Drummer Steve Gorman stays on the beat with Black Crowes memoir, new band Trigger Hippy

Drummer Steve Gorman stays on the beat with Black Crowes memoir, new band Trigger Hippy

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Trigger Hippy

From left: Nick Govrik, Amber Woodhouse, Ed Jurdi and Steve Gorman of Trigger Hippy

Scott Willis Photography

Steve Gorman, former drummer for the Black Crowes, has some choice words for brothers Chris and Rich Robinson, who fronted the hard-rocking Georgia band that hit in the early 1990s with “Hard to Handle,” “She Talks to Angels” and “Remedy,” and who are about to trot out a “reunion” of the group without any of its other former members.

In his new book, “Hard to Handle: The Life and Death of the Black Crowes — A Memoir,” Gorman says being in a band with Chris Robinson “was like sharing a house with an arsonist. Every waking moment was spent putting out potential fires that threatened to burn up the rest of us.”

Elsewhere in the book, he says the ever-volatile elder Robinson acts “like a cult leader,” that he “failed as both a hippie and a capitalist” and that he is “the angriest person I’ve ever known.”

Rich Robinson, Gorman writes, “lived his entire life in Chris’ shadow. He wasn’t happy there, but he couldn’t imagine anything else.”

The brothers’ constant bickering and brawling made the band a virtual laboratory of codependency and addictive behavior. Gorman finally called it quits in 2015 after Chris Robinson demanded that his share of the Crowes’ profits be upped to 75%.

Gorman writes that he felt “compelled” to tell the story of the band — its triumphs and tragedies and the many ways things could have avoided going sideways. “If I don’t tell it,” he says, “who will?”

Gorman’s life is humming with activity right now. Not only is he promoting the book, which was released in September, but he’s touring with his band Trigger Hippy, whose album “Full Circle and Then Some” came out in October. And if that weren’t enough, after doing seven years of sports-talk radio, he recently launched a new syndicated classic-rock-and-talk music program, “Steve Gorman Rocks.”

Trigger Hippy has actually been around for quite some time. It started with a loose jam session between Gorman and a friend, bassist Nick Govrik.

“Right away, we felt like a real rhythm section,” Gorman says.

They signed on to play a charity gig where they were joined by guitarists Audley Freed (who’d been in the Crowes) and Jimmy Herring (of Widespread Panic).

“I said we should call it Trigger Happy ’cause they were just going to play guitar solos all night,” Gorman says with a laugh. “But as soon as I said that, I said, ‘No, Trigger Hippy is kind of funny. You know, shake your hips a little bit.”

Eventually, Tom Bukovac and Jackie Greene (yet another ex-Crowe) took over the guitar duties, and singer Joan Osborne signed on. That lineup recorded Trigger Hippy’s self-titled debut in 2014.

But it didn’t last.

“It was pretty apparent that it wasn’t a real band,” Gorman says. “It was a side project for everybody else, which is fine. But Nick and I wanted to do something with a bit more commitment.”

Enter guitarist/vocalist Ed Jurdi (Band of Heathens) and powerhouse vocalist/saxophonist Amber Woodhouse, whom Gorman and Govrik discovered singing in a Nashville cover band.

“We walked in and she sang two songs, and we thought, ‘Well, OK, that’s pretty special,” Gorman says of Woodhouse. “It didn’t take long before she just fell into the fold, and we’ve all been moving forward ever since.”

“Full Circle and Then Some” cuts a wide stylistic path, drawing on Southern rock, country, blues, New Orleans funk and R&B. And this time their dedication to the music and to one another is as deep as the band’s rhythmic grooves.

“It was just a different mindset,” Gorman says of the new album. “When we put this thing together, it was definitely about, ‘Let’s put a record out, let’s play shows, let’s build something long-term and see where we can take it.’”

Returning to the book, which was written with Steven Hyden, Gorman says he didn’t really take the project seriously until Crowes keyboardist Ed Harsch died in 2016. That was not long after Robinson dropped his financial ultimatum, and Gorman realized that the band was essentially finished.

“I knew then like, ‘OK, I’m not going back into this clown car anymore,” he says.

And he hasn’t. Gorman won’t be part of the Black Crowes’ summer tour. But neither, he says, will any of the many other players who’ve graced the group’s lineup over the years.

Which seems to suggest something about their individual and collective experiences with the Robinsons. Gorman states it plainly: “Nobody ends their relationship with either brother positively.”

There hasn’t been any blowback from the book from the brothers, Gorman says. “For the first time in their life, they’re following good advice, which is to not say anything.”

But he has heard from others, who now feel empowered to vent, too.

“I’ve gotten a tremendous amount of feedback,” Gorman says. “Band members, crew members, promoters, record label people, radio — people from all walks of the industry. They’ve reached out to tell me that they appreciate the book, that it means the world to them. It makes them feel like they’re not crazy — that they can tell their story now, too.”

What Trigger Hippy • When 8 p.m. Thursday • Where Blueberry Hill Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Boulevard • How much $20 • More info ticketmaster.com

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