JamBase Questionnaire: The Black Crowes

Welcome back to JamBase's baker's dozen to the bright lights of the music world. Last time we heard from Scott Tournet of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and Blues & Lasers.

No one drums quite like Steve Gorman. The only original founding member besides the Robinson Brothers in The Black Crowes literally follows his own beat. Like Zep's John Bonham (easily the most apt ancestor one can find), Gorman knows the spread from New Orleans rolls to Valhalla shaking power fills to delicate, jazz textured intricacy but never utilizes these elements in a familiar or obvious way. Gorman's rhythm sensibility, in all its wonderfully idiosyncratic grooving, is as much a trademark part of the Crowes' sound as the massive guitar riffs or Chris' eloquent barding. Potent as all get out, his stick work has a unique swing that intertwines with rather than overpowers songs, underpinning the superstructure of the Crowes with resilience and great creativity.

Gorman and the rest of the flock fly very high indeed on the newly released Croweology, a two-disc, acoustic leaning stroll through 20 shining moments from the past 20 years. Picked and executed with obvious passion and care, this set shines a light on both the widely-known ("She Talks To Angels," "Jealous Again," "Remedy") and deep catalogue cuts ("Downtown Money Waster," "Soul Singing," "Morning Song"), finding gospel inflection and sparkling freshness in highly personal numbers like "Ballad In Urgency/Wiser Time" but also the well-worn hits. The intention behind this career-spanning assortment is clear - to offer a succinct idea of what constitutes Black Crowes Music – and the band succeeds beyond expectation. Even diehards will likely find much to love in these warmly massaged variations, which continually offer small, subtle surprises to the attentive ear. More than anything, one comes away with the sense that there's still a lot of life left inside this music and the folks who make it.

The Crowes embark on the "Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys Tour" starting August 13th in Milwaukee and concluding with a multi-night run at the Fillmore in San Francisco in December. These three-hour performances (in most markets) are being billed as "Acoustic Hors D'oeuvres followed by an Electric Reception with The Black Crowes," and will consist of a 90-minute acoustic set followed by a 90-minute electric set. See full tour dates here. (Dennis Cook)

Here's what Steve had to say to our inquiries.

Steve Gorman by Josh Miller
1. Great music rarely happens without…

2. The first album I bought was…
Beatles VI

3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was…
Wilco's Sky Blue Sky

4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be…
A drummer in a rock band and Arsenal's striker. One out of two ain't bad.

5. My favorite sort of gig is…
A large festival gig wherein our set (A) follows that of a band I always wanted to see but hadn't yet and (B) immediately precedes a World Cup match.

6. One thing I wish people knew about me is…
That I am extremely happy with how little about me people actually know.

7. I love the sound of…
Any crash cymbal and my kids having a good time. Not necessarily in that order.

8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as…
Any of the many albums that I love. There are too many to pick just one, or two, or thirty.

9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at…
A restaurant in Madrid that I swore I would always remember, but of course can't. But, if you put me in the same hotel, whose name I have also forgotten, I could get you to that restaurant. Straight out the front door, go left at the fork, down the second alley to the right and bingo!

10. I always find the coolest audiences in…
Glasgow, Scotland

11. The worst habit I've picked up being on the road all the time is…
Again, there are too many to pick just one, or two, or thirty.

12. The Beatles or the Stones? Por qué?
The Beatles. Did anyone else throw down over 200 songs (that every person over 35 years old in the Western hemisphere has heard and can hum along to) in only 7 years? I don't think so.

13. The craziest thing I ever saw was…
An oil executive explain that the ocean is very, very large, and that the oil spill was comparatively very, very small.

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[Published on: 8/6/10]

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