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Rich Robinson Shares New Version of Solo Track 'Enemy,' Talks Demise of The Black Crowes: Exclusive

Rich Robinson
Alysse Gafkjen

Rich Robinson

 

Rich Robinson's past and present will be colliding during the next few months. 

The former The Black Crowes guitarist has a new solo album planned for May, but prior to that he's re-releasing his solo catalog to date, starting Friday with expanded editions of 2004's Paper and 2011's Llama Blues EP, with 2011's Through a Crooked Sun and 2014's The Woodstock Sessions coming on April 15. "This is really to get everything in one place," Robinson, who's putting out the reissues through Eagle Rock Entertainment, tells Billboard. "I feel like it's been so fragmented. I'd have one record here on this (label), one here, one there. So it's kind of cool to have it all under one roof and kind of take stock in a sense and for the first time look at some of these songs and some of this music before I put out the new album. Just to have the opportunity to be able to do that is really cool."

Billboard is exclusively premiering an updated version of "Enemy" from Paper, which features newly recorded vocals. Listen to it below.

In fact, the Paper project presented Robinson with his greatest challenge. The original master tapes (along with some of Robinson's gear) sat in a New Jersey storage facility that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. After restoring the tapes in Los Angeles and then transferring them into ProTools files, Robinson discovered they were missing his original vocal performances -- which sent him back into the studio to re-record those parts for the original 14 songs as well as two unreleased bonus tracks. 

"At first I was like, 'Oh, shit. While I'm making my new record I also have to re-sing Paper?'" says Robinson, who also painted the album's cover image. "But it was cool in a sense. We got in the studio and put 'em up, and I was like, 'Man, this f***ing thing sounds great!' I remember recording the record originally, everything sounded big and thick, and it still did. Some of these songs I had written for the Crowes and we just didn't do these big rock songs. So it was great to remix and re-sing (the songs), tweak the words a little bit, pull out lines I couldn't stand to sing, and it just turned out great. And then to bring back some songs that weren't on the original [version of the album] that I really liked, but weren't finished back then, was great, too."

Rich Robinson, 'In Comes the Night': Exclusive Song Premiere

As happy as he is with the reissues, Robinson is also anxious to get his new, as-yet untitled album out. "The record covers a lot of musical ground," Robinson says of the follow-up to 2014's The Ceaseless Sight. "I think songwriting-wise, sonically, vocally, it's like a next-level record. There's some really cool things on there. I think it's a little harder-edged than The Ceaseless Sight. It's a bit like Led Zeppelin III, I guess. It's definitely a rock record, but there are some cool other elements that are part of it."

Robinson, who recently moved to Nashville, plans to tour heavily in support of both the reissues and the new album. The Black Crowes are unlikely to interfere with that, of course; it was Robinson who announced the end of the band -- for a third time -- in January of 2015 when he made public disagreements with his older brother and frontman Chris Robinson over financial terms and other issues. The situation hasn't been rectified, and Rich Robinson says his only regret is that it broke apart before the group could celebrate the 25th anniversary of its debut album last year. 

Black Crowes' Rich Robinson Signs Indie Deal, Preps New Album 'The Ceaseless Sight'

"I think Chris thought he had some leverage; the 25th anniversary was coming up and his wife sent this email over demanding all this stuff and we said, 'We don't agree to your terms,' and the rest is history," Robinson says. "It's the same old shit. We could've done one final tour and ended on a high note with everyone in the band, done something really cool and say goodbye. We could've handed it better -- or Chris could've. It's a bummer, and that's all I can say."

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