Black Crowes Frontman: 'Anyone Filming a Show on Phone Looks Like a Douchebag'

As Chris Robinson notes, he isn't a fan of the practice, as he thinks it ruins the live experience.

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The Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson has been speaking with Phoenix New Times about his thoughts on people who film concerts on their cell phones. As Robinson notes, he isn't a fan of the practice, as he thinks it ruins the live experience: 

"I think anyone at any show, in the front row or back row, filming, looks like a douche bag. And I think that you're ruining it for everyone around you who is there to listen to some music. It's sad if you're that excited about your f--kin' phone. Take a picture, get it over with, that would be fine, but people sit there on their f--king phones all night. It's annoying. It's insulting to the band. I'm sure there's young bands or people that like it but I'm not that way. And some drunk person in the front row with their camera out, it's distracting to musicians and everyone around you. If anyone ever asks me what we think about it, we think you look foolish. You're taking those moments away from the band and the people around you. But people won't listen."

He went on to note that people filming shows is equivalent to them removing themselves from the live experience:

"It's insane. It's like people are saying, 'Oh my God, I love this song so much, I'm actually going to film it and remove myself from the experience immediately.' People do it all night. It's just selfish. I had a guy last year in the front row at a show and told him 'Hey, enough with the phone.' He was embarrassed. But I ran into him months later at a different show and he told me he felt like a jerk and that he hadn't taken his phone out at a show since. He said he has such a better time now. I was like 'Yeah, I know' [laughter]. It's crazy."

Robinson is currently fronting his own band, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. The Black Crowes have been on hiatus since 2011.

