Courtesy photoInspired by folklore: Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s latest album is “The Magic Door.”

Courtesy photoInspired by folklore: Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s latest album is “The Magic Door.”

Chris Robinson Brotherhood conjures myth and mystery

The band name itself is an in-joke because the Chris Robinson Brotherhood features keyboardist Adam MacDougall, bassist Mark Dutton, drummer George Sluppick, guitarist Neal Casal and, of course, Chris Robinson on guitar and vocals — but not his brother and longtime Black Crowes bandmate, Rich Robinson. But in two albums the group has forged its own extended-jam path, exemplified by the surreal Alan Forbes cover illustration on the new record, “The Magic Door.” “I told him I wanted him to do Albrecht Durer’s celestial map of the northern sky, but with our psychedelic icons and mythology intermingled, like when our space gnome Captain Nebula opens the door to the other side,” Robinson says of his concept.

Who needs drugs when you have Alan Forbes designing your logo and cover art? Hey, times are tough in America! You should get something extra out of your original investment!

Are you into astronomy or astrology? I’m more into mythology, folklore. But there is an esoteric plane where all those cosmic things collide. And of course, you have to read Robert Graves’ “The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth.” But I go through phases. A few years ago, it was all Arabic, then I was into the Indian stuff. But lately, I’ve been into Dark Ages, Anglo-Saxon historical mythology, plus I’ve been revisiting all the Icelandic stuff — the sagas and the eddas.

What are the most fascinating stories? I love a lot of the Mayan and Native American genesis fables, with trees growing out of people’s necks, and coyotes and snakes and winged serpents. And according to their mythology, on Dec. 21, it’s all supposed to end. My birthday is Dec. 20, so I’m hoping for a big bang this year, you know? But I don’t like the arrogance of time.

How do you chart your own life then? Well, it depends. Are you doing it in a Judeo-Christian model? A Hindu model? It’s all relative to your experience, and how much orthodoxy or dogma you’ve been exposed to — how much fear plays in to how you see the world. But time is malleable — you can move and manipulate it. And being a musician, I’ve always known it. The best moments with a piece of music, drugs or no drugs, are like falling in love or when your child is born. Time just stops and opens up. It’s like Robin Williamson from The Incredible String Band says: “Music is eternal, and sometimes human beings get to play it. And if those human beings don’t get in the way too much? Sometimes the music gets through.” To me, that’s the whole point.

IF YOU GO

Chris Robinson Brotherhood

Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S.F.

When: 9 p.m. today, Wednesday and Friday-Sunday

Tickets: $31

Contact: (415) 885-0750, www.gamhtickets.com

' Chris Robinson BrotherhoodartsentertainmentmusicPop Music & Jazz

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A cyclist heads past an artistic sign onto Page Street, a Slow Street, at Stanyan Street near Golden Gate Park on Monday, April 12, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Push to make street closures permanent meets with resistance

Hastily thrown together during the pandemic, Slow Streets program now struggles to build support

Agnes Liang, who will be a senior at Mission High School, is running for one of the two student representative seats on the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Turbulent year on school board leaves student delegates undeterred

Around this time last year, Shavonne Hines-Foster and Kathya Correa Almanza were… Continue reading

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Three people killed in SF shootings in less than 24 hours

San Francisco police were scrambling Saturday to respond to a series of… Continue reading

Muni operator Angel Carvajal drives the popular boat tram following a news conference celebrating the return of the historic F-line and subway service on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Mayor, transit officials celebrate return of Muni service

Mayor London Breed and city transit officials gathered Friday to welcome the… Continue reading

San Francisco police investigated the scene of a police shooting near Varney Place and Third Street on May 7. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD shooting may prompt new body camera rules for plainclothes cops

Police chief says incident ‘should not have happened’

Most Read