The Black Crowes
THE BLACK CROWES are Chris (vocals), Rich (guitars), Steve Gorman (drums) and Sven Pipien (bass)–and WARPAINT introduces new members Adam MacDougall (keyboards) and guitarist Luther Dickinson, known for his work in the North Mississippi All-Stars and The Word, where he performs with Robert Randolph and John Medeski (of Medeski, Martin & Wood). “Luther couldn’t have complimented the material or what the band does any better,” says Chris. “And what Adam has brought to the band is equally a gift to our music.” Rich continues, “Luther fit in before he even plugged in to play. He comes from where we come from, he loves the music we love, and he brought so much new to our songs. Same thing goes for Adam. Bringing them in–their energy, playing and approach–just made it so seamless and great. The first week we were in the studio we recorded the majority of the album. We just knocked it out.” Paul Stacey, who’s worked with Chris for years and played guitar with the band for a (by design) temporary period before Dickinson joined, produced the new album, which came to life at Allaire Studios at the foot of the Catskills in upstate New York. Not far from Woodstock, the live-in facility has been the birth place in recent years for My Morning Jacket’s Z, Ray Lamontagne’s Till The Sun Turns Black, Martha Wainwright’s debut and many other resonant modern gems. WARPAINT easily joins this lineage, a work of instant depth and unrestrained gusto. “It’s a little more self-assured, and has a bit more swagger,” enthuses Chris about where the new album fits into the band’s body of work. “Not since Southern Harmony have we had such a crystal clear picture of where we are and where we’re going.” Rich picks it up, “Allaire is stunningly beautiful, so quiet and isolated…It brings a focus and inspiration to what you’re doing. You do draw from the place where you are.” Right from their start in 1990—with their six million-selling SHAKE YOUR MONEY MAKER, a pivotal work that kick started an authentic style of rock and roll in America—THE BLACK CROWES have been at odds with prevailing commercial trends. Their heady mix of ’70s inflected rock, Funkadelic soul and heartfelt roots music jostled against the hair metal and high-gloss pop getting airplay at the start of that decade. While the sheer attitude and charm of “Hard To Handle” and “Twice As Hard” managed to make waves, the intervening years have seen the band steadily evolve an increasingly refined, singular sound that takes the best parts of hard rock, gospel, country, psychedelia and anything else it fancies into their hungry maw to create something several light years beyond the young men who recorded “She Talks To Angels.” “Even in our most commercially successful period,” says Chris, “there was nothing like us on any format. By the time grunge happened, Southern Harmony (1992) and amorica (1994) didn’t fit into any part of popular music. We looked different, we sounded different, and we set up our culture a little different,” he adds. “Everybody who wanted to bag us because they thought they knew what we were missed out on a lot of good music, good concerts and a band that, even at our weirdest, had something to say.” THE BLACK CROWES not only had something to say; they became known as as one of rock’s best live acts and have been called a “thoroughbred American rock ‘n’ freakin’ roll band.” Their panoramic live shows feature alternating set lists and signature incendiary musical explorations that are designed to take audiences on a journey.