While there’s a possibility that The Black Crowes — the chart-topping rock outfit vocalist Chris Robinson maintained for years with his guitarist bother Rich — could regroup for some concerts occasionally, Chris is clear about one thing: “I won’t have anything to do with it. “I won’t have anything to do with any of those people, ever again. And it’s sad, because what was once a rock and roll band was also a family, with me and my brother,” he says. His latest ensemble, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, plays Fillmore gigs this week, backing its latest album, “Barefoot in the Head.” A record so soulful and spiritual, he adds, “That it speaks volumes about why my brother and I have no business playing music together.”
You’ve actually moved to the Bay Area now?
Yeah! I live in Marin. And you’ve been to Los Angeles, so the why is self-explanatory. I’d been wanting to be up here forever, so I finally decided to move up here two and a half years ago. And of course, after my time working with Phil Lesh and the whole Grateful Dead family, with The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, we really feel like a Bay Area band — everything kind of came together for us here. So there was a pragmatic element, but also wanderlust, because I’d been looking for this kind of community for a long time. And, given that I’m about to turn 51, better late than never, right?
And you’re a real outddoorsy guy?
That’s a big art of it. In West Marin, Sonoma, Napa it’s all about just getting out. My son’s older now, so he can go surf Bolinas, and my daughter and I, we love to get out into the woods and hike. And you have access to so much other stuff up here. Oregon’s right up the road, and Tahoe, too. So not only has it been nice, it’s been really inspiring, as well. There’s an energy here that’s all-encompassing, and that’s been representative of its creative environment for a long time. And not just in rock and roll, but in all the arts.
You’re singing better than ever on “Barefoot” — you’ve really grown into your voice.
Well, with The Black Crowes – and that kind of performance and presentation – a lot of people didn’t really get to hear me sing. With that band some nights, to get up there and try to scream over those loud guitars and everyone bashing away out of muscle memory? That can really get a guy down, because screaming hurts. So with The Brotherhood, I don’t have to scream, and hopefully you can hear how my voice has changed over the years, and what I can do with it now.
IF YOU GO
The Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 14, 9 p.m. Dec. 15-16
Contact: (415) 346-6000, www.ticketmaster.com