Guitar World caught up with The Black Crowes vocalist Chris Robinson and his brother/guitarist Rich Robinson to discuss the band’s breakthrough album, Shake Your Money Maker, which celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2020. Following is an excerpt from the chat.
Guitar World: How were The Black Crowes doing when you first started recording Shake Your Money Maker back in 1989?
Chris Robinson: “You mean, anonymity and abject poverty? That was pretty much the vibe. Life is very different when no one gives a shit. Shake Your Money Maker was the first time we put something together that people would listen to. Up until that point, we were like, ‘Please, someone come to this fucking show!’ You used to tell someone you were in a band and they’d look at you like you were an idiot. Y’know, you’re a loser, you’re never gonna make it, that’s just for Los Angeles and New York. So there was a lot of ‘no’ and ‘can’t’ and ‘won’t’. It was good, though, because we had to rise up past that with our belief in what we were doing.”
Rich Robinson: “We had toured around in the South in vans, played to no-one, had club owners write us bad cheques, had fights – the typical shit bands have to deal with. With Shake Your Money Maker, we were making the best record we knew how to make, but it was a rock ’n’ roll record and rock ’n’ roll wasn’t very popular at the time – it was all Mariah Carey and hair-metal.”
Guitar World: Thirty-one years later, how do you think the album has aged?
Chris Robinson: “A lot of people bagged us. Y’know, a lot of older journalists and the fuckin’ NME said we were not cool. We were like Neil on The Young Ones… in the ’90s, the ’70s weren’t cool, y’know? And we took a lot of shit for it. But when I look back, there were a lot of throwaway, dumb, cheesy rock ballads at the time. I like a lot of ’90s music, but some of it you’re like, ‘Wow, that sounds really ’90s.’ And you can say whatever you want, but I think our record is more timeless, without sounding too [conceited]. I don’t think it’s the best record ever made or anything, but there’s a timeless quality to it.”
Rich Robinson: “I hadn’t listened to Shake Your Money Maker in decades. I just didn’t do it, until we started getting it remastered. It was interesting to hear, y’know? I think it really holds up. It’s an exciting record and there’s a lot of youthful exuberance on there.”
Read the complete interview here.
Back in February, The Black Crowes issued the official music video for “Charming Mess”. The clip, which can be seen below, features never before seen 1990 Crowes footage from the vault, as well as unreleased and behind-the-scenes content from the Shake Your Money Maker archives.
“Charming Mess” is a recently unearthed song that appears on the 30th anniversary multi-format reissue of The Black Crowes’ legendary album, Shake Your Money Maker. Pre-order your copy here.
The Super Deluxe box set features the original studio album remastered by George Drakoulias, three previously unheard studio recordings, two unreleased demos from Mr. Crowe’s Garden, a 14-track full unreleased concert from Atlanta, GA, in 1990, reproductions of an early Mr. Crowe’s Garden show flyer, set list, tour laminate, patch, and a 20 page book with unseen photos from the band’s personal archives and liner notes by David Fricke.
Available on 4LP Super Deluxe, 3CD Super Deluxe, 2CD, Standard CD & LP, streaming and download. It was released on February 26 on UMe/American Recordings. A limited number of super deluxe formats purchased through the official artist store feature a signed photo print.