The Black Crowes need a break. Since their 2005 re-formation, the Atlanta-formed, New York-based group has toured incessantly — Friday's Verizon show will be their fifth Houston visit in that five-year span — and released several new records and DVDs. Now comes Croweology, a double-disc effort that features new acoustic recordings of previous material to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut Shake Your Money Maker.
So they're going "on hiatus," but not before embarking on a tour that will find them playing a 90-minute acoustic set, followed by an equal amount of time plugged in. Chatter spoke with drummer and original Crowe Steve Gorman.
Chatter: At what point did the band decide it was time for a break?
The Black Crowes
8 p.m. Friday, September 24, at Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas (Bayou Place), 713-230-1600 or www.livenation.com.
Steve Gorman: It was last year. We were discussing what turned into Croweology, then we realized it was the 20th anniversary, and we had to do something special, and then we got excited. We're not killing the thing, we're just pulling the plug for a while. We don't want to drive ourselves down again.
RO: I think that Luther Dickinson's more bluegrass and country guitar style with the slide work really shines on Croweology.
SG: Oh, entirely. Our band has always been "the sum is greater than the parts," and since Luther and [keyboardist Adam MacDougall] have been with us, it's been the most cohesive lineup we've ever had. And that's not a disparaging comment to the guys who have come before.
C: Is there anything about Chris and Rich Robinson today that you would have thought impossible 20 years ago?
SG: I think the single biggest thing is not that we're all in our forties or that we've done this so long, it's that everybody's a dad. It gives you an instant perspective. When you go from being the center of your universe to simply being a bridge from one generation to the next, it changes things pretty dramatically.
C: The format of the tour is interesting. I think it will bring out more of your hardcore fans.
SG: There are fans that I've even gotten to know who come to dozens of shows that I've spent hours talking to over the years, but they're not less important than the casual fan. The simple fact is that bands and music in general are not on people's radars as much as they used to be. I can't fault them for that.
C: Any specific memories of Houston over the years?
SG: Well, I've yet to have a bad meal in Houston. People don't really talk about it as a restaurant town. But my favorite memory was in 1990; we were touring with a band called Junkyard out of Austin. One of their friends was having a party at their house.
It's funny, because to this day when we go to Houston, something about that night will come up. The whole thing was like a scene out of Dazed and Confused. But it cemented Houston as a cool place in our heads.
Houston goths and '80s-music fans got a real scare last week when real-estate brokers Davis Commercial posted a listing online that beloved, bedraggled Montrose nightclub Numbers (300 Westheimer) is up for lease. In a statement last Wednesday, Numbers general manager Rudi Bunch said that the club's landlord had indeed engaged a realtor, but "we are working to resolve the situation, and have every expectation of remaining open with business as usual." In its 32 years, Numbers has hosted a dizzying array of artists from R.E.M. and Siouxsie & the Banshees to Nine Inch Nails and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. "Numbers is like cockroaches and Twinkies," Caddy Daeumer of Houston electro-pop group My Bitch Tits told our Rocks Off blog. "It'll never die."
3622-E Main, 713-533-9525 www.sigslagoon.com
1. Los Saicos, ¡Demolición!: The Complete Recordings (7" box set)
2. Various Artists, Local Customs: Lone Star Lowlands
3. Shinyribs, Well After Awhile
4. Various Artists, High Life Time: Early Nigerian & Ghanaian Sound
5. Budos Band, Budos Band III
6. To Scratch Your Heart: Early Recordings from Istanbul
7. Little Joe Washington, Houston Guitar Blues (LP)
8. The Relatives, The Relatives (LP)
9. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs (LP)
10. Iry LeJeune, The Definitive Collection
1. Usher, "There Goes My Baby"
2. Jaheim, "Finding My Way Back"
3. Anthony Hamilton, "The Point of It All"
4. Anthony Hamilton feat. David Banner, "Cool"
5. Fantasia, "Bittersweet"
6. Gerald Levert, "Can It Stay"
7. Marvin Sapp, "The Best in Me"
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8. Eric Benet, "Sometimes I Cry"
9. Charlie Wilson, "There Goes My Baby"
10. K'Jon, "On the Ocean"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)