Chris Robinson Slams John Mayer, Dead and Company: ‘I’m Not a Fan’

Chris Robinson
David Aguilar / Epa/REX/Shutterstock

“Donald Trump is president, John Mayer’s in the Grateful Dead and my brother’s in a Black Crowes tribute band,” Chris Robinson cracked this morning (May 16) on Sirius XM’s “The Howard Stern Show.” The former Black Crowes frontman is in New York City to open for Gov’t Mule with his solo band, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, at Central Park’s SummerStage on May 17.

“The Grateful Dead has turned into this giant nipple that everyone sucks off to get money,” he continued. “I’m not a big John Mayer fan. Jerry Garcia is a hero of mine. Everything that Jerry ever talked about or stood for — John Mayer is the antithesis…. He knows all the licks, there’s nothing unusual about his playing. Jerry was one of the most unique musicians in the world. Jerry never played anyone else’s licks and now here’s John Mayer playing everyone else’s licks.”


Grateful Dead

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Robinson was referring to Dead and Company, the latest post-Garcia incarnation of the Grateful Dead, which heads back on tour starting May 27 in Las Vegas through July 1 in Chicago for a total of 20 shows. In 2015, Mayer was hired to play Garcia’s guitar parts and sing a few songs. His clean-cut look is indeed antithetical to the Dead’s scruffy style and he does parrot Garcia’s licks to some extent, while adding bluesy flourishes to songs like “Sugaree.”

Robinson began following the Dead when Garcia was still alive in the early 1990s. Post-Crowes, Robinson had also performed with Phil & Friends, the side-project of Dead bassist Phil Lesh.

During the Stern interview, Robinson also said he wouldn’t attend his band’s induction if the Black Crowes were ever to be voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “I’m not going,” he stated emphatically. “Jerry Garcia didn’t go, I’m not going. Let’s get this straight: I don’t like my brother (Rich), I don’t get along with him, I don’t want to be in a room with him, I don’t want to play with those people in that band. I don’t hate anyone. The Rock and Rock Hall of Fame to me is like going to the mall.”


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When the Dead were inducted in 1994, Garcia was a no-show. However, the band brought along a life-size cardboard cut-out of Garcia. According to Rolling Stone, the guitarist was “reportedly opposed to the whole idea of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

Robinson probably doesn’t have to worry about being inducted anytime soon, even though all eight Black Crowes studio albums charted from No. 1 (“Southern Harmony and Musical Companion,” 1992) to No. 26 (“By Your Side,” 1999). Interestingly, the Crowes biggest hit was their cover of Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle” (No. 26, 1991), which the Dead turned into a concert staple during their earlier days when Ron “Pigpen” McKernan was still alive and handled the R&B vocals.

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    1. Jamie Musulin says:

      Hey, Chris, no one cares. Just don’t go the shows if you don’t like it. Move on.

    2. Stevo says:

      Strange. The Chris Robinson Brotherhood sounds a lot like a Grateful Dead ripoff… er, I mean, tribute band to me. And just as boring.

    3. jose says:

      There’s nothing worse than ragging on a fellow musician. No player is the same and that’s the additive nature of music. Seems CR needs to go back and remember why he got into music in the first place. Mayer is not replacing Garcia he’s helping to keep the music alive and that’s a good thing for the arts especially when it’s done from a place of respect.

    4. Chris Robinson is a scrawny prick. You got famous for covering the Dead doing Hard to Handle (Otis Redding’s song) and pranced around like a bad Jagger imitation in the early days. Then you went hippy in the late 80’s and 90’s as all the kids did. Talk about jumping on the band wagon for the money. Your brother wrote all the BC songs that mattered and continues to write great stuff as you continue to pump out lame hippy jams with anyone who can stand playing with you. Now give me your lunch money you 90 lb wimp and shut your cake hole. John Mayer has more talent in his crap then you’ll ever have.

