Can you explain the difference between a lead vocalist and a musician who sings?
There’s more on the shoulders of a lead singer, and they’re more vulnerable than a musician that can use his guitar as a shield. That’s why singers sometimes feel apart from the rest of the band; they’re up there by themselves.
Are you a reluctant frontman?
Definitely reluctant. I like singing, but my focus is the music.
With the Black Crowes, when did your brother Chris realise he was a gifted singer?
It was probably around the end of [1990 debut album] Shake Your Money Maker. Steve Marriott, Rod Stewart and Otis Redding were his heroes, and he studied the detail of what made them so unbelievable.
In the Crowes you worked with Jimmy Page on guitar. Would a collaboration with Robert Plant complete the set?
We found ourselves opening for Robert on an arena tour, and he was among the coolest and most gracious people we met.
Any other dream collaborations?
Paul McCartney would be nice. I’d work with Dylan or Neil Young, Steven Tyler or Van Morrison. That’d be great.
As a purist of all things musical, you must rue the invention of autotune?
Yeah. The problem is that everything is becoming too scientific. Now everyone sounds the same. And worse still, everyone strives to sound the same. A musician absorbs what he or she hears in the world and uses a filter to make it their own. To me, that’s where today’s music falls flat.