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“Put the best solo in the world in an average song and nobody is going to give a s**t”: The Black Crowes’ Rich Robinson on why the “song is king”

“You put an average solo in a great song, and you’ve still got a great song.”

Rich Robinson performing live

Credit: Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images

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When discussing The Black Crowes, people often focus on the brothers’ infamous spats. And understandably so – Chris and Rich Robinson’s feud spans back decades, their bickering so intense it even shocked the Gallagher brothers when they toured together in 2001.

However, amidst all the spite, one thing was never compromised: the music. The Black Crowes know how to pen a great song, and Rich Robinson has recently shared his golden rule when writing a track.

Speaking to Guitar World, Robinson emphasises the importance of serving the song at all times, even if it means dialling back your personal chops as a guitarist. “You can put the best solo in the world in an average song and nobody is going to give a shit,” he says. “You put an average solo in a great song, and you’ve still got a great song.”

He adds that when working with other musicians, it’s often their personalities and musical habits that can cause friction in the creative process. “You play with different musicians and their contribution is a big part of making everything cohesive, but people’s personalities, their habits and their issues get in the way,” he says.

“I always want someone to really serve the song. Sometimes people are in it for themselves – ‘Look what I can do!’ You have to say, ‘Dude, put the guitar down; there’s a song here.’ If you solo all the way through a song it just becomes white noise.”

Rich is thankful to have the likes of Nico Bereciartua on board nowadays. “There’s a thing about that position of guitarist in our band, where I think people don’t realise what the role is, and they take it upon themselves to play too much,” Robinson says. “[But] Nico loves this band, he understands and respects what we are and what we do, and you can tell by his personality, his playing, his positivity and his friendship that he gets it.”

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