(New York-AFP) - The Black Crowes, who won a wide following by reviving Southern-style rock when musical tastes drifted to the alternative, broke up Thursday amid a rift between the band's founding brothers.
Guitarist Rich Robinson pointed the finger at his brother, singer Chris Robinson, as he announced the dissolution of the group that has sold more than 35 million albums through bluesy rock songs such as "Jealous Again."
"It is with great disappointment and regret that after having the privilege of writing and performing the music of The Black Crowes over the last 24 years, I find myself in the position of saying that the band has broken up," Rich Robinson said in a statement.
"I love my brother and respect his talent but his present demand that I must give up my equal share of the band and that our drummer for 28 years and original partner, Steve Gorman, relinquish 100 percent of his share, reducing him to a salaried employee, is not something I could agree to," he added.
Gorman gave a similar account. He said The Black Crowes had been planning a 25th anniversary tour this year but charged that the singer had set unreasonable demands for his share of profits.
Speaking on a radio sports show where he is host, Gorman voiced sadness: "When you know somebody's sick for a long time you accept it, but then you see the coffin and it's right there and there's a whole new set of feelings."
There was no immediate response from Chris Robinson. But in an interview released earlier this week, Chris Robinson said that The Black Crowes had become a "very tedious scenario."
"I know The Black Crowes are not going to turn around and be something that I think is super amazing again and fun and vibrant with the energy I'm looking for," he told Smashing Interviews Magazine.
- Going Against the Flow -
The Black Crowes have not released new material since 2009's "Before the Frost...Until the Freeze," a double album that was recorded before a live audience that assembled in a studio over five nights.
The band became best known for touring but last played in 2013. The same year, the brothers' father Stan Robinson, who had a minor music career, died in their home state of Georgia.
The Robinson brothers began playing in the 1980s just as the southern state was emerging as one spoke of a burgeoning alternative music scene with acts such as R.E.M.
But just as alternative music became more mainstream with the success of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, the Black Crowes went instead for a sound that harked back to Led Zeppelin or Southern hard rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Yet the band's style fit in somewhat with the era's alternative ethos, with the Black Crowes sporting long hair and suave jackets and openly extolling the joys of marijuana.
The Black Crowes' demise comes just as bands they influenced gain renewed attention, with a surge of interest in recent years in the "Americana" genre that covers elements of country, folk and classic rock.
The Black Crowes' 1990 debut album, "Shake Your Money Maker," produced a series of hard-rocking blues tracks including "Jealous Again," "Twice As Hard," "She Talks to Angels" and a cover of Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle."
The Black Crowes previously had breaks, including a 2002-2005 hiatus, but the Robinson brothers have increasingly gone in divergent directions.
The singer has formed the Chris Robinson Brotherhood and relocated from Georgia to California, showing the influences of his new home including psychedelia and the Grateful Dead.
Rich Robinson recently played a series of intimate acoustic shows and has been collaborating musically with blues musician Doyle Bramhall II.
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