You'll soon be able to hear Chris Robinson's debut solo material live at any of the Black Crowes frontman's upcoming tour stops. You can also check out the lanky singer's acoustic-driven rockers on New Earth Mud, which hit stores this week. Just don't expect to be hearing any of them in a commercial.
"These young bands, they sign their songs to commercials and everything looks all the same and everybody dresses the same and everybody says the same bullsh--," Robinson complained. "Everyone's lip-synching again.
"To the dismay of others around me," he continued, "I refuse to start associating being overtly commercial with being successful. I'm not one who's validated by fame and money ... I think you can be commercially successful, but do you have to sleep with the lions? You lay down with lions, but do you have to become them? You should always have a healthy disrespect for authority, and you know what? Corporations are authority."
Despite his obvious ire toward corporate America and the artists who license their songs to say, car manufacturers, the 12 songs on New Earth Mud sound incredibly relaxed. Having spent over a decade fronting the often tumultuous Crowes alongside his brother Rich, the elder Robinson is feeling more than satisfied with his first solo outing.
"I don't think I've ever been this comfortable in my career," said the singer, who's married to actress Kate Hudson. "I'm happy with the record, I love the way it sounds, I love the songs. I loved being in Paris [recording] and working with [producer] Paul [Stacey]. I'm really happy in my personal life. And there's no politics and drama... We live in a time where independence is almost frowned upon. That's where my comfort zone comes from. I've already succeeded. I've already made the record I wanted to make and it feels the way I want it to feel.
"I want to sell millions of records," he added. "But if that doesn't happen, I'm secure and safe in the knowledge that I know that what I'm putting out there is real. And I don't have to make up some guise or some pose and be somebody I'm not to do it... Hey, if there were a bunch of teenage kids who wanted to stop following and start thinking and my record was the catalyst and I was on 'TRL,' cool. Now, am I going to become somebody I'm not to do that? Am I going to pretend to be hip and young? Am I going to be angry when I'm not angry? I don't pose for people."
Apparently, New Earth Mud has been a long time coming. The 35-year-old Robinson said he first wrote solo material outside of the Crowes (with members of Jellyfish) as far back as 1992.
"I had a great time doing it, but [it never came out] because of the Crowes and the commitment," he explained. "I can't do something just to do it, like 'Oh, here's a solo record, I'll put it out then go back to [the band].' I have to be fully committed. That's why some people, I guess, say the Crowes are broken up or on hiatus or whatever. I just told everyone the last time we met, 'I'll see you when I see you.' I don't really know what's gonna happen. Inevitably, when any relationship dissolves, it's tender and people say, 'F--- him,' and 'He said this,' and 'I quit.' I really managed to avoid a lot of that drama by getting into this work."
Chris Robinson tour dates, according to his publicist:
- 11/21 - Dallas, TX @ Gypsy Tea Room
- 11/22 - Austin, TX @ The Mercury
- 11/23 - Houston, TX @ Numbers
- 11/25 - New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
- 11/26 - Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
- 11/29 - Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
- 11/30 - Charlotte, NC @ Tremont Music Hall
- 12/01 - Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre
- 12/06 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
- 12/07 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
- 12/09 - Asbury Park, NJ @ Stone Pony
- 12/10 - Norfolk, VA @ Norva
- 12/11 - Charlottesville, VA @ Starr Hill
- 12/13 - New Haven, CT @ Toads Place
- 12/14 - Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street
- 12/18 - Winooski, VA @ Higher Ground
- 12/19 - Clifton Park, NY @ Northern Lights