    5. I completely agree with Chris; for one his style is so rank with the industry; it doesn’t have a vibe of jerry at all. It’s almost like a bad coverband of themselves, with a cool kid. The dead was never about being the cool kid, it was about the rebel and the outcast having a place to belong. Now it’s just ‘literally’ Dead. Co.. Rest in Peace Jerry. If you really want an experience just find Darkstar’s tourdates

    6. Eddie Spaggetti says:

      Give Him a freaking break its Howard Stern for christ sake…………………..;-) Mushroom Luvin

    7. Steven Purcell says:

      Sounds like somebody’s a little jealous..! I just lost a lot of respect for you Chris!!!!! Now go be a good boy and keep on opening for the real musicians (~);}

      • Kristen Spencer says:

        totally agree. if chris robinson was in dead and co and not john mayer, his opinion would change. chris is just pissed they didn’t ask him hahaha

      • Doesn'tMatterAnyway says:

        What in anything Robinson said here makes you think he’s jealous? That is a stupid thing to say. The dude is saying that John Mayer sucks and that Jerry’s legacy is being dragged through the dirt.

    8. Angela Zydek says:

      Jerry Garcia is one of my hero’s as well. I’ve seen a lot of shows. I was honestly not looking forward to seeing John Mayer on stage with the Dead. But damnnn it am I glad I did!! He does wayyy more than parrot some licks!
      He was very clearly completely into it. He played hard and played well, sang well added a fresh strand to the tapestry.I have an incredible new found respect for John Mayer.
      In the spirit of Jerry, celebrate the success and growth of your fellow artisans.
      Love, Peace and The Grateful Dead
      What more do you need

    9. Blake Nash says:

      Chris Robinson has always been a country club hipster snobbish prick d-bag.

    10. JuanInAustin says:

      Jerry never considered himself the leader of the band and actually considered breaking up the group when Pigpen died. Is it the same? No. But every new configuration adds a different angle. The Other Ones. Phil and Friends. The Dead. Furthur. Fare Thee Well. Dead and Co. Maybe Robinson should look at it and think: wow, look what a great thing they’re doing for their roadies, merch folks, crew. Getting the band back together makes A LOT OF PEOPLE money, not just Bob Weir. And it gives fans a chance to reconnect with the music and their friends on the road. It’s hard to imagine a self-proclaimed hippie being so cynical, but Robinson seems to like alienating himself from everyone who had meaning in his life. All you have is time, Chris. Mend some fences and stop putting so much negativity into this world.

    11. Anita Cox says:

      Robinson no better than a Saturday night cover band. If ego were talent, he’d be an immortal.

    12. T-Rev Rye & Soma says:

      LOL! If Chris were actually a fan and not a raving lunatic / ranting has-been , he’d know that Jerry did play other people’s licks, like the Beatles, Dylan, Haggard. He even released records containing some of those covers. But he wasn’t trying to steal their thunder or live of their success, he loved the songs and wanted to try his hand at them. During concert he’d occasionally break into a tribute to another artist(s), it’s not like he needed more material, he just felt like playing something he liked.

      As the saying goes, it’s the sincerest form of flattery.

      It’s Music mang, no need to be soo bitter. Either contribute something or sit back with a tub of Cherry Garcia, listen & RELAX !!

    13. Trev says:

      Chris R may or may not be an a-hole but that doesn’t give Mayer a free pass. It’s just a marketing ploy to get kids (esp girls) to buy tickets to this Dead tour. Mayer is a pretty derivative talent but he’s also a good parrot.

      • turney says:

        They don’t need a marketing ploy. The Dead was the highest grossing touring band for years and will be as long as they want to keep touring

    14. Pete C says:

      Totally agree with Chris R. We should cherish this guy by the way, all the great front men of his generation are gone except him and Vedder.

    15. Larry D says:

      you vrack me up bro
      You play in the only post crowes band that sounds like the dead….you’re the one sucking the nipple….can’t believe warren had you open mr high and mighty lol
      Go rehash some dead noodles 😎

    16. Jim says:

      Take it easy Chris Robinson. Its nice to have the Grateful Dead tradition live on. Especially to those who never had the chance to experience Jerry’s performances. By the way… all artists steal from one another.

      Long live the tradition of the Grateful Dead.

