Where were you on the evening of Feb. 21? If you were at Water Street Music Hall then you got to catch a great show by Chris Robinson and the New Earth Mud. For your reading pleasure, and to curb my format boredom, I secured an interview with a music insider, “Salko.”

Campus Times: For the folks that don’t know, could you give a rough overview of Chris Robinson’s musical history?

Salko: Well, in three words, “The Black Crowes.” They started in 1990 and Chris captured the role of the raucous, pot-smoking, hotel-trashing frontman of the lost ’70s era.

The band had popular hits such as “She Talks to Angels” and the Otis Redding cover “Hard to Handle.” Their real draw, however, were their phenomenal live shows and energized albums.

CT: Thanks Darius. Now that that is squared away, tell us how Chris came to be in Rochester with “New Earth Mud,” his solo project.

S: Chris has, for a long time, been upset with the Crowes situation. Fighting with his brother Rich and having creative differences with the band, along with other factors, led him to pursue a solo career.

CT: So where did this band come from?

S: Chris met up with Paul Stacey — producer, guitarist, and main song collaborator for this record — through Noel Gallagher of Oasis. They made some music and they liked it.

CT: This music you speak of, what is the overarching feeling of it?

S: Well, Chris’s voice becomes more prominent as the Black Crowes style “wall of guitars” dissolves to a lower-key acoustic balladry. The album is not without its riffs and rockers, but as a whole, it’s a lot more docile. And you can definitely hear the English influence with more artsy sections and different instrumentation like sax and clavinet and moog that gives it a different feel from the Crowes’ stuff.

CT: So how was the show?

S: The show was amazing — these guys are a solid rock band. The tunes ranged from acoustic ballads to full-on rock with lots of time devoted to jamming. Chris and Paul even had a dialogue on guitar in a few songs, matching licks and having a good time.

They did a lot of their own tunes and a lot of covers including some Grateful Dead and some Dylan. My favorites were “Last of the Old-Time Train Robbers” and “Better than the Sun” a tune co-written by Dean Deleo of Stone Temple Pilots.

CT: Chris Robinson is big on legalizing marijuana — or as some may say, pot, grass or green brain candy — isn’t he?

S: He used to be a big promoter on the legalization of marijuana, giving radio talks and concerts dedicated to the cause, but these days it seems to be more of a carefree type of approach where he just does it and doesn’t care if it’s illegal.

CT: Did you smoke some of the green brain candy flower for the show?

S: Umm … yeah. I snuck in a few joints for me and my old buddy Cliff. We wanted to have enough to last for the three hours that they played.

CT: Who is Cliff?

S: Just some guy in his 50s who I met at the show. He still owes me a drink, in fact.

CT: Did he have long grey nose hairs?

S: No. Are we about done here?

CT: I like your name.

S: You’re a douche bag.

CT: I’m not a douche!

For more info on the New Earth Mud visit http://www.newearthmud.com.

Salko can be reached at dsalko@campustimes.org.



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