THE MAGPIE SALUTE guitarist Rich Robinson (ex-THE BLACK CROWES) recently spoke with Cindy Miller of the New Bern, North Carolina radio station 106.5 WSFL. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On THE MAGPIE SALUTE's forthcoming debut album, "High Water I":
Rich: "We went into the studio and had so many songs. My thought was, 'Let's not leave anything on the table — let's just throw it in there and see what works. Everyone had a bunch of stuff — me, Marc [Ford] and John [Hogg], who wrote the record. We peeled away and sort of whittled it down to about 29 or 30 songs. We went in and recorded the whole record — actually, both records — and we felt like it was too much, obviously, to put into one album, so we had two albums worth of stuff. We wanted to stagger it to give people a chance to digest the first record and then to walk into the second one."
On how he came to recruit former members of THE BLACK CROWES to join THE MAGPIE SALUTE:
Rich: "A couple of years ago, I was touring on my last solo record, 'Flux', and this show came up that was a three-night show, basically, in Woodstock, New York at a studio that I had recorded in before. Basically, they would invite 100 people in to watch you record a live record. It was two sets a night, and it's just this cool thing — a whole immersive experience. I wanted to try something different. The older I get, the more I play, the more I realize what a gift it is to play with people you have this strong musical connection with. One of those guys is Marc Ford, who was in THE CROWES. For whatever reason, when he and I play together, it just had this extra thing — this intangible quality to it. I was, like, 'You know what? I haven't spoken to him in a while, but I'm going to reach out and see if he's interested.' We called him and he was, like, 'I don't care what it is. I'll be there. Just tell me when to show up.' I thought that was really cool. He and I were on the same page. Then I reached out to Eddie Harsch, who was the keyboard player in THE CROWES, because he and I had that same sort of musical relationship. He was like, 'I'll be there.' That's kind of how it started. When we all got there, we realized it was something that hadn't changed — it was special, it was something great. We decided to put our toe in the water and put a show up for sale and see where it went. One thing led to another, led to a record, led to this, and now here we are."
On how he would describe the group's style:
Rich: "The way that rock 'n' roll used to be, to me, could be anything from Sly Stone to Bob Dylan to LED ZEPPELIN to Bob Marley to Joni Mitchell. It was like anything and everything in between; it was this broad swath of music. And the styles were dictated by the artist – it wasn't dictated by some banker at a label who decided to create a genre to sell it easier. It was all part of what rock 'n' roll was in the day, and I think that's how I've always approached music. When I wrote songs in THE CROWES, I was trying to write songs as good as 'Tangled Up In Blue' or 'Everyday People' or 'Ten Years Gone' or 'Jumpin' Jack Flash'. I wasn't worried about what was popular at the time, because what was popular at the time didn't really hold a candle — it didn't have that authentic sort of nature and abandon that a lot of those great artists that I loved growing up had. Ultimately, I think that that's really what you get with this record and this band — that we can really go anywhere. The one cool thing about being in THE CROWES, although it was easy to try to over-genrify us and call us 'retro' or whatever it was, it was ultimately, we could go tour with AC/DC and Neil Young. We played shows with THE ROLLING STONES, PAGE [AND] PLANT, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, AC/DC, AEROSMITH. We could kind of fit within all of those different elements. Even THE [GRATEFUL] DEAD – we played with THE DEAD before Jerry [Garcia] passed away. To me, I feel like this band carries on that tradition."
On his most memorable tours:
Rich: "Two that stick out was when Jimmy Page played in our band for a year. That was amazing. We made that record, 'Live At The Greek', with Jimmy and THE CROWES. Secondly was touring with THE STONES. They let Chris [Robinson] and I hang out behind Keith's [Richards] amps, so we would stand right behind Keith's amps every night, about seven feet from Charlie Watts. They couldn't have been cooler. Those were two things that were pretty amazing."
On whether there's a chance he and his brother will reunite:
Rich: "Uhh... probably not. I would say no. The minute you step into an old situation, those old patterns come back, and it was just too negative. For me, I think it's more important for my own sanity not to have to deal with that anymore."
THE MAGPIE SALUTE brings together the reunited guitar team of Robinson and Ford, along with bassist Sven Pipien (also from the CROWES), lead singer John Hogg (HOOKAH BROWN, MOKE), drummer Joe Magistro and guitarist Nico Bereciartua.
"High Water I" will be released on August 10. It is the follow-up to last year's "The Magpie Salute (Live)", which was largely recorded in front of a studio audience in Woodstock, New York.