"The real story is it's been five solid years of touring and three records and DVDs, and it's more about having a little bit of space and taking a breath away from the thing," Robinson explains to Billboard.com. "This has easily been the most fulfilling and progressive time in the band in 20 years. I think everyone's in a good space, and our hiatus is for nothing but health reasons, mental and physical, and to have the freedom to do some projects with other people and raise the kids and stuff like that."
Robinson says the Crowes aren't putting time parameters on the break, either.
"It might be 18 months, it might be two years, it might be five -- I don't know," he says. "We'll get back together when we feel it's right. There's no end or beginning; it's, 'Let's just do some other stuff for a while, and we'll get back together when we feel it's right."
The group is certainly going out swinging, however. On Aug. 3, the Black Crowes will release "Croweology," a two-CD set of acoustic arrangements of 20 favorites -- including "Jealous Again," "Remedy," "She Talks to Angels," "Wiser Time" and "My Morning Song" -- recorded during December and January in Los Angeles. Robinson says the session was inspired by a pair of acoustic performances in 2008 at New York's Town Hall, and the disc seems like the best "musical acknowledgement of 20 years" since the release of the Crowes' five-times platinum debut album, "Shake Your Money Maker. "We want to celebrate what we've done," Robinson says, "yet it also needs to be us, and for us it needs to be something that feels very much like right now -- no re-living or rehashing."
The Crowes will continue that spirit when they hit the road for their Say Goodnight To The Bad Guys tour, which begins Aug. 13 in Milwaukee and wraps up 18 weeks later with a six-night stand at the Fillmore in San Francisco -- and includes a Sept. 11 induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Atlanta. Most of the shows will last three hours and feature a 90-minute "Acoustic Hors D'oeuvres" set, followed by an "Electric Reception."
"I know our band can be self-indulgent -- that's just our right," Robinson, who's hoping to produce other artists and record another solo album during the Crowes' hiatus, says with a laugh. "We kind of thought, 'Oh, it would be nice to do something different for the 20th anniversary'...and so songs we play acoustic on one night can be something else in an electric mode on another night. We can cover a lot of material in a lot of different formats, and it'll be cool for the fans; it's celebrating that these people have been coming to see us for so long. We don't take that for granted. Having a career is a privilege, it's not our right."