Former Black Crowes drummer and current Trigger Hippy member Steve Gorman appears as the latest guest on Chris Shiflett’s Walking the Floor podcast, recorded, as all of the recent episodes have been, during quarantine. Gorman talks at length about his tenure with the Black Crowes, as well as the process for writing his honest depiction of that period in his book, Hard to Handle: The Life and Death of the Black Crowes, along with his life after that gig.
“Anybody who has played in the band whose last name is not Robinson has been very receptive to the book and has let me know they appreciate and they’re impressed with the honesty,” Gorman says, noting that brothers Chris and Rich have largely remained silent on the topic.
Below, we round up a few highlights from the episode, which can be played in full.
Being a member of a successful band can warp your sense of what battles are worthwhile.
“You lose entire perspective on what a big deal is. ‘What are we gonna do for lunch?’ ‘What’s the first single?’ Those are the same fight, the same intensity. When you don’t resolve anything, when you don’t painfully honestly resolve conflict, it never goes away.”
The version of the Black Crowes that was touring from The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion through Three Snakes and One Charm sticks in Gorman’s mind as one of the great rock & roll bands.
“The greatest the band ever was, was ’92 to ’97. That’s the band. That six-membered band, that’s the essence of the greatest Black Crowes. And in ’97 we lost of two of those guys. And it was a definite, ‘What the fuck do we do now?’ ”
Gorman hadn’t attempted to write a book before Hard to Handle, but was plenty comfortable with the written word.
“I always write, but not for print. When I write emails to friends, they can go on for pages and pages. I used to write short stories as a student in school. I was always a good writer, or I could write very easily. The idea of writing is not at all unfamiliar.”
To aid with that writing, Gorman has an extraordinary memory that’s capable of pulling up fine details and vivid stories just based around a single date.
“To this day, for example, there’s a site that a guy runs called Crowes Base. If you open it up today, March 9th, it just is a list of all the shows we ever played on March 9th, set lists, fan notes. It’s an archival site. If I look at it right now, I’ll have a story for every one of those gigs. I’ll be like, ‘Oh, that’s the catering and I was wearing that red jacket, and I spilled that fuckin’ spaghetti sauce on it’. It’s ridiculous. If you say to me, ‘What happened one day in Hamburg?’ I’ll go, ‘I don’t know.’ But if you give me a date and I look at that and I look at the set list, all of a sudden something will come forward.”