    17. Jack says:

      This guy is a sad clown! Hypocrite, cant hold down a woman! Now the crows are gone & we see how this clown has no talent! Has bad things to say about artists with more talent in their pinky nail then him! How can he diss Steven Tyler & than turn around & say how one of his biggest hits was modeled off of “Walk this way” What a dick!

    18. Angela Lawson says:

      John Mayer’s turds have more talent than Chris Robinson could ever dream of having! I hope he seeks help- he’s clearly mental!

    19. me says:

      If you don’t like it, then don’t listen

    20. Buck says:

      Did someone forget the Jimmy Page/ black crows tour? Robert Plant is a hero, if only he led the black crows. Washed up nasal hypocritical hope wanna be. Should I respect Bob Weir comments, or the subject of this article? Easy answer here. Rich is way cooler and more talented, Nasal king comments sound like jealousy, besides, history is anything related to Bob Weir, so who wouldn’t want to be involved with him? Maybe the nasal king thinks he’s made a mark, not to me.

    21. Paco Sanchez says:

      I have to agree with Chris on this. As Bob Weir is approaching 70 years old, one has to wonder if it’s for a 401K retirement plan or not. The good news is, it looks like Bob still enjoys strumming his guitar.

    22. TJRein says:

      First you can’t play guitar. That’s all .

    23. Lucas says:

      This guy is literally an idiot. Just because no one knows your name doesn’t give you a license to hate on John Mayer. Sure he said some dumb shit but he’s one of the best guitar players around today. Of course he’s going to imitate jerry to some extent in dead and co… would you rather him play his usually (unique) bluesy style? It wouldn’t fit with the dead. Congrats on getting interviewed Chris, but I’m pretty sure there’s like 10 people who know your name, so feel free to not go to the Rock and Roll HOF… if you ever get there.

    24. Gr8ful Fred says:

      No Jerry Garcia No Grateful Dead!

      But Chris Robinson sucks and can’t sing a note! Just like Bob Weird can’t sing anymore.

    25. Jeffrey Yolevich says:

      A lot of us deadheads are loving Trump and the fact that we don’t have the old Washington in the White House anymore! You’d be surprised

    26. Angel says:

      Damn dude, hate much? Lighten up, we’re all just human beings..get over yourself.

    27. Terry Woodburn says:

      Diva. Gasbag. The conceit that you are even fantasizing about a RRHOF induction is laughable. John Mayer has far more talent and 10 times the appreciation and passion for Garcia and the Dead than you ever faked to have.

    28. J.Leland says:

      Jerry Garcia had more talent in his right middle finger than Chris has in his whole body.

    29. melissa jacobson says:

      Somebody sounds super bitter

    30. Sassy says:

      Wow. Sounds like you took an opportunity to tell the world how sad and negative you are, Chris. Didn’t you also suck on the song remake nipple, when you redid “Hard to Handle”? It’s ugly to mock those who still care enough to bring music into this world. John Mayer isn’t hurting anyone. The fact that you can pop out from under your rock to be hateful, just made you someone Jerry Garcia would have felt sorry for.

    31. rugernator says:

      Never got the Black Crowes, very overrated IMO.

    32. Zummo says:

      How is this washed up, mental defect, even worth an interview? His opinions are about as welcome as the Clap. People only play with him out of pity so he has money to by drugs with. He is a drain on society. And personal experience says he is a rude, self-centered idiot. Sorry.

    33. Jrad is the only Dead cover band worth seeing. They are bringing a unique twist to these classic songs, with an energy unmatched by any other off shoot.

      • Faron says:

        Now,THAT I COMPLETELY disagree with,Ed.Have you never heard Dark Star Orchestra ??? Christ…the first time I heard them I I actually thought it was The Dead on one of their (mid 70’s) really tight moments !!

    34. Rocco says:

      Lol. Equating himself with Jerry???? What a buffoon. This mental case could not exist without the enabling help of a B Team musical masturbation scene. I choose not to go see him. The Black Crowes will be waiting a long time to get into the RR Hall.

      Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “I’m not going,” he stated emphatically. “Jerry Garcia didn’t go, I’m not going.

    35. Rocco says:

      Who cares what he thinks? Not me.

