The band makes its debut at Winston’s on June 11, with a lineup that includes OB-based singer Dani Spade, guitarists Tim Bennett and Frank Andrews IV, bassist John Osmon, keyboardist Jeff Brown and drummer Scott Southwood, as well as backing vocalists Amanda Andrew and Mindy Torgol.
The group emerged from a birthday jam session for Bennett. “Some guys I knew from various bands including Scott and Frank, got together in early August 2017, just to celebrate my birthday,” he said. “We played Pearl Jam songs, since we all knew them, but our conversation afterwards led to ‘do you guys like The Black Crowes?’”
He was surprised when all those present responded in the affirmative. The seeds of the band were planted when he realized how many people like the band’s bluesy rock sound. “I had always wanted to form The Black Crowes tribute but I didn't think I knew anyone else that dug them the way I do. It turns out we were all fans. We agreed on a handful of songs and got together a couple of weeks later, and it clicked immediately.”
Bennett became an instant fan of The Black Crowes upon seeing them at a 1990 concert. “They were easily the best flat out rock band of my generation,” he said. “I saw the Crowes on their first tour, purely by accident, at Red Rocks, where they opened for Robert Plant, who I was actually going to see.” By the time the band played a cover of the Rolling Stones song, "Happy," Bennett was sold.
“It was perfect. My jaw hit the ground, I couldn't believe it... it was like seeing the Stones in 1972. They wrote and played the kind of music they loved, which I loved... Stones, Faces, Humble Pie. That appealed to me big time. They were like no other band, period.”
When asked what songs in their set are the biggest crowd pleasers, Bennett is succinct. “The hits,” he joked. “‘So, it’s ‘Twice As Hard,’ ‘Hard To Handle,’ ‘Remedy,’ ‘Jealous Again,’ and of course ‘She Talks To Angels.’ We hit all the high notes for the casual fan that's only ever heard a greatest hits CD, but we also want to please the diehard fans, so we'll play stuff that we know they like. We include some deeper stuff that the aficionados really dig, too.”
Bennett notes fans pay attention to detail. “We are really sticklers to making sure it's right,” he said. “We generally play it like The Black Crowes played it live. Solos are pretty close to note for note, but we allow ourselves to perform, and not just recite. Jeff's keyboard tones are spot on. Frank and I use quality amps and vintage guitars that ensure the sound is spot on.
“We research and attend shows and peek onto the pedal boards of both The Black Crowes guitarists, Rich Robinson and Marc Ford. Yes, we totally pay attention to the notes and the tones. We even have two female background singers to ensure the harmonies on certain songs are right there.”
While the band is happy to play shows in the Southland, unfortunately they won’t be hitting the road anytime soon.
“We all have day jobs, so touring is not in the cards at this time,” Bennett said. “We have ventured outside of San Diego County before and we want to do it more. We know the Crowes fans are out there, we want to show them what we've got. Real Crowes fans are a discriminating bunch. We are too. We will find them wherever we go.”
After playing these songs for almost two years, does Bennett still enjoy playing The Black Crowes music as much as he did at the start? “Yes, and then some,” he said. “We have a lot more credibility now. We're getting great response and that makes it a lot of fun. And, we're dipping deeper into the well, which is where we like it.”
The Black Crowes Revival
Tuesday, June 11 at Winston’s, 1921 Bacon St. 9:30 p.m. $5. 21 and up. winstonsob.com.