With their debut "Shake Your Money Maker", The Black Crowes had a furious start into the new decade in 1990. Somewhat belatedly, a limited deluxe edition including single B-sides and previously unreleased studio and live recordings is now being released to mark the 30th anniversary.
The immense success of "Shake Your Money Maker" was by no means to be expected at the time, as the brothers Chris and Rich Robinson relied on the pure power of rock'n'roll, although the musical zeitgeist between fading 80s pop and the already emerging grunge was quite different. In an interview with eclipsed, Chris Robinson recalls the production of this classic of riff-oriented boogie rock, which has lost none of its power and urgency to this day
eclipsed: "Shake Your Money Maker" has lost none of its vibrancy even after 30 years.
Chris Robinson: When you listen to the album today, you can easily forget all the horror of the last twelve months. For Rich and me, too, the magic of this album immediately revealed itself again. Of course, it brings up a lot of memories, both good and bad, but when the dust settles, it's just the two of us who started the band. It may sound cliché, but coming full circle and going back to that time gave us a whole different perspective on what it all means. We spent 30 years trying to escape the success of the first album and do something completely different. We never dealt with the record itself again. So it was all the more special to do it now after 30 years.
eclipsed: How does it feel to look at yourselves in a 31-year-old mirror, though?
Robinson: In that respect, we owe George Drakoulias an immense debt. He saw us, believed in us immediately, and forced us to get better and dive deeper into our songwriting. As different as Rich and I are, we always shared a strong belief in a certain unadulterated brand of rock and roll. We already had considerable respect for taking this step. We knew we would take a lot of criticism for making a record that just didn't sound like the 1980s or the new thing that broke out shortly after as grunge. We had our own drum and guitar sound, sang differently. We weren't thinking in those categories at the time, but we were hoping to do something timeless.
eclipsed: You guys have succeeded in doing that: The album is part of the infinite continuum of relevant boogie and blues riff rock.
Robinson: That's certainly true, but a good song is always a good song. Those were the first serious songs Rich and I ever wrote. We had written songs before, but they were just for our audience in Atlanta. Suddenly we were writing songs that people in Berlin, Belgium, France, England and all over the world would hear. At the same time, we had no idea of the success that was in store for us. But we knew we were making a record, and it had to stand up to comparison with all our favorite artists.