What You Don't Know About The Black Crowes

The Black Crowes can best be described as a southern hard blues-rock jam band who reached the top of their fame in the early '90s. Their hit singles can still be found on the radio today, and chances are you know some of them. Their songs bridge a wide range of feels, from the acoustic ballad "She Talks to Angels" to the groovy pop of "Hard to Handle" and the jam-style "Jealous Again."

Sure, you might not be able to decrypt some of the band's lyrics ("Hard to Handle" comes to mind), but their songs were a popular force throughout the decade. They've had albums go double platinum, been nominated for multiple music awards, and their songs have been featured in films for decades. Even for their own time, the band had a vintage style that reminded listeners of music from another era. Though some fans were worried this would hinder their fame, it's one of the factors that contributed to it.

Outside of their singles, there probably isn't much the average music listener knows about the band, but that's okay. We're going to help you with that. Here are a few things you don't know about The Black Crowes.

Arrested at a convenience store

You'd think The Black Crowes' hit singles would've cemented their names in the minds of each and every person in America. That's why everyone knows about every famous musician that's ever lived, right? Wait. That's probably not true, but it seems to be something The Black Crowes' co-founder and frontman Chris Robinson believes. In fact, Robinson basically proved this when he went out of control on a not-fan who didn't know who The Black Crowes were.

In 1991, back when the band's fame was at its height, Robinson walked into a 7-Eleven late at night to buy some alcohol. The band had just finished a gig, and the guys were thirsty. According to Ultimate Guitar, it was too late for the clerk to legally sell Robinson the beer he was after, and this put the frontman on edge. Robinson wasn't the only person in the store, either. Another customer recognized Robinson and yelled out, "There's the lead singer of The Black Crowes!" According to the Orlando Sentinel, that's when the not-fan, Elizabeth Juergens, replied, "Who are the Black Crowes?"

Robinson turned to Juergens and informed her that she'd be aware of The Black Crowes if — and we can all agree that this is sheer poetry — she didn't eat so many Twinkies. The two got into an argument that may or may not have had something to do with pre-packaged pastries, and Robinson spit on Juergens, earning himself a trip in handcuffs.

Kicked off a ZZ Top tour

In the same year as the 7-Eleven Twinkie tantrum, The Black Crowes were opening for ZZ Top on tour — until they were booted, anyway. It came as a bit of a shock to the rock community. The Black Crowes were more famous than they'd ever been. Their albums were selling wildly, and their singles were blasting on radio stations across the country. Why then were the Crowes kicked off the tour? It all comes down to a spoken line in Atlanta, Georgia. At each show of the tour, the band would take a moment to stop the music and have a heart-to-heart with fans. Frontman Robinson told MTV (via the LA Times), "They were trying to censor what I was trying to say. ... I don't need a big corporation telling me about the only thing in my life I have control over really, which is my music."

Robinson had been telling the crowds, "This is live rock 'n' roll being brought to you commercial free." Which, Robinson claims, according to Rolling Stone, was a commentary on the bands who viewed their shows as commercials to sell their albums. The company running the tour, Lone Wolf Productions, saw it as a slam against Miller Beer, the tour's corporate sponsor, so they fired the band.

"I said, 'Don't tell me what to say. Kick us off.' And they did," said Robinson.

A conspiracy against brothers

Like most rock bands, The Black Crowes have had their ups and downs. They even called it quits at one point in 2013. Fortunately for their fans, they got back together in 2019 for their then-upcoming 30th-anniversary tour, but the band's composition wasn't the same as it was before. From what The Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson told USA Today, this was done on purpose, because some members of the band were toxic, trying purposefully to keep the co-founder brothers, Chris and Rich Robinson, from communicating with each other.

"In the Black Crowes, it became this incredibly toxic, dysfunctional scenario," Rich Robinson explained. "And it's easy just to blame Chris or blame me, or Chris and I. But there were a lot of people in that band working very actively to keep Chris and I from communicating and getting along. Because they couldn't get their way if Chris and I talked and got along."

The band is now sans drummer Steve Gorman, bassist Sven Pipien, and keyboard player Adam MacDougall, and instead features several members from the lesser-known band Howlin' Rain. The Robinson brothers were always the core of the band anyway, so we can expect them to sound pretty much the same.