71 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Totally agree, but on the flipside it would be nice if bands would officially release all their concerts in professional quality, so you can buy the show you were at and re-experience it. That might be a win-win situation for all.
    Like what Metallica did.
    Pearl Jam, NIN, Primus, Pixies.. I've gotten official bootlegs of shows by all these bands, of the shows that I attended. Wish more bands would do this. It's such an easy way for them to make more money and it keeps the fans happy!
    Springsteen, stones, U2, etc. also. It's just an insane expense that can only be carried by massive tours.
    You could buy a digital version of each concert the Chili's played on the I'm With You tour too
    I bought the show in Montreal and it's great to be able to hold that memory so clearly. Me and my buddy that went with me frequently throw it on while drinking
    You could also buy a digital version of each concert the Black Crowes played on their 2013 tour. UG - Black Crowes played a national tour that ended in December of 2013 so they have only been on a 'recording' hiatus since 2011
    I think this would probably only work for bigger bands but some bands do something where as they play, the sound is recorded directly through the mikes, along with a recording of the crowd, and then the entire thing is sold on a USB at the end of the gig. Now THAT is a practice I can get behind
    Precisely, they don't have to turn it into a big expensive marketing campaign, just pay them an extra 10 or 15 bux for a USB stick with the show on it, or download it a week later from an official fan website, and if you already attended the concert put in your rebate code or whatever for a discount.
    Or we, as fans, can let go of the notion that we OWN that moment in time. Sometimes it is much more meaningful and beautiful if you witness something with a room full of people and it was just for you guys. Something you wont forget (unless you waste time filming)
    That would be cheap wouldn't it.
    Exactly, welcome to the real world people. Goods and services cost money. This will hit home as soon as you move out of mommy and daddy's place.
    The Black Crowes already do this ( ) It would be even cooler if the people who got tickets got a free copy of the show, I think KISS did that a few years ago.
    Or you can just go to another of their concerts. There's more solutions to this problem.
    Yeah, because that is really simple and cheap right? For example since Metallica was mentioned earlier, Metallica hasn't played where I live (Toronto, Canada) for almost 5 years and while I'm complaining I know there are alot of people who even have never seen their favorite band live or have them even visit their hometown at all. Its easy to say go pay and see the band, but reality is that many people can't afford it, which is why these guys are recording the concert, but at the same time if I ever went to a concert I wouldn't want to look at some dudes phone or camera for 2 hours. TL;DR make it easier for bands to see your live shows with out interfering with the crowds experience.
    But Metallica DOES play in Ottawa, Montreal, and Buffalo more frequently. Buffalo is 90 miles, the drive is more than doable. When I lived there I made the drive almost every weekend to Toronto to visit my family there.
    As someone that lives near Ottawa, not really. They're playing Montreal this summer, but that's the closest they've come/only time they've been back in Ontario since 2009 when I saw them. Before that the last time they were in Ottawa was for the St/ Anger tour in 2004, so they don't really get around these parts too often.
    Yeah well, I don't have a passport so thats impossible, and I don't have a car and wouldn't want to take a bus ride that long Also, Metallica has only played once in Quebec or Ontario since 2009, and I don't want to travel half way across the country. I guess I should be thankful I have the option compared to others however...
    I wanna go see Metallica but I'm not willing to put any effort into it and I'd like someone to pay for it and wah wah wah. grow up
    I live in Toronto to. Perhaps it's worth looking into a car trip, bus trip or dare I say a plane trip to go and see your favorite band if they aren't coming to town anytime soon. Just a thought.
    Cool! Are you paying for the tickets, hotels, gas, food, etc? If so, then I'll definitely take you up on it.
    I made the comment because the above poster just told everyone to book it to the bands next concerts when that isn't possible for us all.
    Hell, I was only on one serious gig that I could just hop into trolley to get to the venue and then went back, take shower and go to sleep. All other gigs was like - take a train/bus, drive for 4 hours, wait couple more for gig, attend it, then go to train/bus station and wait there (hotels are bit too expensive for poor student) all night for first bus/train that would bring me back to my home. All these gigs was worth it, even if I feel like zombie (~30 hours without sleep) next day.
    There is usually red tape from Labels about recording and selling certain songs, i think it would be good to record a couple of shows on each tour and sell them at the merch booth.
    The Black Crowes already do this :. ( ) It would be even cooler if the people who got tickets got a free copy of the show, I think KISS did that a few years ago.
    Well, filming for a few seconds so you can 'relive your concert at any time' is fine with me. But some people just record a whole show, I'm like.. WHY?! I didn't record a single second of Meshuggahs concert and I still know it was the best hour of my life. I don't need some low quality potato-movie for that...
    its a bit stupid to go to a gig and not allow yourself to enjoy it because youre trying to hold your arm still and above the guy in fronts head. then again, seen some good bootlegs on youtube of dedicated "douchebags" so whatever.
    Anyone filming a Show on Phone IS a douchebag. Fixed. Especially at concerts where a lot of cameras are around. Sry for my fu--ed up english
    Someone above corrected Chris properly… You don't just look like a douchebag recording shows on your phone… you are one.
    I'm with Chris on this one. Well said sir! People want the wee thumbs up on the Internet instead of listening to the music.
    i think when you are either holding up your beacon of light or blocking someones view behind you then you are spoiling a show. Saw them at their last show in San Fran last year and it was amazing. Such a musical band with original Rock n roll. great tone, great sound.
    Maybe other people have better phones than me, but mine records crappy video quality, and the sound from gigs is utter gash (on my phone).
    Agreed. Put away your damn mobile and stop experiencing life through a shitty little screen. I guarantee no one wants to watch a shaky, low-quality video of the back of people's heads and arms with crackly music in the background.