    36. Callie says:

      C’mon, guys….John Mayer really is the antithesis of GD. And the HoF is like going to the mall. But sometimes I like the mall when it’s empty. Otherwise, when it’s crowded, which it usually is, I hate it. Goes against everything I stand for. Greed….no imagination…lazy. Like the HoF!

    37. Alex says:

      The Grateful Dead do not exist. For some reason Chris thinks they still do. I love the Grateful Dead and I love Dead and Co, but thinking these two things are the same thing is foolish. Get over yourself Chris, go get a Auntie Anne’s pretzel at the mall and chill.

    38. Seriously why would anyone care about Chris Robinson’s opinion on anything. He’s just another semi-talented music. Because he makes some popular music doesn’t make his opinion worth anything. Music is a very personal experience. Tens of thousands of people like this incarnation of the Dead. That’s a fact. His opinion is meaningless.

    39. RV says:

      Oh Chris, just because Goldie Hawn doesn’t invite you over to dinner anymore, you don’t have to freak out on everyone. After seeing the The Grateful Dead close to fifty times in the day, wait what was I saying? Oh yea, the Dead & Company is a fun, energetic celebration of the songs we love. I didn’t know what to think of John Mayer, but he tore it up. I saw them last November and look forward to seeing them this Summer. Chris Robinson grew up nearby so I might go roll his house. The Black Crowes named their first album after a blues song by Elmore James. Their breakthrough came thanks to Otis Redding. What the hell is he talking about? Of course people are always bagging on others on Stern, thats why it is entertaining. Didn’t Rich write half the songs?

      Interesting side note, Chris Robinson lambasted Rick Rubin who first signed them saying he wanted them to change their name to the Cobb County Crowes, but to spell in all K’s. They would wear overalls and play up on the racist south. Rubin said it was complete BS and Chris had made it up. The guy is a psycho, but does have a great voice. Stick to singing!

    40. gordonwagner says:

      Chris Robinson has a terrible reputation. I can’t use the seven-letter word that would most describe him.

    41. Lets get something straight for all you “The Dead is dead” people. …yeah, they are. Nobody can replace Jerry Garcia. It was a devastating loss to music, and I am incredibly sad that I never had the chance to witness Jerry live. BUT THAT’S EXACTLY MY POINT. I was not old enough to appreciate the Dead when Jerry was alive. So I’m not allowed the opportunity to hear what is quite possibly the closest thing you’re going to get to the actual Grateful Dead??

      Dead and Co are not pretending to be the Grateful Dead. If they were they would go by the name Grateful Dead, not Dead and Company. Everyone knows they’re simply playing Dead songs, much like a cover band, but with original members. But what they are doing is introducing some of the greatest music ever made to young people who never had a chance with the original Dead, and allowing people who did to once again relive those days, if not imperfectly. Isn’t that one of the greatest things about music? It is timeless. There is still magic in the music of the Grateful Dead, even when performed by Dead and Company. John Mayer plays the part as well as only a handful of people can. I still wish it were Jerry, but that’s not going to happen.

      Chris Robinson is entitled to his opinion, but he’s looking through the eyes of someone who had every opportunity to experience the Grateful Dead and Jerry. If people want to listen to the next best thing, why should he care? (maybe because few people like his solo stuff? idk, I can’t say I have even listened to it)

    42. Julie says:

      Chris Robinson comes off as an arrogant narcissist because that is exactly what he is…not so much unlike Donald Trump himself. Shame on him for publicly throwing a family member under the bus. As far as his comments regarding John Mayer…he doesn’t have to like him. But, it’s so childish and classless to slam John, Bob Weir, the rest of the remaining members of the Dead, and the Deadhead Community who have embraced him. I think he is just a angry, disrespectful, jealous miserable jerk.

    43. topcat says:

      he nailed it.

      no jerry = no dead.

      have a nice day.

