The Chris Robinson Brotherhood band has sustained its title rock guitarist, singer and songwriter during his long hiatus from the multi-platinum Black Crowes, which he formed with his brother Rich in high school in Georgia, back in 1984. Robinson – who appears this week at the Great American Music Hall in The City promoting the Brotherhood's third studio album “Phosphorescent Harvest” – spoke by phone from his home in Southern California.
San Francisco's Anchor Brewing Company has announced a new beer, Brotherhood Steam, named for your band. But aren't the band's sound and visuals more associated with other kinds of substances?
We're tongue-in-cheek, we say we're a “farm-to-table psychedelic band.” Timothy Leary was unbelievably astute when he said, “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” But I think he missed the integration of regular lives.
In your music, I'm hearing you integrate Americana (electric instruments notwithstanding) as well as peppering your song lists with early rock stuff like Elvis' “Blue Suede Shoes” and Hank Ballard's “Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go.”
Oh yeah, it's a roots trip! My father Stan was a folksinger, signed to ABC Paramount, his group was called the Appalachians.
Is the Brotherhood getting you closer to your own roots and purposes than the Black Crowes did?
I think the Black Crowes' early commercial success was a blessing and a curse. And something just far out. But we have moved on. I didn't need it for fame and money, which are all fairly boring – that's for actors and handsome people. I wanted to be with the mad ones, with the people with ideas, who knew s—. I say this without any judgments towards the other people, but it would be easy to sing the Black Crowes stuff and make all that money, but there's no traction in that for me right now, in terms of being a father and a husband and a bandmate.
Are family and the Brotherhood both humbling?
I love setting up my own amp, plugging in my own effects. It's funny how people think you live some kind of lifestyle. But when I'm not on stage and not on tour, all I do is make oatmeal for little tyrants.
Both of my children are Capricorns: Ryder will be 11, Cheyenne will be 5.
You're an ideal musical role model.
How else would some dyslexic outsider weirdo kid, who ended up in the suburbs outside Atlanta, find his way, if not for rock 'n' roll?
IF YOU GO
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell St., S.F.,
When: 9 p.m. Nov. 20-23
Contact: (415) 885-0750, www.gamhtickets.com