Hard To Handle and in its 369 pages is, without doubt, the best Rock Biography I have ever read!
Sure that is quite the statement but I tell you, author, Steve Gorman (had the best seat in the house as Steve was the Crowes Drummer from 1987 to 2013) has compiled such a fascinating read that once you start it you cannot put this book down.
Gorman has written a book in a way that you don’t even have to be a huge fan of the Crowes(they kind of lost me after the third album 1995’s Amorica) to get the dysfunction within a band. Steve pulls no punches in regards to anyone and I believe him when he writes the many tales of Rich and Chris Robinson and how they singlehandedly destroyed anything positive that came there way.
You want an example here’s one that Groman learned a year and a half later after a 55 date tour and recording session with Jimmy Page was canceled as Gorman bumped into Page in London.
Page told Gorman that he offered to write songs with the Robinson brothers for their next record, but Rich blew him off with a “No thanks! … We don’t need more songs.” “I was insulted,” Page said to Gorman, who furiously called the Crowes’ manager and told him, “I’m driving to Connecticut, and I’m going to kill Rich in his home.”
How Gorman tells these tales is amazing. It makes sense to see how one would go bonkers as Steve writes that the Crowes were on life support by 1999 and they hook up with Page for the Live At The Greek Theater show which resulted in there first Gold album in years and a renewed interest from Record Companies and Promoters about a tour and album with Page.
I could share many stories with you but let’s just say you would be better to track this book down for yourself! My daughter Lauren gave it to me as a gift this Xmas so it’s good I had some time off from work as I was immersed in this book big time.
I also have to add that I love how Steve gets right to it as he starts the book back in 1987 when he first hooked up with the Robinson brothers( Mr. Crowes Garden was their original band name). Gorman avoids that usual first 100 pages of a rock bio when one goes on about there childhood and whatnot. Right to the meat and potatoes of the Book!
Speaking of 1987 that’s when Steve took up drumming(at the age of 25) and then 3 years later(1990) Steve and The Black Crowes are opening in arenas for…
Aerosmith paid the Crowes $500 a night and as Gorman says, Joe Perry was a surly prick to them. Steve used the word ‘surly’.
ZZ Top who fired the Crowes after there hometown Atlanta show as Chris was announcing from the stage that ZZ sold out to cooperate sponsorship for the tour. (Miller Lite). Read the book and you can see how the Lead Singer became a hypocrite in regards to sponsorship.
Robert Plant who Gorman said that Plant and his band were the best to tour with had a 4-day layoff as both bands camped together at a park in Manitoba Canada!!
Producer Brendan O’Brien lays down the guitar solo on Hard To Handle off the debut album.
Gorman and Page took a nap together backstage in Page’s dressing room which pissed the brothers off. Haha!
Just a few tidbits for ya.
Chris and Rich fought constantly. Chris hated the Grateful Dead in the early ’90s but by 1995 Chris wanted the Crowes to become a band like the Grateful Dead as he became a huge DeadHead.
The third album Tall was scrapped at a cost of $600,000 and rerecorded and came out as Amorica which did not amuse the record company whatsoever.
They played Edinburgh Scotland once and never returned.
Manager Pete Angelus had to deal with a ton of shit to say the least. Angelus warned the Crowes early on that when you play a gig you always leave together as band. No wandering off as when Angelus was managing Van Halen in the early 80’s he had to calm down a Father in a hotel lobby as his daughter was in a room upstairs with David Lee Roth. The real problem Angleus noted was the Father was in the hotel lobby swinging a running chainsaw around!
When one reads this book you realize the Black Crowes was a band who couldn’t get along with anyone including themselves
Course what brought the band to break up was wait for it…
Money! When the Crowes first started Chris/Rich/Steve and Bassist Johhny Colt ( Colt has to be one of the coolest as fuck guys ever!) were all equals until Colt quit and they split the money 3 ways. No surprise there and as Steve writes about…
On the eve of a 2015 tour celebrating the anniversary of the band’s debut album, Chris Robinson demanded a larger percentage of the Crowes’ dough. Chris wanted all of Gorman’s share. Chris wanted 75 percent of all the band’s income which was an upgrade from the 33 1/3 percent Chris had been receiving.
One Hell of a fascinating read!
Here’s a quote on the back of the back that sums it up best!
―John McEnroe, New York Times bestselling author of But Seriously and You Cannot Be Serious.