    When going to a concert a few years ago at the 02 Arena, there were signs up everywhere before you went in: "NO CAMERAS NO FILMING Violators of these rules WILL be removed from the premises." I walk in and the concert starts and 20,000 mobile phones come out and start filming. *facepalm*
    This annoys me so much, they always stick their phone up right in front of your face.
    I completely agree. Just yesterday I went to see Martyr Defiled + The Year + More Than A Thousand + Architects with my bandmates and a couple of friends. I didn't touch my phone for as long as there were bands onstage, so I managed to survive 4 hours without touching my phone. I enjoyed the show, jumped, sang and screamed, and had a fantastic time. Afterwards, when the bands were hanging at the bar and merch table, I finally picked up my phone to take a couple of pictures with members of the bands (Sam Carter is a great guy, btw). Now, I have pictures of me and my friends with the bands for a souvenir, and if I want to remember the live experience I just have to go to YouTube -- most bands have a couple of live videos with (at the very minimum) acceptable video and audio quality. If I spent any time worrying about recording video or taking pictures (or even the safety of the phone), I might have missed some great moments, because the whole audience was really into the show, and the atmosphere was incredible. Plus, I pay my hard-earned money to enjoy the full experience of the concert. If I want to see the show through a small screen, I might as well stay at home.
    Poor douche bags. Whatever did they do to become synonymous with such cretins?
    Concert etiquette started going downhill when cell phones replaced lighters
    People say it's so they can "relive the moment" yet how can you relive it when you completely removed yourself from the moment to begin with? Nothing brings my piss to a boil more than seeing an entire crowd at a rock concert just stand (or worse, SIT!) still with their phones out.
    Agreed with everyone above. They should release pro quality films of the show for everyone who went though! i think that would help cut down on the use of recording devices during live shows. Seriously though, go to a show to watch the ****ing show!!
    And add to the cost of the show as well. That equipment, while common place, still isn't cheap. The cost will be passed on to the consumer
    they wouldn't have to make a Video DVD out of every single one, but at least making a soundboard recording of the audio would be easy and cost would be minimal.
    Fixed headline: "Crotchety old man hates kids, their newfangled futuristic toys, and anyone not actively clapping at his shows."
    But the people doing the filming do ruin the experience for others. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to shows and some arsehat is trying to film it, pushing people out of his way to get a better shot and yelling at people to shut up so he can get better audio. Yeah that just enhances the experience huh?
    Not sure your age, but people used to actually live in the moment. In the last 10-15 years that has completely changed, and yes it is terribly sad.
    LOL. I think he's right, but still thought your post was hilarious.
    nothings more annoying than having to try look past a sea of phones. its a ****up of humanity
    It's hard to handle, Chris calling people douche bags. Record the show and sell it then, that would be the remedy. If a fan were using the phone to talk to angels,during the show, he would probably be cool with it. Don't make it twice as hard, bro. Chill! smoke your pot, don't be getting jealous again.
    I definitely agree with this, with 2 important points imo: 1) It's not a problem if you're sitting and not blocking the view for anyone. This actually usually produces the best recordings. 2) WHY THE FUCK DO PEOPLE RECORD AND UPLOAD RECORDINGS TO YOUTUBE WHERE YOU CANNOT SEE OR HEAR SHIT
    First of all who is the black crowes ? Secondly cellphones nowadays have 21 megapixels plus ..He is just pissed cause they cant ban you from taking your phone into venues
    No, he's pissed because it actually ruins shows. Sorry, but if you're standing in front of me waving a phone in front of my face all night, you should be kicked out, I didn't pay for that bullshit, I paid to see a f*cking band.
    It's gotten to the point at shows that I'll "accidentally" bump the individual or I'll "accidentally" smack their phone out of their hands at the end of a song when I bring my hands up to clap. They're wasting my hard earned money by not letting me see the show, so I feel no guilt in doing this.
    Oh someone's holding a phone in the air? You know what the solution is right? Take a single step to the right or the left.
    As someone who plays shows I like when people film it, it doesn't matter to me. I don't film stuff myself but if other people want to that's their way of being a part of the concert lol.
    Disturbing tendency in today's society that when douchebags pull their crap on other people, and then the people don't put up with it, the douches double down on their douchebaggery, and try to socially ridicule you for not putting up with it.
    Ok then, enjoy seeing the entire show that you've paid money to go to second-hand through a screen....
    If it wasnt for phone clip footage on You Tube, most folk would probably forget Chris Robinson exsited!
    I just don't get why people even stick their phone in the air. I snap quick pictures of bands all the time just so I can show my friends who couldn't come. And I never once had to stick my phone up in the air no matter how big the venue and how far away I was. Besides the bands look better at a downward angle anyway. Gives a better "this is what I saw" angle for the people I show.
    Chris really should get over himself. As long as you aren't blocking other peoples view, who cares? If that's how the person wants to enjoy the show, so be it.
    Moron. If you are holding a cell phone up in the air, you are inevitably hampering someone's view.
    Well, most things humans do with cell phones these days make them look like a douchebag. It's how society kind of operates these days. I used to get pissed off too.
    Harry Marsh
    Never filmed any shows that I have been to. I wanted to avoid making the amazing experience not so exciting. More and more bands should be handing out copies and uploading bootlegs for their shows so less people feel like they have to be filming the whole show. I can't imagine how uninvolved I would feel if I was filming even just one song!
    Usually I'll snap a couple photos at the start of the show and then put it away and rock the **** out. I got some incredible photos of Slash tearing it up and same goes for Zakk Wylde. Videos are always useless.
    I completely understand both points of view. Bands are angry at fans who do nothing but record, and fans want something to remember the moment by. Nothing wrong with either of these things. I myself record maybe 1 song from my favorite band at a show and then just enjoy the music and get in the pit etc. The reason st bands don't do it because I imagine the cost is very high and they would need another or bigger bus to move all of the recording equipment and guys around in.