Chris Robinson Explains the Album Title ‘Happiness Bastards’ for The Black Crowes’ New Release

Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes has shed light on the intriguing title of the band’s upcoming ninth studio album, “Happiness Bastards.” Set for a March release, this album marks the Southern rock band’s return to new music after 15 years.


In an interview with the Loudwire Nights radio show and podcast, Robinson confirmed that the title is indeed connected to the turbulent relationship he shares with his brother, Rich Robinson, who is a co-founding member of the band. However, it also pays homage to a lesser-known Beat Generation novelist.

Robinson humorously explained, “Well, number one, it’s hilarious. It’s representative of me and Rich – you know, that was kind of – and where we are today. We might be in a good place. But don’t forget. We’re still bastards, you know.”

Despite their notorious on-and-off relationship, the Robinson brothers have reconciled enough to tour in support of this new album. Chris Robinson revealed the inspiration behind the album title, mentioning the influence of Kirby Doyle, an obscure Beat writer who penned the novel “Happiness Bastard” in the ’50s (released in 1967).

“I read everything from Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg … I have a very active relationship with literature,” Robinson shared, noting that the title resonated with him.

The front man also shared the origin of the album’s artwork, emphasizing his deep interest in graphic art. The artwork, done by his wife Camille, involved painting the graphic lettering of “Happiness Bastards” over the fronts and backs of old Black Crowes album covers – a concept that Robinson described as a form of “vandalism.”

Conceptually, Robinson explained that the artwork reflects the band’s desire for a fresh perspective in their current phase. He reminisced about his involvement in the cover art production of the band’s second album, “The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion,” and how his creative input put him in the esteemed company of Neil Young.

In essence, Chris Robinson doesn’t shy away from taking control of the creative direction of The Black Crowes, be it in music or visual art.

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