When people talk about rock music in the ’90s, the story always seems to start with Nirvana’s Nevermind. But that record came out toward the end of 1991 — what about what happened before that? For me, a crucial touchstone in ’90s rock that’s often overlooked is Shake Your Money Maker, the 1990 debut by the Black Crowes. At the time, rock music was bifurcated into mainstream and underground scenes — you were either Guns N’ Roses or the Replacements. But the Black Crowes emerged as a missing link between those bands — they played straight-forward rock ‘n’ roll in the style of the Faces and early ’70s Rolling Stones without the pomposity of hair metal or the pretensions of indie rock. Thanks to singles such as “Hard To Handle” and “She Talks To Angels,” Shake Your Money Maker became a multi-platinum smash right before grunge took over.
What happened next is one of the more fascinating stories in ’90s rock. The Black Crowes were essentially the American version of Oasis — a brash, hard-partying group led by two brothers who were constantly at each others’ throats. There were drugs, breakups, celebrity wives, more breakups, lawsuits and all sorts of other drama. The Black Crowes were the most rock ‘n’ roll rock ‘n’ roll band of their time. They should be celebrated more.
To help make sense of this tumultuous, criminally underrated band, I invited my friend and Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman on the podcast. We talked about the band’s interactions with Rick Rubin, the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, the time they spent $1 million on an album they didn’t even put out, and Steve’s almost-fistfight with Liam Gallagher at Glastonbury in 1995. Stories abound in this episode!
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