”, emphasis or the MORE. It’s astounding they survived those 2 years and the years of Darkness that followed.
In Hindsight it is a solid album and they did find their feet again.

Chris and Rich Robinson are much like Phil and Don Everly. This was not Wake up Little Suzy, this was two brothers who carried a love Hate trip. This is not unusual in the least with the exception of the fights that were in the press, in front of cameras, and the fans. Without them, you had no Crowes. I’ve followed their separate careers and attended a “Chris Robinson Brotherhood” show and was mighty impressed. Chris just has the Voice only he can deliver, a Soulful Monster.

He has always had the Mouth as well, quick with a joke or Hilariously sarcasm as we call them “Chrisism”. Rich is from the school of Keith Richards. Solid, yet being a Grateful Dead Head he navigated the sounds in directions that were more often fabulous and kept the band from stagnating. He also came into his own voice as a solo artist and singer. The entire band lineup was picked by Jimmy Page to do a tour founded on the music of Zeppelin so that should in itself be enough to tell you their talents. They are currently reformed as The Black Crowes, with the Brothers being the only two from the original band.

Drummer Steve Gorman is one of my favorite drummers. He is never Flash. He has an understated groove that is always Just right. I firmly believe he can do more than we fans have ever seen, but he has a level head and serves the song. His Groove is hypnotic. I began to learn to play drums myself in 2007 and in my writing and recordings I subconsciously founded my own thoughts based solely on Steve. He was also much Like The Rolling Stones Bill Wyman the archivist and memory of the band and here we have been given the unflinching truths in his memoir “Hard to Handle”.
Steve Gorman details The Black Crowes Breakup, talks about how he taught Jimmy Page how to nap


Marc Ford has always been one of my favorite players. I was fortunate enough to see him in 1995 and then upfront in 2006 during his short 2nd membership in the band. He had redeemed his life as he has often spoken with brutal honesty about his addiction and road to sobriety. He was let go as he did reach the point of not knowing where he was and might well be playing in a different key and on occasion playing entirely different sand than the band. They simply began to turn him off the soundboard. The 2006 shows were him back on A Game, but he departed to protect his hard-won sobriety. He was his brilliant self on this show. Lightning does strike twice in the right circumstances.


The Black Crowes – Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, Columbus, OH 2006-08-01 (full show, audio only)



Johnny Colt turned in his walking papers in 1997 and pursued all manner of musical projects. I recently heard that he was playing Bass with Lynyrd Skynyrd. You can keep up with all things Colt here on Colt.





Ed Harsch was The Glue. He came to the Crowes from an already successful band “The Detroit Cobras” was Keyboard Player Chuck Levell had contributed to the band’s first album but was busy with other projects, the largest of which was being in The Rolling Stones. Ed was just a Brilliant part of the band and was happy to be there. I don’t recall ever seeing him in my many shows without a smile on his face. Sadly the world lost “Old Weird Ed” in 2016.

The Magpie Salute – Gramercy Theatre – Eddie Harsch Tribute Live



After the initial reaction and reception of “Amorica”, it is now looking back over the shoulder a Great work against all odds against it. It was much Like the Rolling Stones “Exile on Main Street” in that over time it progressed from “What the Hell is this?” to “Alright I get it.” Change is never-ending and they were a band that was not afraid to experiment, even if it fell flat on its face. That is something to be respected. They Never once played it safe.

The Black Crowes had many many lineup changes over 30 years and some stellar players, from Audley Freed to Luther Dickinson and Jackie Green paid their dues on the guitar,. Sven Pipien and Greg Rzab are on Bass duty. From 1995’s “Amorica” there was the lost period, They continued making records but it only came back into focus with 2001’s “Lions”. Some argue about that but in my opinion, it was the Redemption album.

I would be remiss If I didn’t mention Original Guitarist Jeff Cease He worked with the band throughout the first album and tour before being fired partly according to the band his lack of musical progress and the Pot calling the Kettle black “substance abuse.”

I had some discussions for about a year in 2010 with Jeff. At first, he was not having it and remained silent. Finally one day I wrote to him again and said “I’m not here to talk about the Crowes, I’m here to talk about YOU.” That broke the ice and we discussed bands he had been in and I tried for a number of months to encourage him in some solo efforts. He expressed that he had become the go-to Guitarist for the tours of the “American Idol” winners and was content doing that. He did also express he found his niche as at that time in Nashville they were fewer Les Paul players and it made him stand out a bit. In hindsight as the acts coming out of the Nashville Industry are somewhat reaping the benefit of the Les Paul Standard as a tool in the new growth of country-related music. He was a great conversationalist and a pleasure to speak with. As happens in life the conversations just got put by the wayside

As it seems the core of the Black Crowes may remain forever by the wayside as well music fans were well gifted with mostly great music. They had their moments of confusion and a few records that left many scratching their heads. No matter how weird and Dark things got there was always one or two shining moments on the record, but on the stage was where they lived. One the road was where they thrived, and in History was where they Rocked. Let the Feathers Fly where they may…. It was a Hell of a band. Thanks for the memories and the Jams.

VH1 Behind The Music Documentary The Black Crowes




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Jimmy Flemming