    44. rowjimmy says:

      chris robinson is a douche. i met him in a little coffee shop here in Felton, Ca. and was one of the rudest people i have met. he was too important to evenh be polite, i wasnt really into talking to him, hell i didn’t even know they were playing at the local mexican restaurant/taco bar/music venue and i certainly didnt want to bother him, but i was walking into the coffee shop as he was walking out and i recognised him and said “hey chris! are you guys playing over there tonight? right on! “:he looked at me and once he figured out that i was a mere peon, not someone who mattered to him that is, he sneered and turned around and walked away…without even a hello…his band was boring, monotonous and anticlimactic, with him doing his caterwauling shit all over it. yawn. and let me be very clear, whenever i have seen him with Phil or with Furthur, he was never added anything…only him trying to be bluesy and a whole lot of look at me …him trying to sing a pigpen tune!?!? what a joke! he has no soul and no feel for the music. his whole “look I’m a hippie! peace and love” trip is phony and he is a jerk. i have met way bigger stars that were infinitely cooler than he is! Bobby, Mickey and Billy killed on the last tour with Mayer, Chimenti and Oteil and i for one am looking forward to seeing them and the tribe together again. good times and good vibes! Peace

    45. Jason says:

      This guy just sounds completely bitter and jaded, taking out his anger at the world in any way he can. Hope he can get over his clearly deep-seated issues.

    46. Gary says:

      Saw Dead & Co in 2016 and 2017. In the first year I wasn’t sure about the fit, but Mayer was way better last year. Looking forward to the shows upcoming at the Hollywood Bowl!

      True, it’s not Jerry but it’s better than the alternative. Besides since when does some guy who saw some shows in the ’90s become the expert! Chris seems to be a troubled soul. Lots of anger going on, the antithesis of what the Grateful Dead are all about!

      Peace and Love, Chris and enjoy the music!

      • Faron says:

        Hollywoos Bowl,you say ?? God,how I’d love to see that show ! My very first show was at The Bowl in 1974 ! I was 12 years old !!

    47. the gd were often a sleep inducing, drug addicted, concert machine. the gd were also often an awe-inspiring, one of a kind amazement. funny, but jerry would almost surely have loved playing with both chris and jm.

    48. Robert Dulli says:

      Obscurity and insignificance can way on has been artists. Jerry played many cover songs through out the Dead, JGB and the Jerry and David Grisman collaborations. They played other people’s licks as a compliment and celebration of good music in admiration and the love for playing good music. Although, I enjoyed Trey stepping in for the Fare Thee Well shows. Mayer is a student of music. He has respect for what he is doing. Standing in. Learning the style and has played very well. It’s not like the Dead are creating new music. No it is celebrating the music that was created. So this diatribe trying to shit on a main stream artist, that fizzled pretty quickly, is nothing more than gaining media attention to promote his new band. There is no point trying to convey jealousy via the means of reciprocating the avenue of counter culture that the Dead created that led to a society of followers. Labeling them as sellouts because they still want to play music and have an artist that he dislikes under their wing is pointless attention grabbing. The fact that I am writing this is giving him more attention than he deserves. It’s the same blowback that Jerry and company received for Touch of Grey. God forbid love becomes mainstream. It’s a sad day when an artist of music needs to create hate to gain attention. Maybe that is why he is in the place he is in. Opening up for Allman brother off shoots in hopes of riding coat tails of established fan bases that his cover band The Counting Crows couldn’t garner in the first place. Pointless. Your opinion doesn’t matter and your hate will only keep you down. Chris, take some advice from the Dead…. “Well I ain’t often right but I’ve never been wrong,
      Seldom turns out the way it does in the song.
      Once in a while you get shown the light
      In the strangest of places if you look at it right.” Everybody’s playing in the heart of gold band…. Mr. Robinson you have seemed to miss the point and the Ship of Fools will take you home. Until then, remember why you play music and who you play it for. Love. If that is your intent love will follow but until then disappointment and jealousy will reign on your future. It’s a family endeavour, no member greater than the next nor the last. But the family must grow and change with the winds of time. Love must endure the test of time. So play your part and stop shitting on others trying to do theirs. Love be with you.

    49. Shari Lapayowa says:

      A-hole. interview-ee. not seen anything to tell me a-hole interviewer has changed to become not

    50. Mark says:

      co-leader of has been teeny-bopper top 40 boy band, black crows, whines about being left behind by little girls All the while playing bland soft rock muzak versions of leftover Grateful Dead tunes.

      WAHHHH. What a freakin’ WHINER!

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