Chris Robinson Gives His Side Of The Story When ZZ Top Fired Them

Chris Robinson, the lead vocalist for The Black Crowes, recently shared a fascinating story from the band’s history – the day they got fired by ZZ Top. During an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s show to discuss their new music after a 15-year hiatus, Robinson reminisced. Fallon surprised Robinson with a letter he wrote as a teenager, chronicling the band’s dismissal from a tour with ZZ Top.

The Incident in Atlanta

Robinson vividly remembered the incident and the unique twist that turned the firing into a strategic move. When asked about that day, Robinson casually replied,

“Yeah, I remember it well. It felt like we were let go. But you know what? It turned out to be a blessing because, well, I’m close friends with Billy Gibbons now.”

Robinson then recounted the events that led to their dismissal:

It happened in Atlanta at the Omni, an old arena. ZZ Top had Miller beer banners up since they were sponsored by them. We were adamant about our independence and the purity of rock ‘n’ roll. We went out there saying, ‘We won’t perform under these conditions,’ and they warned us, ‘If you keep it up, we’ll kick you off the tour.’ And we stuck to our guns.

Their firm stance on corporate influence eventually led to consequences. Robinson explained how they strategically navigated the situation:

We kind of played the situation to our advantage since it was in Atlanta, our hometown. We were also doing a cover story for Rolling Stone magazine. There were two shows, and we said, ‘Let’s not get kicked off the first night. Let’s wait for David Fricke to come the second night.’ And that’s what happened.

The Aftermath and Future Paths

Despite the abrupt end to their tour with ZZ Top, The Black Crowes and ZZ Top never shared the stage again. In an interview three years prior, Robinson and his brother, Rich Robinson, shared their perspective on the split. They attributed it to ZZ Top’s manager, Bill Ham, being unhappy with Chris’s comments on stage and the band’s criticism of corporate involvement in the tour.

After parting ways with the tour, The Black Crowes pursued their musical journeys separately, while ZZ Top continued to enthrall audiences with their signature sound. As ZZ Top gears up for their upcoming tour without opening acts, fans eagerly anticipate the spectacle starting on June 28 and concluding on July 16.

In essence, The Black Crowes’ expulsion from the ZZ Top tour serves as a testament to the rock ‘n’ roll ethos and the delicate balance between artistic integrity and commercial partnerships in the music industry.

For a more in-depth recounting of The Black Crowes’ experience with ZZ Top, watch the insightful interview featuring Chris Robinson below:

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