For over two decades, the Black Crowes topped the charts and reigned supreme over the radio waves, even as hair bands, grunge, and hip-hop threatened to dethrone them. With hits like “Hard to Handle,” “She Talks to Angels,” and “Remedy,” their massive success launched them to stardom in the early ’90s, earning them a place among rock royalty. They were on the cover of Rolling Stone, MTV played their videos 24/7, and Generation X re-discovered the power of classic rock and blues by digging into multi-platinum classics like Shake Your Money Maker and The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion.
But stardom can be fleeting. For the Black Crowes, success slowly dwindled as the band members got caught up in the rock star world and lost sight of their musical ambition. Despite the drinking, drugs, and incessant fighting between Chris and Rich Robinson—the angriest brothers in rock and roll, with all due respect to Oasis and the Kinks—the band continued to tour until 2013. On any given night, they could be the best band you ever saw. (Or the most combative.) Then, one last rift caused by Chris Robinson proved insurmountable for the band to survive. After that, the Black Crowes would fly no more.
Founding member Steve Gorman was there for all of it—the coke and weed-fueled tours; the tumultuous recording sessions; the backstage hangs with legends like Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and the Rolling Stones. As the band’s drummer and voice of reason, he tried to keep the Black Crowes together musically—and in one piece emotionally. In his first-person history of the Black Crowes, Hard To Handle—the first ever account of this great American rock band’s beginning, middle, and end—Gorman makes it clear just how impossible that job was. Fortunately, Gorman tells the tale with great insight, candor, and humor. They don’t make bands like the Black Crowes anymore: crazy, brilliant, self-destructive, inspiring, and, ultimately, not built to last. But, man, what a ride it was while it lasted.
Steve Gorman is a founding member of the Black Crowes as well as his current band, Trigger Hippy. He has created and hosted two nationally syndicated radio shows. Hard to Handle is his first book. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two kids.
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