It should come as little surprise to anyone who has read Steve Gorman’s engrossing and deeply personal memoir of his time with The Black Crowes that he was not going to get an invited to join the recently reunited band.
As one of only three remaining founding members of The Back Crowes, alongside the brother Chris and Rich Robinson, he weathered through two band break ups and begins his book by recounting a limo ride to the airport he shared with the two brothers after their last show.
Rich gave a cordial goodbye, but Chris refused to even speak to Gorman as he left the car, a pretty frosty response to someone the author thought of like a brother at one point. Given, the relationship Gorman details between Chris and Rich, maybe this was Chris simply treating him like a brother. Not surprisingly, this latest Black Crowes reunion includes the Robinson brothers and a whole new, fill-in cast as the backing band.
Hard To Handle gives a rare glimpse inside one of the most rock ‘n’ roll, American bands of the 80s and 90s, and not without coincidence, as the group looked up to The Stones and Led Zeppelin and were tapped numerous times to open for the former and two key members of the latter. The Black Crowes even toured and put out a live album alongside Jimmy Page at a time, and we learn thanks to Gorman’s book, that the symbolic band of brothers had long since torn and frayed.
An unconventional start to a career as a musician, Gorman details how he went to the bus station halfway through his senior year in college, heading to Atlanta to join a band despite never having played drums (let alone even owning a drum set). He connected with some old friends, joined a band, and ended up rooming with Chris Robinson, at the time, a young insecure, fledgling singer who convinced Gorman to move onto his band.
At one point, the Robinson brothers and Gorman were equals, making all decisions together and splitting the money evenly. By the end of the band, Gorman was little more than a paid-by-the-hour drummer.
The book gives a frank look into Gorman’s own problems with alcohol and anxiety along with those of his band members. And while there are enough rock star tales to keep even non Black Crowes fans interested, it’s the focus on his relationship with Chris Robinson, and the ultimate dissolution of that relationship, that make Hard To Handle so much more than just a run-of-the-mill, rock star memoir.