Chris Robinson on Making Music: ‘Inspiration Is Always the Least of Our Worries’
On July 29, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood will release their fourth studio album, Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel. Robinson, formerly a founding member of the Black Crowes and also a solo artist, has been making music since the late 1980s — around 30 years — but running out of things to write about isn’t a concern.
“I think inspiration is always the least of our worries,” Robinson told The Boot at Mountain Jam 2016. “Our planet and our culture and our society is giving us a lot of trying, anxiety-filled things to deal with, and I think as sensitive people and hopefully progressive souls, we can find musical and poetic ways to kind of — not run away, but remove ourselves. We want to be able to weep and wail and also laugh at some of the same stuff.”
With the Crowes, Robinson played blues-y Southern rock; with the CRB, however, his music runs the gamut from that style to more psychedelic and jam band-esque. He admits, “Musicians aren’t really interested in genres.”
“The world is becoming more connoisseur driven, whether that’s, like, food and alcohol, or whether that’s, like, entertainment and stuff,” Robinson muses. “When it becomes something to buy and sell, it becomes more status driven. So, the music you listen to is more attune to the shoes you wear or the car you drive, as opposed to something that should have a soulful resonance.”
The Chris Robinson Brotherhood self-produced Anyway You Love — their first time doing so — and the band has two new members: Drummer Tony Leone joined the group in 2015, while bassist Jeff Hill came on board earlier this year.
“Having a new musician is having another person in on the conversation, you know?” Robinson says. “It’s a new relationship on all those levels.”
The CRB have been performing some of their new material at recent shows — including “Narcissus Soaking Wet,” “It Ain’t Hard But Fair,” “Leave My Guitar Alone” and “California Hymn” at Mountain Jam 2016 — and as for fans’ reactions, Robinson says with a laugh, “Well, they keep coming, so, you know …”
“People say, ‘You’ve been on the road for 26 years.’ I say, ‘Yeah.’ They say, ‘When are you gonna stop?’ I say, ‘When you die or people stop coming,'” he continues. “The great mystery is which will happen first, you know?
“[If they stopped coming,] it would be — it is what it is,” Robinson concludes. “Again, I don’t want to think too much about it; I just want to be doing it. And, to me, to stay involved is to be writing songs and having ideas, and that’s where we are in 2016 …”
See Photos of Chris Robinson Brotherhood at Mountain Jam 2016